The Only Way to Have a Free Press is to Pay For It

One of the things that’s been on my mind in the wake of recent political events is the vital importance to liberal democracy of a genuinely independent and critical free press. It strikes me that if we want a free press, we’re really do need to be willing to pay for it.

In Raoul Martinez’s Creating Freedom – a book I’ve talked a bit about here recently, and recommend again – he writes very convincingly about the media, and the new pressures it is under:


Clearly, the more we demand a cheap press, the more that that press has to rely on advertisers. And that has never been a one-way relationship. Why would it be? Martinez quotes demands made by Proctor & Gamble to television companies who wanted their ad money:


So, in the interests of freedom, I’ve decided that free has to stop. It’s not up to me to tell anyone which press they should pay for, but I for one am now paying a monthly amount to support a reputable news outlet, to give them a fighting chance against big business, to give them a hope of investing in reporting that holds the powerful to account. And I’d encourage you to think about doing the same too.