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February 18, 2019
IPSO Chief Executive Matt Tee comments first that, reading the report, “it bears remembering that [Dame Frances] is an economist by background. Much of the analysis is presented as an examination of the market for news”.
Mr Tee broadly welcomes the report’s findings on the consequences of news moving online and says that the rigour Cairncross brings to the detail is helpful. However, he says, where many will feel “a little disappointed” with the review is in the recommendations.
Mr Tee notes that while the review calls for a regulatory review of the market for online advertising, this is due to the opacity of the market rather than a finding of unfairness, and the report falls a long way short of calling for a levy on the online publishers.
Mr Tee observes that the review does call for the establishment of an Institute for Public Interest News, which would champion public-interest news and amplify efforts to ensure its sustainability. If new business models fail to adequately support public-interest news, Mr Tee says that the institute could evolve into something akin to the Arts Council, channelling a mixture of public and private money into the industry.
In Mr Tee’s view, a glimmer of good news for parts of the industry is that Cairncross recommends removing VAT from digital newspapers and magazines, as well as looking at other forms of tax relief.
Mr Tee notes also that the report’s recommendations make several references to “a regulator”, without specifying who that regulator should be. IPSO clearly has a significant interest in the sustainability of quality news providers and says that it will be keen to be involved in discussions about how these recommendations are implemented.
Mr Tee also says that IPSO was very pleased to see that one of the report’s recommendations covers media literacy and IPSO looks forward to contributing to the Government’s strategy on this, especially in relation to adults. To read Mr Tee’s comments in full, click here