The Media Reform Coalition (“MRC”) has pulled together extensive academic research and a number of briefing reports produced by, and in consultation with, a broad range of experts and stakeholders to produce its latest Media Manifesto.
This charts a roadmap towards genuine progressive reform that is both practical and radical; replacing legacy frameworks with a media policy fit for the 21st century. It consists of proposals on four broad areas: a new framework for media plurality, democratising the BBC, a reformed system of independent press regulation, and challenges to the dominance of platform monopolies.
The manifesto encompasses four parts.
First, it sets out a series of recommendations aimed at forging a new ‘future proof’ framework for media plurality.
Second, it summarises key proposals for a more democratic, diverse and devolved BBC.
Third, it elaborates the urgent steps a new government must take in order to restore faith in a free, accountable and sustainable press.
Finally, it maps out reform measures in the broader arena of digital media policy where the next government could take a lead role in developing innovative tools and solutions to emergent problems.
Concerns about concentrated and unaccountable media are no longer confined to the margins of public debate. Nor can they be subjugated in favour of other policy priorities if the next government is to fulfil any kind of mandate for progressive social change. Indeed, a pre-requisite for such change is a more fair, free, accurate and representative media system; one that is capable of informing and nourishing the kind of inclusive public debate that is the lifeblood of functioning democracies.
The manifesto concludes by noting that a plural, sustainable and diverse media is vital for a healthy democracy. Without the proposed reforms the media will become ever more concentrated in ever fewer hands, be yet more susceptible to market pressures and distorted by commercial priorities, and be increasingly less diverse in every way. This is not about ‘old’ media versus ‘new’ intermediaries; it is about ensuring we have a communications environment that functions in the public interest. Only then will democracy be able to thrive.
Read the Manifesto here.
The Media Manifesto was published on the MRC Blog and is reproduced with permission and thanks.