In a democracy why should private and government elites shape our news?
For democracy it is very important to have a press that is free. But today in Canada, journalists for both so-called public and the private media are not really free to write what they think. Both the private and the public media are controlled by elites. When writing, always in the back of their minds, writers are asking “would the elite that I work for deem this content to be appropriate?”
As the newspaper industry struggles to stay in business there is some talk of public funding to prop it up. It is interesting to see that people who write for private media are quick to point out the problems that could arise from government funding but seem blind to the same problems of censorship and control by an elite that stem from private advertising-funded media. Private media are largely sponsored by businesses that advertise in the media. Their dependence on revenue from businesses slants the perspective they present to the audience.
So-called public media like CBC in Canada are also controlled by and present the slanted perspective of an elite. CBC’s president and board of directors are appointed by the government of the day, and they along with a few dozen program directors dictate the operations of the service. Many people equate public funding with government control and generally that is true. Being an exception, a specific method of public funding defined below, is to ensure that media control lies with the people not with elites be they government or private.
DD (democratically determined) public funding based on use
– – (the you pick and everyone pays system) The option of having the people democratically controlling the funding.
– – A system where every instance of use of advertising-free media content by an individual triggers a micropayment from a public fund to the owners of the content. Payment would be automatic. The user however would have the option to manually claw back the payment to the public fund if for any reason the user deemed the content to be inappropriate.
This funding method is key to having democratic control over media.
3. a group of persons exercising the major share of authority or influence within a larger group:
the power elite of a major political party.