Funding the News We Need: Media Reform recommendations part 3

Co-ordinating Committee
18 December 2011

This the third section of Media Reform's recommendations. The first section is on Ethics; the second is on Public Interest. 

Funding the news we need

29. Extend VAT exemptions to cover digital advertising and sales but only on condition that the recipients make a specific commitment to support any new regulatory body and public interest news ventures.

30. Insist that public support is provided only to institutions which can prove that they are accountable to the public that helps sustain them.

31. Investigate ways in which to make sure that news aggregators pay their way in the distribution of original news content including suitable compensation for freelancers.

32. Introduce levies on turnover or profits of communications companies to help sustain new and existing public-service oriented news projects.

33. Amend charity law so that local newspapers may be operated as charitable organisations.

34. Introduce tax incentives for community groups and co-operative bodies to fund takeovers and investment and to facilitate transfers.

35. Increase the Community Radio Fund to a level that has significant impact as a lever for other investment and as a driver of quality hyperlocal news and informational content.

36. Introduce matched funding of local authority spending on communications and advertising to support local news hubs.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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