H.R. 2054 Has Bipartisan Support and would set ground rules for how Google, Facebook use news content; could potentially help local news outlets

Woodcut by Tommaso Garzoni depicting a town crier with a trumpet / Public Domain

PEN America says proposed law would set ground rules for how Google, Facebook use news content; could potentially help local news outlets



A bill that would provide a temporary exemption to antitrust rules for news outlets represents a potentially positive step toward addressing the economic crisis affecting local news outlets throughout the country, PEN America announced this week,  but cautioned that the effectiveness of the bill will hinge on whether small- and mid-sized news outlets are meaningfully represented in any resulting negotiations.

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act of 2019 aims to provide news providers a two-year enxemption from federal antitrust laws in order to collectively negotiate with Google and Facebook over how the digital giants can use those outlets’ online content. Enjoying bi-partisan backing and supported by the newspaper trade group the News Media Alliance—which represents almost 2,000 news organizations—the bill is currently being considered in both the House and the Senate.

“Local news is in crisis, something that affects not only the media sector but that deeply impacts access to critical information for millions of Americans,” said Thomas O. Melia, PEN America’s Washington director. “It is heartening to see bipartisan support for legislation responding to this crisis, and the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act offers an important opportunity for news outlets to negotiate a more equitable arrangement with the tech giants.”

Since 2005, newspapers have lost more than $35 billion in ad revenue. More than 20 percent of the nation’s newspapers have shuttered within the last twenty years. Numerous journalists, media reform advocates, and analysts—including PEN America—have concluded that local news is in crisis. One of the key drivers of this crisis, PEN America argued in its November 2019 report “Losing the News,” is the fact that news outlets see little of the ad revenue for users who find or read their news articles through Facebook or Google.

“To address the crisis in a meaningful way, negotiations between tech companies and news publishers will have to include independent small and mid-sized outlets, as well as those that specifically serve those communities most affected by the decline of local news ecosystems: communities of color and low-income and rural communities,” said PEN America’s Melia.

“Ultimately, the success of this act will be determined by whether it helps ensure Americans continue to have access to original, local, quality news on critical issues in their lives. We welcome this effort to take a creative approach to the local news crisis and urge that hearings on this legislation be convened as soon as possible to refine the proposal.

“Finally, we note that this act represents only one step towards addressing the local news crisis. For such an urgent and serious problem, more—much more—will be needed. That is why PEN America continues to call for a Congressional commission on the local news crisis, to help craft the solutions that will ensure the future of local American journalism.”

This content is courtesy of PEN America and Wikipedia.

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


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“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Facebook, like so much in life, a mixed blessing …

“But like the best empire builders, he was both very determined and very skeptical. It’s like [former Intel CEO] Andy Grove says, ‘only the paranoid survive.”  David Kirkpatrick, The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That is Connecting the World



I just posted this on my personal Facebook account:

I seem to be under attack. FB says posts are against community standards. Account also apparently hacked x 2. Peace? Sustainability? Social Justice? The video I responded to in the spirit of the video was allowed to go up but my comment is blocked. ??? So false political advertising that will impact the lives of many is okay with Facebook and so are abuses of confidentiality but sharing good news is not. So the wealthy get to practice freedom of speech but the poor do not. They even have prevented me from sharing some of my Calls for Submissions posts, which are only meant to help my fellow writers and poets get their own work out there, which as we all know can be a huge challenge. I don’t make income off of this. I’m just an old lady pounding a keyboard from my sick-bed, trying to do my best in the final stages of catastrophic lung diseases and a rare incurable blood cancer to remain productive and engaged and helpful. I am against no one, against no race, country, religion or lack there of. I’m not even against FB and its honchos, though policy is indeed sometimes questionable. Facebook does allow us to connect globally, which is a good thing. The Dalai Lama once said that people should have more festivals, the idea being that when we break bread together or share a bowl of rice, we see one another as human not other. In a way, Facebook is the equivalent of a friendly global festival . . . at least it is if that’s the way you use it – and all of YOU do. 🙂 That’s something for which I am grateful. Thank you, Facebook and Mark Z. I am for people, peace, sustainability, and social justice. I am only against the systems that ravage the lives of often helpless people/s. That would be the American ideal – however much we often fail at living up to it – and one would think Mark Z would share that ideal. How is that a threat? How am I a threat? Well dear friends, fellow poets, writers, artists, philosophers and spiritual writers, sharing my fave philosophy below. May this day treat you well. Amen. xo


Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights and encourages activist poetry.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

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Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Protecting a Free and Open Society: PEN America speaks out about the Facebook debacle

PEN America nonprofit logo courtesy of Mltellman  under CC BY-SA 4.0


“It’s difficult to imagine the power that you’re going to have when so many different sorts of data are available.”– Tim Berners-Lee, father of the World Wide Web

In response to last week’s revelations on the use of Facebook consumer data to target voters in the United States and abroad, PEN America Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Nossel issued the following statement:

PEN, Exc. Dir. Suzanne Nossel

“This week’s revelations about the uncontrolled flow of consumer data from Facebook to unscrupulous influence peddlers determined to manipulate voters in the United States and abroad have jolted the public into really recognizing that platforms we delight in for communication and connection can pose grave risks to our privacy, our discourse, and our democracy. That company and other leading platforms need to be far more aggressive in protecting data, vetting their business partners and customers, and offering the public the transparency and accountability necessary to restore trust. While Americans have the choice to forswear Facebook in favor of other channels, elsewhere in the world it is virtually the only route to online access. Having secured its own ubiquity and preeminence, Facebook now owes it to the public to prove that it is worthy of the position it has staked.”

Find out more about PEN America’s position on personal data and privacy, the protection of open discourse, and the transparency and accountability online platforms owe their users HERE.

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. PEN champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. pen.org


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