No, an internet tax won’t save journalism — or newspapers

A thing to know about


As the traditional media business continues to flounder, a number of people seem to think that Guardian investigative editor David Leigh has come up with a smart new idea for saving journalism and newspapers in particular — namely, a tax on internet service providers that would be used to finance the leading periodicals in Britain. The only problem with this plan is that it is neither smart nor particularly new: as others have noted, the same idea has been floated in the past as a way of saving the music industry, and thankfully never became reality. While Leigh’s proposal seems appealing at first, it suffers from a host of flaws — including the fact that it would likely fail to accomplish what its supporters want it to.

The impetus for this idea (which would levy a fee of two British pounds (about $3.20 US) on every internet account to create…

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