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Newspapers, TV stations and other news outlets that have seen their revenue siphoned away by online platforms could get an assist from Congress under legislation that a House panel took up Friday.

If passed, the legislation would grant news organizations a four-year exemption from antitrust laws to band together to negotiate compensation from online platforms that use their content, including Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

Proponents asserted that time is running out to throw a lifeline to news outlets that have lost revenue to the online giants.

“It is clear that we must do something in the short term to save trustworthy journalism before it is lost forever,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D., R.I.), the chairman of the House antitrust subcommittee, at Friday’s hearing. “In the absence of a competitive marketplace or congressional action, there will continue to be mass consolidation and widespread layoffs.”

Supporters of the bill include the News Media Alliance, an industry trade group that includes News Corp , publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

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