Public interest journalism is a public good
Public interest journalism contributes to good governance, to community cohesiveness, to the public health and to economic prosperity, and therefore constitutes a public good.
By contributing to the state of our society broadly, it benefits not only the individual who pays for and consumes journalism, but to the public as a whole.
As the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recognised in its Digital Platforms Inquiry, “journalism provides benefits to individuals who consume it by improving their knowledge and understanding of issue and events that affect them. However, the benefits of journalism are not confined to these individuals. Journalism provides broader benefits to society including individuals who do not consume it“.
As a public good from which Australians all benefit, if the market is unable to adequately supply public interest journalism, there is justification for public support.
Investigating taxation reform
PIJI’s ongoing program of research into taxation models follow’s the ACCC’s recommendation of incentives to support public interest journalism.
PIJI is investigating three areas of taxation reform for public interest journalism:
- Industry tax rebates for public interest journalism producers
- Philanthropic giving incentives
- Commercial investment tax incentives
Research suggests that an R&D-style tax rebate for public interest journalism could have a significant positive investment impact. Conservative analysis suggests a benefit-cost ratio of up to 1.90, and as much as $356m additional benefit.
This program of work consists of analysis of the potential of a rebate and guidance on how to implement and claim such a scheme.
Multiple government and regulatory inquiries have examined the financial difficulties facing the news industry over the past decade. A recurring recommendation of these inquiries is to provide incentives for philanthropic giving to the news sector, but the potential impact of such incentives is under-studied.
This research involves interviews with donors and news organisations to better understand the potential of philanthropy for journalism.