Australia to force Facebook, Google to pay media companies for content

UNTV News   •   July 31, 2020   •   528

Australia will force U.S. tech giants Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay Australian media outlets for news content in a landmark move on Friday (July 31) to protect independent journalism that will be watched around the world.

Australia will become the first country to require Facebook and Google to pay for news content provided by media companies under a royalty-style system that will become law this year, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

The move comes as the tech giants fend off calls around the world for greater regulation, and a day after Google and Facebook took a battering for alleged abuse of market power from U.S. lawmakers in a congressional hearing.

Following an inquiry into the state of the media market and the power of the U.S. platforms, the Australian government late last year told Facebook and Google to negotiate a voluntary deal with media companies to use their content. (Reuters)

(Production: Cordelia Hsu)

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PH military receives P2.7M worth of IT, multimedia equipment from Australia

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday said it has received Information Technology (IT) and multimedia equipment worth P2.7 million from the Australian government.

AFP chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana received the donation in a ceremony held at Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday, June 23.

“With these newly donated IT and multimedia equipment, the AFP will be able to amplify its capability of preventing and countering violent extremism, here in our country,” General Cirilito Sobejana said in a statement.

Among the donated equipment were high-tech computers, tablets, storage devices, smart TVs, cameras, and audio recording components.

The donation was under the mutually agreed Australia-Philippines Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program.

Australian Defence Attaché Colonel Paul Joseph Barta said these equipment will help the AFP in its efforts to counter the threat of terrorism in the Philippines.

“The equipment will assist the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ office for the prevention and countering of violent extremism research to achieve its mission – by documenting and understanding the drivers of radicalization, effective strategies for prevention of violent extremism can be found,” Barta said.

Sobejana expressed gratitude to the Australian government and the Australian Defence Force for the donation.

“Our heartfelt gratitude goes to the Australian Government and the Australian Defence Force for their continued support to the AFP in the ongoing fight against terrorism. It is through these initiatives that our members become more empowered to fulfil their mandate to secure the state and protect the Filipino people,” he said.

With the new equipment, the AFP said access and exchange of information among military allies shall be made more available and secured.

It also assured it continues to strengthen its counter-terrorism capabilities within the cyberspace where access to available information is critical.

“We have already made great strides in enhancing our capabilities in the cyberspace environment. However, we do acknowledge that much is still needed,” Sobejana said.

“After the grueling Marawi siege in 2017 against the ISIS-Maute Group, and the lessons that we have to learn the hard way, the AFP is more than determined to prevent any incidents of the same nature from ever happening in the future,” he added.

PH to receive P505M worth of COVID-19 vaccine donation from Australia

Marje Pelayo   •   June 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Australian government is donating 13.72 million AUD or P505 million worth of coronavirus vaccines to the Philippines.

The vaccines will be purchased in coordination with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said Australian Ambassador to Manila Steven Robinson on Thursday (June 17).

“This will make an important contribution to meeting the country’s vaccine needs in 2021. The Philippines will receive additional procurement and end-to-end distribution support to meet its needs under Australia’s new agreement with UNICEF to purchase safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of the Philippines,” he said.

The vaccines are expected to be delivered within the year.

Aside from the anticipated donations, Robinson said Canberra has also provided Manila at least 7.52 million Australian dollars or around P277 million to boost its vaccine rollout through Australia’s Vaccine Response Plan.

Australia is the Philippines’ fourth donor country following other sponsors such as China, the United States, and Japan.

Australia commits P480 million to purchase COVID-19 vax doses for Philippines

Robie de Guzman   •   June 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Australian government has pledged to donate an additional P480.2 million to procure COVID-19 vaccine doses for the Philippines, its envoy said Thursday.

In a series of tweets, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson said he has informed concerned government agencies about Australia’s new commitment, which he said will make an “important contribution” to meeting the Philippines’ vaccine needs.

“The Philippines will receive additional procurement and end-to-end distribution support to meet its needs under Australia’s new agreement with @UNICEF to purchase safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of the Philippines,” Robinson said.

“I have informed Secretaries @teddyboylocsin @SecDuque Galvez & Dizon of Australia’s additional commitment of AUD13.72M (PHP480.2M) to buy #COVID19 vaccine for the (Philippines). This will make an important contribution to meeting the country’s vaccine needs in 2021,” he added.

Robinson said Australia’s new commitment is in addition to its support through vaccine-sharing global initiative COVAX Facility, to which it has contributed AU$130 million.

The Philippines has so far received 5,025,870 doses from the COVAX facility.

Robinson also said that Australia’s Vaccine Response Plan for the Philippines has also provided AU$7.52 million in vaccine delivery support through UNICEF Philippines and WHO Philippines.

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