Launched on 26th May on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, ResPublica’s latest report, The Mission of Media in an Age of Monopoly, argues that the trend for media outlets to be increasingly owned and controlled in an oligopolistic, non-transparent fashion is damaging to the health of our democracy.
The report recommends a series of steps to both raise the public profile of this issue and to regulate concentrations of media power where these are found. Using case studies drawn from countries across Europe, the Essay examines instances of excessive media concentration and the power which individuals can accrue by this means. It argues that the response to this threat must come through encouraging transparency and plurality from the bottom up.
The report discusses important contemporary issues including the future of the BBC, and the role of large scale news intermediaries such as Google and Facebook in supporting both established and emergent journalistic outlets. Its recommendations build on the findings of the Leveson Inquiry into press standards, and while many are particular to the UK context they also have strong resonance for broader policy debates at the EU level and in many parts of the world.
We aim to create more virtuous media markets, which serve to inform, defend and represent citizens across the UK and Europe. We believe that progressive reform towards this end is both necessary and possible, and our proposals will see a redistribution of media power to promote a more democratic, plural and transparent media landscape.
Key recommendations of the report include:
A new levy imposed on the revenues of major online search and social networking services
A new decentralised structure for the BBC to improve editorial independence
Enhanced transparency for meetings and relations between senior media and political figures
New legislation to support media plurality and extend the existing public interest test
A new Europe-wide task force for the regulation of media transparency and governance