Control of the media is dominated by a handful of publishers and broadcasters and the proceeds of tax for sites, such as Google, that carry news, but do not produce it, should go to local newspapers, a new report will say this week.
The report argues for levies to promote new media and encourage a diversity of news sources. Recycling money in this way, say the authors, is not new for Britain. Google could generate £100m a year for cash-starved media if it was taxed for the content it distributes.
In Making a Good Society, the report from the Commission of Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society, which will be published this week, the idea of charitable funding for news gathering is also discussed.
This is not the first time that a system of levies has been discussed – a joint National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and BECTU study last year proposed a similar system of taxation for internet service providers and mobile network operators to support public service broadcasting.