Steve Barnett presents at “Digital Media at the Crossroads” in Toronto
Steve Barnett was invited to address the annual “Digital Media at the Crossroads” conference in Toronto, which brings together practitioners, academics, civil society and government to discuss policy issues around digital media. Steve talked about the funding crisis in journalism which had already decimated large sections of the printed press in the UK, US and Canada, and was now beginning to bite on the online ‘digital natives” like Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and Vice. He argued that, in light of journalism’s fundamental role in a democracy, policy interventions were now essential to ensure that diverse forms of journalism were sustainable. He suggested that, in order to guarantee complete freedom from political influence over any subsidies, decision-making around resource allocation and performance monitoring must be devolved to a wholly independent body. He outlined the Leveson structure that now exists in the UK, and proposed that the UK’s Press Recognition Panel would provide a good model for such a body.
Steve was also invited to meet with an expert panel established by the Government of Canada in June 2018 to review Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications legislation. It is charged with a root and branch examination of content creation and cultural diversity in the digital age, with particular emphasis on invigorating Canadian content. It is due to report early in 2020, with an expected overhaul in Canada’s communications policy to follow.