A plan for a better media

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A plan for a better media. Illustrations: Kate Charlesworth

A plan for a better media

There is no one simple answer – but lots of ideas. Vanessa Baird looks at what we can do

1: Do something about ownership

News media is very important for democracy and so only a few media and big tech companies should not own it. Use legislation to break up the few big media companies with limits on how much of the market they can own. Stand against the big bullies, from Murdoch to Zuckerberg. Make them pay taxes in the countries where they make money. Find ways to bring internet search, or search algorithms, into public ownership. Support co-operative and reader-ownership models.

Check out: mediareform.org.uk; OpenMedia.ca; newint.org

2: Have many media companies

Have many different and sustainable media. Support new companies. Use taxes from digital companies like Facebook and Google to help independent local media.

Check out: mediareform.org; medialens.org; Institute of War and Peace Reporting

3: Make people responsible

Freedom of speech is a valuable right. We must not be abuse it through criminal behaviour, lies, and abuse of privacy. But these crimes are not punished when rich and powerful media bullies commit them. Independent monitors and codes of conduct are necessary for press, broadcasting, and the digital world.

Check out: fair.org; impress.press; hackinginquiry.org; dangerousspeech.org; stophateuk.org

4: Make it easier and possible to be a journalist

It is more and more difficult for disadvantaged groups to find jobs in the media and this makes it a profession for just a few people. This means a large part of society has no voice. Poor pay and conditions are increasing.

Check out: mediadiversified.org; realmedia.press; Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (Australia); National Union of Journalists; Canadian Journalists for Free Expression; European Journalism Centre; onourradar.org;

5: Fight for data rights

Big tech companies like Facebook and Google make big profits from taking your personal data and selling it to others and, usually you don’t know about it. We must limit this to protect personal privacy.

Check out: privacyinternational.org; openrightsgroup.org; edri.org

6: Tell the truth

News media must tell the truth. But often they do not because of the rush to publish as much as possible as quickly as possible to reach as many people as possible. Media must correct mistakes quickly and clearly. Checking facts must always happen. Technical help to find fake audio or visual material and to check facts may be helpful.

Check out: fullfact.org; politifact.com; Stopfake.org; chequeado.com; FactCheck.org; abc.net.au/news/factcheck; firstdraftnews.org

7: Be open

Show where news and information come from - but this does not mean giving away confidential sources! ‘Native ads’ or ‘advertorials’ are ads that are paid for and look like news. They are fake news. We must make this clear.

Check out: sourcewatch.org; brandedcontentresearchnetwork.org; spinwatch.org

8: Slow down

Stop fast, breaking news. Choose slow journalism – original investigations, detailed analysis, informed opinion.

Check out: retroreport.org; slow-journalism.com; CulturalPolitics.net

9: Educate and train

Public education on how to read critically and identify different points of view in news media, is very important today. Italy has started teaching ‘media literacy’ to schoolchildren.

Investment in training journalists – whether professional or ‘citizen’ – should improve standards, responsibility, and ethics. It should remember journalists’ duty to speak the truth and report wrongdoing.

Check out: firstdraftnews.org; realmedia.press; nuj.org.uk; onourradar.org; medialens.org; ecj.net

10: Fight for internet freedom

Private companies must not own or control the media, it must belong to the public. This is the only way to stop fake news and harmful, violent content.

Check out: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (eff.org, eff.org.au); openrightsgroup.org (UK); OpenMedia.ca

11: Pay for what you value

The news business model is broken - getting money from advertising and print sales. There is no one simple answer to this. Some media now use crowdfunding or philanthropy to pay for their journalism. Investigative projects are especially expensive. Local journalism needs support and could be paid for as a public service. Be ready to pay something for the news you value with subscription or donation.

Check out: themediafund.org; newint.org

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL: https://newint.org/features/2018/06/01/blueprint-for-a-better-media

(This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed)