As part of the House of Lords Inquiry into the Future of Journalism, Lawrie Simanowitz, Partner at Bates Wells Braithwaite, and longstanding legal expert on the charitable status for journalism, made a submission. Here’s a brief extract:
The Cairncross Review clearly recognised the benefit to the public brought by certain types of journalism. This included local newspapers (which across the UK are disappearing or denuded) providing essential information to local communities. Investigative journalists exposing abuses of power are another example of public benefit journalism – one of the most at risk, as news organisations’ ability to fund high quality research and reporting comes under threat.
To help meet the public benefit requirement, there would need to be a mechanism to ensure that appropriate standards were met by news organisations with charitable status. In particular this would help to ensure that such organisations were not politically partisan, maintained minimum quality standards and avoided sensationalism for example. Proposals for how this could be achieved are set out in the annex to the paper submitted by the PBJRC.Lawrie Simanowitz, Partner, Bates Wells Braithwaite – Submission to House of Lords (21 April 2020)