Journalists urge action against Google over EU copyright dispute

The new Google Pixelnook Go laptop is on display during a Google product launch event called Made by Google 19 on October 15, 2019 in New York City. (AFP)
Updated 23 October 2019

Journalists urge action against Google over EU copyright dispute

  • Around 800 journalists as well as photographers, filmmakers and media CEOs signed an open letter published in newspapers across Europe urging governments to ensure that Google and other tech firms comply with the new EU rule

PARIS: Hundreds of journalists called Wednesday for European officials to take action against Google over its refusal to pay media companies for displaying their content in defiance of a strict new EU copyright law.
France was the first country to ratify the law, which was passed this year and comes into force on Thursday to ensure publishers are compensated when their work is displayed online.
But Google said last month that articles, pictures and videos would be shown in search results only if media firms consent to let the tech giant use it for free.
If they refuse, only a headline and a bare link to the content will appear, Google said, almost certainly resulting in a loss of visibility and potential ad revenue for the publisher.
Around 800 journalists as well as photographers, filmmakers and media CEOs signed an open letter published in newspapers across Europe urging governments to ensure that Google and other tech firms comply with the new EU rule.
“The law risks being stripped of all meaning before it even comes into force,” the letter said, calling Google’s move “a fresh insult to national and European sovereignty.”
“The existing situation, in which Google enjoys most of the advertising revenue generated by the news that it rakes in without any payment, is untenable and has plunged the media into a crisis that is deepening each year,” it said.
The presidents of the European Alliance of News Agencies and the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association also signed the letter.

Google has countered that it benefits news publishers by sending more than eight billion visits to their websites each month in Europe alone.
“We don’t pay for links to be included in search results” because “it would undermine the trust of users,” Richard Gingras, Google’s vice president in charge of news, said in Paris last month.
But news publishers, including AFP, say such links to their websites are unable to help them cope with plummeting revenues as readers migrate online from traditional media outlets.
French President Emmanuel Macron has said Google will have to comply with the law, and the European Commission said it stands ready to assist member states, which must translate into domestic legislation by June 2021.
The new rules create so-called neighboring rights to ensure a form of copyright protection — and compensation — for media firms when their content is used on websites such as search engines or social media platforms.
“Now that disinformation campaigns are infecting the Internet and social networks, and independent journalism is under attack in several countries within the European Union, surrendering would be a catastrophe,” said the open letter.
“We call on the public decision-makers to fight back.”
 


‘Juhayman: 40 years on:’ Arab News takes a Deep Dive into Saudi history with a multimedia look at the siege of Makkah's Grand Mosque

Updated 4 min 44 sec ago

‘Juhayman: 40 years on:’ Arab News takes a Deep Dive into Saudi history with a multimedia look at the siege of Makkah's Grand Mosque

  • Featuring interviews with key players such as Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s English-language newspaper tells the full story of the unthinkable event that cast a shadow over its society for decades
  • As part of its Deep Dive series online, featuring documentary-style multimedia stories, Arab News looks back at this event in a way no Saudi publication has done before

Forty years ago this week, on Nov. 20, 1979, a group of militants did the unthinkable: They seized the Grand Mosque in Makkah, taking people hostage inside in a two-week standoff with Saudi forces.

Until recently, the crisis remained too painful for Saudis to examine fully for almost four decades. Now Arab News, Saudi Arabia’s leading English-language daily, is looking back at the event in a way that no publication in the Kingdom has done before: with a multimedia Deep Dive story online at arabnews.com/juhayman-40-years-on.

“The 1979 attack on Makkah’s  Grand Mosque halted major social development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, negatively affecting a progressing nation for generations to come,” said Rawan Radwan, the lead reporter on the project, who is based in Jeddah. “At Arab News, we delved deep into the matter to uncover the story of Juhayman, the terrorist who seized the holiest site and shook the Islamic world. It’s a story that for many years struck fear in the hearts of the Saudi people, yet has not been covered in such depth in local or international media — until now.”

Arab News launched its Deep Dive series earlier this year as an engaging new way to showcase its in-depth storytelling on key topics, enlivened by audio, video and animated graphics. Its first story was an in-depth account of the space mission by the first Arab astronaut, Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman; the siege of Makkah is another story from the Kingdom’s past that it chose to revisit.

Extensive research was conducted over two months in several cities, including Makkah itself, and involved teams in five of Arab News’ bureaus: Jeddah, Riyadh, Dubai, London and Beirut. The team interviewed key players such as Prince Turki Al-Faisal, then head of the General Intelligence Directorate, and re-created what happened in a series of interactive maps.

 

Juhayman: 40 years on
On the anniversary of the 1979 attack on Makkah's Grand Mosque, Arab News tells the full story of an unthinkable event that shocked the Islamic world and cast a shadow over Saudi society for decades
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