The debate over what role tech companies should play in addressing imbalances in news marketplaces is wide-ranging but tends to focus on developed Western countries with large economies and regulatory expertise. These discussions seldom consider the constrained choices media face in countries around the world that are still struggling to transition to the digital age, particularly in developing countries.

Currently, regulators and media globally are exploring how to renegotiate the relationship between tech platforms and the news industry given their roles in the information ecosystem and their inverse financial trajectories. In these media-focused discussions, the term Big Tech typically refers to Alphabet (which owns YouTube and dominates search) and Meta (which owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp), though the term is used as shorthand to also refer to other Silicon Valley companies that dominate the digital public sphere such as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Twitter.

Efforts to rebalance the relationships between journalism and Big Tech are focused primarily within three distinct, yet at times overlapping, policy areas: digital taxation, competition policy (also referred to as antitrust), and intellectual property. In all three cases, the goal is to generate revenue or subsidies for news outlets to help sustain independent journalism. This report analyses the evidence and justification for these various policies and examines the implications for news media in low-income and developing countries. It identifies the particular challenges that countries with small markets, weak currencies, less stability, and less press freedom face in pursuing the policies outlined in this report, underscoring the importance of a coordinated global approach.

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