“Australia seeks to become the first country in the world to successfully require payment for content,” Australia Treasurer Josh Frydenberg wrote in the Australian. “There is too much at stake — nothing less than the future of our media landscape.”

In this, the Australian government is attempting to succeed where others, namely its European counterparts have failed, reports Buzzfeed News.

“COVID-19 is putting tremendous pressure on publishers,” David Chavern, president and CEO of the News Media Alliance, a global trade group, told BuzzFeed News. “That ultimately puts pressures on the platforms to come up with a sustainable deal for the publishing industry.”

Frydenberg announced on April 19 that amidst ongoing negotiations with Facebook and Google that have been ongoing since December, the Australian government aims to put forward a plan that would require these two major companies to pay news organisations for any content they share on their platform.

The global economy was already in crutches and now the coronavirus pandemic has come and decimated it. The publishing industry has not been doing financially well for ages and COVID-19 could sound the death knell for it.

By taking this step, the government aims to support and replenish the local news industry.