Support new news providers via a levy on digital giants like Google and Facebook | Letters

Letters: Public interest journalism in particular has been hit the hardest as newspapers are lured into a clickbait culture which favours the sensational and the trivial

Digital intermediaries such as Google and Facebook are not only amassing eye-watering profits and paying minimal tax in the UK, they are also bleeding the newspaper industry dry by sucking up advertising revenue. As national and local newspapers try to cut their way out of trouble by slashing editorial budgets and shedding staff, journalistic quality is becoming a casualty. Public interest journalism in particular has been hit the hardest as newspapers are lured into a clickbait culture which favours the sensational and the trivial. In the light of this, we propose a 1% levy on the operations of the largest digital intermediaries with the resulting funds redistributed to non-profit ventures with a mandate to produce original local or investigative news reporting.

This kind of cross-subsidy is what sustained Channel 4 in its formative years. We believe that it is now time for policymakers to address the emergent gaps in the supply of diverse media and to secure the trusted and independent news system that our democracy so desperately needs. We are backing an amendment to the digital economy bill currently going through parliament and will continue to press for a news media that places the public interest above those of shareholder and vested interests.
Michelle Stanistreet General secretary, National Union of Journalists
Justin Schlosberg Chair, Media Reform Coalition
Helen Goodman MP
Amelia Womack Deputy leader, Green Party of England and Wales
Prof Des Freedman Goldsmiths, University of London
Prof Justin Lewis Cardiff University
Prof Roy Greenslade City University
Prof Brian Cathcart Kingston University
Prof Natalie Fenton Goldsmiths
Prof Angela Phillips Goldsmiths
Prof James Curran Goldsmiths
Prof Greg Philo Glasgow University
Prof Steven Barnett University of Westminster
Prof John Downey Loughborough University
Damian Tambini London School of Economics
Peter Jukes
Paul Mason
Prof Julian Petley Brunel University
Ann Field Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom
Thomas Barlow Real Media
Kerry-Anne Mendoza Editor, The Canary
Prof Ivor Gaber Sussex University
Paul Lashmar Sussex University
Dan Jackson Bournemouth University
Molly Scott-Cato Green MEP for South West England
Sally Broughton Micova University of East Anglia
Ronnie Draper General secretary, BFAWU
Bob Monks General secretary, URTU
Kevin Courtney General secretary, NUT

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• The headline to this article was amended at 23:10 UK time on Friday 11 November 2016 to more accurately reflect the content of the letter.


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