Labour leader says a state-backed entity could deliver online information and entertainment
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has suggested a new ‘British Digital Corporation’ could sit alongside the existing BBC to deliver digital information and entertainment and even set up a social media outlet to rival Facebook.
Corbyn (pictured above) said tech firms could pay a windfall tax to help subsidise the licence fee – and he floated the idea of a separate digital service to compete with major streaming and social media firms.
“The public realm doesn’t have to sit back and watch as a few mega tech corporations hoover up digital rights, assets and ultimately our money,” he argued. “This technology doesn’t have an inbuilt bias towards the few. Government is standing by and letting the few take advantage of the many using technology.”
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Corbyn said he wanted to see journalists “set free to do their best work, not held back by bosses, billionaire owners, or the state”.
The Labour leader said that one “radical” idea for the private sector would be to allow reporters to elect their editors “when a title or programme gets particularly large and influential”. He said the plan would leave editors “accountable to their staff – and their journalistic ethics – as well as to corporate bosses and shareholders”.
And he added: “To improve our media, open it up and make it more plural we need to find ways to empower those who create it and those who consume it over those who want to control and own it.”
The Labour leader also said reporters and licence fee payers should also be able to elect some of the BBC’s board members and stamp out any government influence in the appointment process. Other ideas for the national broadcaster included further equalities transparency over staff makeup and ending government control over charter renewal.