Remember, the basic point is that a so-called 'free market' is linked in with the concept of a 'free press'. In both cases they are defined as free from government interference/regulation. The events of 1694 (ending press licensing) and 1851 (scrapping stamp duty) are seen as creating a free press by marking the end of government interference. C&S argue this is simply tosh, but it remains a hugely influential factor in the light-touch, laissez faire regulation of the press today. RCP1's explicit statement is a very useful quote (and we'll see that the 1985 Peacock Committee (on TV) argued that the free market-created free press was a good model for broadcast regulation):
free enterprise is a prerequisite of a free press
A free market, in theory, produces a press industry which is:
- diverse: reflects the range of opinions held by the public
- competitive: in contrast to state monopoly, a free market ensures we get a wide number of competitors in newspaper publication
- democratic, fourth estate: free from political control, the press exists to hold politicians and public servants to account. No issue with proprietorial intervention
When we study broadcast media regulation, we'll see a clear long-term trend towards deregulation, with the BBC a partial exception...