India’s competition regulator on Friday ordered an investigation into Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google following allegations by news publishers, saying its initial view was that the tech giant had violated certain antitrust laws.
In its order, the Competition Commission of India (ICC) said Google dominates some online search services in the country and may have imposed unfair conditions on news publishers.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The complainant, the Digital News Publishers Association, which includes the digital weapons of some of India’s largest media companies, said Google denies its members fair advertising revenue.
“In a well-functioning democracy, the essential role played by the media cannot be compromised,” the ICC order said.
“It appears that Google is using its dominant position in the relevant markets to enter / protect its position in the market for information aggregation services.
News organisations, which have been losing advertising revenue to online aggregators such as Google, have complained for years about tech companies using stories in search results or other features without payment.
The CCI order also mentioned new rules in France and Australia – fuelled by media lobbying and public pressure – that have led to licensing deals around the world collectively worth billions of dollars.