Tess Alps: chief executive of Thinkbox
Tess Alps: chief executive of Thinkbox
A view from Tess Alps

Time to take direct action to ensure we get the media we want

Whatever you personally think of the G20 protesters - naïve, heroic or scum - you must concede they at least got off their arses to go and persuade other people to address the urgent issues facing the world.

No matter that some of their objectives were arguably contradictory, at least they bothered to do something.

Their direct action reminded me of a brilliant and savage recent article from Paul Dailing, entitled How to Become a "Death of Newspapers" Blogger.

Here's one great line: "Basically, imagine a group of people watching a building burn down, and bickering among themselves about whether it's a conflagration or an inferno. It's like that, but with consulting fees."

There's a debilitating apathy in the industry at the moment, coupled with a destructive doctrine that the market must decide everything.

Yes, the recession is exhausting, but doing nothing makes it worse. Yes, we must observe consumer trends, but the market is not a force we have no influence over.

We seem particularly paralysed when it comes to issues around the internet. Indeed, there is a quasi-religious orthodoxy about web commentators who propound that whatever users do online is an expression of their liberty and a democratic right.

Their very language screams religion: Vint Cerf's title at Google is chief internet evangelist. And the doctrine goes that you can't control or regulate the web, whatever the consequences. So, we are asked to tolerate piracy or children's easy access to degrading pornography, all in the name of internet freedom.

"Stop whining, it's progress," we are told. What rot.

Whether we act as citizens or as media professionals, we have a right and a duty to intervene in any market development if we believe it's detrimental to society. If you want newspapers to survive, we can lobby government to help.

If we want TV to remain such a powerful cultural and commercial force - and clearly I do and hope you do too - we can add our voice to those asking for its liberalisation.

No windows need be broken and no police need be attacked. Far from being "anti-social", our reasoned arguments to legislators about the way we want media to develop are very much pro-social.

If we do nothing and let ourselves get carried along on the torrent of media change, we will get the media we deserve, but not necessarily the media we want or need.

Start lobbying and influence media's progress with some direct action.