The issue has floated around politics for a while now - in 2013 Harriet Harman called for a cap on national media ownership. In his 2015 election manifesto, Ed Miliband made it official policy. Now, the Green Party has followed suit - and are supported by democratic pressure groups such as TalkPolitics. In light of Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, referring Fox's SkyNews takeover to Ofcom - here's why we should be supporting a cap:
(1) Free Speech
A free press and free speech are almost inseparable. If over 70% of the UK media is owned by three publishers, can we really say we have a free press and, further, free speech?
(2) Big business is the same as big government
Those who argue against a cap on media ownership tend to be those who suggest that the government should not meddle in markets. This is true when the sector which the government is playing with will have a big impact on lives and personal finances - but not when the sector is important to the running of the country. Indeed, we could argue that if we wouldn't allow government to control the media, why should we let Rupert Murdoch do so? The media should be owned by as many people as possible to ensure neutrality and varying views.
(3) Corporate monopolies lead to a lack of trust
As we've seen recently, people are becoming increasingly sceptical of what previously trusted media outlets are saying. The press being owned by a small minority only helps to exasperate these feelings - and consumers are less likely to trust press owned by a small number. Monopolies should be broken up or prevented in the media to restore trust.
(4) The Press industry isn't dying
Okay - more and more people are getting their news from other outlets, notably social media and online publications such as the Canary and Breitbart. This doesn't mean, in any way, that we should ignore an issue that is prevelant - we should still be improving the Newspaper industry even though it may not be as strong in twenty years.
(5) Media plurality is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy
Reading the news is still the most common way of participating in democracy. To ensure that politics is accessible, and thus encourage involvement, we must ensure that the media provides the news as concisely as possible. To make sure this happens, the media must be free of vested interests and not just profit driven.
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