This report looks at the media landscape in which investigative journalism operates, concluding that news organisations, regulators and relevant legal bodies need to make important changes if the future of investigative journalism is to be assured. In summary, the Committee recommends: Audit trail - the introduction by media organisations of a two stage internal process to track and record decisions: firstly, to commence an investigation and second, to publish a story; and legal clarity & consistency - the publication of guidelines by the prosecuting authorities to help media outlets decide whether conducting an investigation or publishing a story could lead to prosecution. The Committee further suggests that funding models need to be flexible and creative. For example, fines for breaches of regulatory codes should be allocated to a special fund reserved for the financing of investigative journalism or training. All PR practitioners should abide by a clear code of behaviour, potentially overseen by a third party. Zero-rated VAT for newspapers should be maintained in order to provide a continued form of support for the industry. However, the Committee recommends that the Government should consider further the legality of any proposals to limit the receipt of zero-rated VAT only to those newspapers which are members of the PCC (or any successor body).
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