Coverage of Media Policy
Despite the threat of oligopoly and manipulation of online platforms by corporate internet giants like Google and Facebook alongside other elite voices, the power of the public to serve as a force for media reform is still very tangible (Castells 2013). In his The Contradictions of Media Power, Freedman ( 2014, pp. 25–30) acknowledged the power of the public to reform the press. One area of public reformism that has not been much explored is public reformism without government intervention. A major component of public reformism that is void of government intervention is “the willpower of the public”. Willpower is defined by McGonigal ( 2011, p. 8) as “the ability to control our attention, emotion, and desires”. Riley ( 2011, p. 3) views willpower as “the attitude of the mind which is directed with conscious attention to some action”. Willpower has often been analysed in terms of self-control: how to break bad habits such as overcoming addictions, eating less and sticking to your resolutions. Most of these are things that relate to the individual’s self-development. This is what I refer to as “willpower as an internal force for self-development”.Publicness is a sign of our empowerment at their expense. Dictators and politicians, media moguls and marketers try to tell us what to think and say. But now in a truly public society, they must listen to what we say. (Jarvis 2011, p. 11)
There is no shortage of ideas, as the evidence of the Royal Commission showed. Only the will is lacking. If we don’t generate that among both public and parliament we shall end up with the press we deserve, but the press no real democracy can afford. (Baistow 2015 , p. 56)
Sustainable Journalism and the Cairncross Review
This manner of news consumption, it argues, has implications for the visibility of public interest news and for trust in news.They are much less likely to see the mixed bundle of politics, finance, entertainment and sport that constitutes many papers, and more likely to see an individual story, chosen by a computer program and not necessarily clearly labelled with the name of a particular publisher. (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 2019, p. 6)
The sustenance of quality journalism is a top concern of stakeholders of media policy. The sustainability of high-quality journalism in the UK would require on the part of the press the facilitation of a democratic public sphere during their coverage of media policy debates; on the part of the public, knowledge of how to consume journalistic metadiscourse on media policy and more pragmatic participation in efforts at reforming the press; on the part of academics, developing innovative frameworks for non-governmental public reformism; and on the part of the government, a commitment to implementing recommendations in such a way as to achieve their purpose.Ultimately, the usefulness of this review will stand or fall on whether the government is willing to face down a press lobby which is accustomed to flexing its muscles and—as the Leveson enquiry graphically demonstrated—has successfully bullied successive UK governments for decades.