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Journalists Back EU Move To Make Facebook, Google Pay For News

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Journalists Back EU Move To Make Facebook, Google Pay For News

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”.

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“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.”

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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.

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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.

African News

Huawei To Build Two Data Centers In South Africa

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Huawei To Build Two Data Centers In South Africa

China`s tech company, Huawei says it will build two data centers in South Africa from next month as part of plans to expand cloud services across Africa.

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It says, the company is working with South African partners for the construction of the data centers in Johannesburg initially and later cape town.

Its cloud service will be available to organizations in South Africa as well as neighboring countries.

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The Chinese firm, at the center of global security concerns, wants to challenge amazon, which is also expanding its presence in the emerging tech hub of cape town.

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Facebook Removes Hundreds Of Accounts Engaged In “Inauthentic Behaviour”

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Facebooks Removes Hundreds Of Accounts Engaged In "Inauthentic Behaviour"

Facebook said it has removed hundreds of accounts linked to spreading fake news and hate speech in Indonesian.

In efforts by Facebook Inc to prevent social network being misused in the build up to elections, 207 Facebook Pages, 800 Facebook accounts and 546 Facebook Groups accounts were removed for “engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

According to Reuters, Facebook’s head of Cybersecurity Policy, Nathaniel Gleicher said The accounts and pages were actively working to conceal what they were doing and were linked to the Saracen Group, “an online syndicate in Indonesia.”

“They have using deceptive messaging and… networks of concealed pages and accounts to drive often divisive narratives over key issues of public debates in Indonesia,” Gleicher said.

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African News

Volkswagen To Build Car Plant In Ethiopia

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Volkswagen To Build Car Plant In Ethiopia

German car-maker Volkswagen have announced their plan to assemble cars in Ethiopia. The car-maker said in a statement that they will build a car plant and a training centre in the country. Many Ethiopians have found owning a car too expensive because of import taxes of up to 200%.

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A 2014 Deloitte report, says Ethiopia has the world’s lowest rate of car ownership, with only two cars per a thousand inhabitants.

Volkswagen made the announcement in front of the German president as he visited the country.

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