Ohio attorney general voices support for bill bolstering newspapers

The Columbus Dispatch | Marty Schladen

Newspapers are fundamental to the functioning of American democracy and they’re under threat like never before, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said Friday.

That’s why he’s calling on Ohio’s congressional delegation to support a bill that would grant the industry “temporary cartel” status to negotiate rates with massive social media platforms that now are using newspaper content for free.

“In the marketplace of ideas, big tech is going behind the counter and taking the product off the shelf and walking out the door without paying for it,” Yost said.

He was speaking to the annual luncheon of the Ohio Pharmacists Association. Among those honored at the event were four Dispatch journalists for their investigation into little-known-but-powerful pharmacy benefit managers. Critics accuse of the industry of using secrecy and anti-competitive practices to jack up prices and stifle competition.

Yost, a former newspaper reporter, cited grim statistics confronting newspapers in the internet era as they try to continue such work.

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