CCI orders Google’s inquiry following complaints from news publishers

Indian competition authorities on Friday ordered an investigation into Alphabet Inc. Google (GOOGL.O) after the news publisher’s allegations, saying that their original position was that the technology giant had violated some antitrust laws.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) stated in its order that Google dominates certain online search services in the country and that it may have imposed unfair terms on news publishers.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The complainant, the Association of Digital News Publishers, which consists of digital branches of some of India’s largest media companies, said Google has denied fair advertising revenue to its members.

“In a well-functioning democracy, the critical role of the media cannot be undermined,” the CCI order said. “Google seems to be using its dominant position in the relevant markets to enter / protect its position in the news gathering services market.”

Information organizations, which are losing advertising revenue due to online aggregators such as Google, have complained for years about technology companies using search results stories or other features without paying.

The CCI order also mentions new rules in France and Australia – fueled by media lobbying and public pressure – that have led to multi-billion dollar worldwide licensing agreements.

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