Screw Treasury – NZ Fourth Estate Journalism must have ring-fenced digital market regulation

I don’t care what Treasury says, NZ Fourth Estate Journalism must have ring-fenced digital market regulation!

Government could yet force tech giants to pay NZ media

“IRD is yet to accurately estimate how much the approach will bring in domestically but have stated to the ministry that it “is not expected to be significant in terms of our overall corporate tax take”. Commentary suggests it will be in the tens of millions rather than the hundreds,” officials say.

“There is an ambition to have a multilateral instrument in place by 2023. However, considerable further technical work and negotiations are required.

“Any potential income from the OECD tax process could potentially be ring-fenced and used to support news media organisations, or other specific cross-government priorities. While it is not common for tax revenues to be hypothecated for specific purposes, there are examples including the fuel tax system which goes into the National Land Transport Programme to support infrastructure and maintenance.”

But the ministry notes the OECD answer – and the possibility of receiving new tax income – would not specifically address the industry’s relationship with digital platforms and payments for news content.

Worse, it reports the Treasury does not support using such tax revenue for ring-fenced purposes and favours any extra tax going into the consolidated fund.

…this is a decision that goes well beyond the judgment of the penny pinchers inside Treasury!

The Fourth Estate in a Democracy is crucial!

Google and Facebook have decimated corporate news media’s revenue streams while having none of the journalism obligations corporate news media are held to.

Cutting a ring-fenced journalism tax from the very media platforms responsible for the disinformation and misinformation disease that is infecting the body politic is the least they can do.

I don’t care if Mark Zuckerberg can’t afford a third golden private jet.

These platforms have an obligation to fund the journalism necessary to counter their mutation of debate into hate algorithms.

Currently the Public Journalism fund administered out of NZ on Air has been tainted as Government propaganda money, the ‘Team of $55 Million’ sneer the Right Wing Trolls, and to be fair to those Right Wing Trolls, they have a point.

The ‘guidelines’ set by NZ on Air to gain access to that budget have nothing to do with the craft or values of Journalism, they are an editorial policy that stipulates agreed facts about Māori.

It’s easy to turn that into a cudgel that beats the good out of the intent of the Journalism fund.

That fund runs out shortly, a new ring-fenced Journalism tax on social media that is used instead of State funds would be the industry self funding Journalism rather than the State doing it.

Those funds could still go through NZ on Air application but using a specific panel that has genuine authenticity of Journalistic craft and public broadcasting values like Professor Wayne Hope, Dr Gavin Ellis , Dr Merja Myllylahti or Dr David Robbie.

Use Industry funds to fund Journalism so that NZ on Air Journalism can’t be framed as State propaganda.

Make the mind polluters pay for the antidote to their pollution!

The ring-fenced tax would generate tens of millions each year, we spent $55million over 5 years so this tax would replace state funding and then some.


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