The Media Reform Coalition and National Union of Journalists are hoping to make Google and Facebook fund journalism in Britain.They are seeking to persuade politicians to include a new amendment to the digital economy bill, which is currently going through parliament. It will propose a 1% levy on the operations of the digital giants in order to pay for independent and non-profit journalism.
A statement issued by the Media Reform Coalition (MRC) argues that 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 . It continues:
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 being 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.