Under-investment in public service journalism has led to growing interest in the possibility of philanthropic support for the sector. Though long associated with non-profit journalism in North America, there is little tradition of philanthropy in UK journalism. This paper explains how recognition of public interest journalism as charitable can be achieved through more constructive interpretations of the existing law. Despite its initially conservative response, the Charity Commission has recently taken important steps towards recognising defined forms of journalism as charitable under the existing law. This paper reviews the democratic imperatives fulfilled by public interest journalism which justify such developments; and seeks to demonstrate how this framework for defining public interest journalism aligns with the public benefit requirement in charity law, opening up the possibility of new forms of charitably funded ‘public benefit journalism’.
Where public interest and public benefit meet: the application of charity law to journalism
16 November 2022
Journal of Media Law