Leading journalists from more than 20 countries joined a call Tuesday for European MPs to approve a controversial media reform aimed at forcing internet giants, such as Facebook and Google to pay for news content.
European Parliament lawmakers return in September to discuss the proposal, a first draft of which was rejected last month after a fierce debate.
The so-called copyright and neighbouring rights law aims to ensure that producers of creative content — whether news, music or movies — are paid fairly in a digital world.
But the plans have been firmly opposed by big US tech firms such as Google and Facebook, as well as advocates of internet freedom.
An open letter signed by more than 100 prominent journalists from major news outlets warned Tuesday that “this fleecing of the media of their rightful revenue” was “morally and democratically unjustifiable”.
“We have become targets and our reporting missions cost more and more,” said the letter written by AFP foreign correspondent Sammy Ketz and published in several European newspapers including France’s Le Monde.
“Yet, even though (the media) pay for the content and send the journalists who will risk their lives to produce a trustworthy, thorough and diverse news service, it is not they who reap the profits but the internet platforms, which help themselves without paying a cent,” the letter said.
“It is as if a stranger came along and shamelessly snatched the fruits of your labour.”
The editorial urged the European Parliament to “vote massively in favour of neighbouring rights for the survival of democracy and one of its most remarkable symbols: journalism”.
Major publishers, including AFP, have pushed for the reform — known as Article 11 — seeing it as an urgently needed solution against a backdrop of free online news that has wiped out earnings for traditional media companies.
But opponents have called it a “link tax” that will stifle discourse on the Internet.
Resistance has been especially heated to Article 13: the proposal to make online platforms legally liable for copyrighted material put on the web by users.
Music legend Paul McCartney as well as major music labels and film studios had lobbied politicians urging them to come together and back the changes.
Critics, however, argue the reform will lead to blanket censorship by tech platforms that have become an online hub for creativity, especially YouTube.
They say it will also restrict the usage of memes and remixes by everyday internet surfers.
But the journalists on Tuesday rejected this as a “lie”.
“Free access to the web will endure because the internet giants, which now use editorial content for free, can reimburse the media without asking consumers to pay,” the open letter said.
Visa Extends Contract With CAF For 4 Years
Visa, a global leader in payment transactions, has extended its contract with the Confederation of African Football (CAF), as a sponsor of the Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for another four years. This means Visa will sponsor the 2019 and 2021 tournaments.
The sponsorship deal will make Visa the exclusive payment services provider at all venues during the Total AFCON tournaments in 2019 and 2021, and will be the preferred payment option for tickets bought both in-person and online. In addition, Visa will be the official partner of the player escort program, giving over 1,100 children the opportunity to lead their football heroes out at the Total AFCON matches.
CAF President, Ahmad Ahmad, said: “The benefits of investing in African football are clear to see, and with football being the number one passion of consumers across the continent we’re delighted to welcome Visa as a sponsor of the Total AFCON tournament. Through this partnership with CAF, Visa will be able to connect further with its customers and leverage CAF as an innovative marketing platform. Africa is now more connected than ever before, and Visa’s payment network will play a vital role in reaching and rewarding fans across the region. I’m certain that together we will take African football to the next level.”
“Football is the most popular sport in the world with an estimated 4 billion fans and the sport intrinsically aligns with Visa’s values of acceptance and inclusion. The Total Africa Cup of Nations tournament is arguably the most important football event in our region where the best of African football comes together.
We are very proud to begin our association with CAF, Lagardère Sports and the Total AFCON tournament to support the growth of football in our key markets,” said Andrew Torre, Regional President, Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA), Visa,” said Torre.
EFCC Detains University Students Over Cyber Crime
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Ibadan has arrested 36 suspected internet fraudsters in Ogun State.
The commission’s acting Head, Media and Publicity, Mr Tony Orilade, said this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.
Orilade stated that the suspects, who were between 19 and 37 years of age, included 23 university students, out of which, nine were ladies who allegedly claimed to be girlfriends and or neighbours of some of the suspects.
He said, “the suspects carry out their activities by sending emails to unsuspecting victims mostly in the United States of America, while others were engaged in romance scam on several dating sites.”
Orilade said other items recovered from the suspects included different models and brands of exotic cars, 18 laptops, 50 cell phones, 300 sim cards and two bags of fetish objects.
The media and publicity acting head said that the suspects would be charged to court after investigation.
Teleology Takes Over 9Mobile
After about eight months when it made the initial $50 million non refundable deposit to acquire 9Mobile, Teleology holdings has been given final approval by the board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to own the Telecommunications company.
The company has also immediately constituted a new board of directors to manage 9Mobile’s affairs.
One of the new board members, Mohammed Edewor, said Teleology is pleased with all out-going members of the board for helping to shepherd 9Mobile through the critical transition phase it has gone through since July last year.
Teleology was also granted a twenty-day extension to tidy up the payment process and take over 9Mobile. NCC also hinted that even with the final payment, the technical capability of teleology to manage 9Mobile successfully must be put into serious forensic test before operating license could be transferred to it.
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