Many journalists and publishers continue to believe that in order to provide quality content and coverage, the government should subsidise and support them. This practice is quite common throughout Europe, journalism based companies are supported and even owned by governmental bodies.
However, is it a wise choice to allow governments to support and invest in media? If you consider the fact that by investing in media, the government gains the ability to control it to an extent then the government should definitely be not allowed to fund media. When governmental figures begin having a say over what the media should and should not show, then they gain the ability to censor information and even manipulate it. There are numerous governmental figures all throughout Europe who own media channels, some even own multiple channels, for instance, the Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic owns the country’s most listened to radio station, two newspaper companies and a TV station as well.
Media organizations continue to enjoy this relationship that they have with the government since subsides and frequent funding keeps their pockets full and the government continues to have control over a direct source of influence. Public broadcasting organizations were created to ensure that media remains independent from various influences, however, a large majority of public media organizations of today receive most of their funding from private sources.
The problem with the media industry is that it is full of imperfections, some people continue to argue that journalism should not be funded by the government, but others argue that if journalism is not funded properly, it would begin to lose it quality. This argument leads to the question that what standards are used to assess the quality of journalism in the first place? If quality assurance is left in the hands of the government then the government would measure quality based on its own interests.
The quality of any product or service should be decided by its consumers rather than by those who produce that product or service, which is why media quality assurance should be left in the hands of the consumers. Governments could cut back on funding media organizations and introduce a tax that citizens can pay, an interesting thing to note is that removing government funds from the picture will not result in certain media organizations going into loss or collapsing, they would just have to deal with all the factors that unfunded organizations face every day.
A study showed that funded media companies pay their employees much higher salaries than unfunded companies, which goes to show that these organizations make the media market imbalanced and unfair for smaller organizations. Privately owned media is also not free from influence, it all comes down to the fact that media organizations give priority to anyone who funds them, and the only way to solve this problem is to take measures to ensure that the governance and functioning of the media industry is decided directly by its consumers.