In a response to concerns of a perceived lack of trust in the media and the power exerted by technology companies, the UK’s leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn proposed a tax be levied on the likes of Facebook and Amazon to fund public interest journalism.
Here is the full text of his speech.
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The annual cost of the British “licence fee” for accessing the BBC — approximately £150.50 ($194, €167) per household — is regularly debated in certain circles of the UK media, but Corbyn’s proposals would shift some of the financial burden to technology companies.
He made his case while delivering the Alternative MacTaggart Lecture during Edinburgh’s annual TV festival. Journalists were allowed to attend the event; however broadcasters were initially denied entry, prompting criticism.
In the speech, he said that quality journalism is “held back” by media tycoons and, in the case of the BBC, Britain’s publicly-funded broadcaster, by government influence.
Just about to deliver the Alternative MacTaggart Lecture, about media reform. You can watch the livestream here: https://t.co/Efspo0t6no #ChangeTheMedia
Corbyn said that without major changes, a “few tech giants and unaccountable billionaires will control huge swathes of our public space and debate”.
Under a Labour government, Corbyn would also allow Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from private companies with public service contracts. Currently under Freedom of Information laws, information can only be requested with FOIs from publicly-funded bodies. He will also propose to stop government ministers having the ability to veto FOIs.
Can tech giants fund public journalism?
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