Sunday 13 June 2021 10:00 am

GB News investors: We're at a crossroads in the media and our mission must be to restore faith in the news

Britain is entering a new phase of history, regaining an independent voice and charting a new path into the 21st Century. This is what we would call an unfrozen moment, a window in time when opportunities for positive change become possible for those with the vision to see the things that might be, and the courage to pursue them.

In times like these, the media has the opportunity to elevate the national conversation by providing facts, reasoned debate and constructive conversations that can help citizens become better informed and feel heard rather than ignored and overlooked.  When those in the media take this approach, it builds trust with the public and is in and of itself a public good.  Successful societies engage and energise citizens, and their institutions respect them and work in their service. 

Sadly, it is at precisely this moment that public trust in media outlets is in decline. Data from numerous sources, including YouGov, Oxford University and the BBC show that confidence in Britain’s current media institutions is falling, and the Edelman Trust Barometer recently found that 61 per cent of people think the global media is doing a poor job at providing objective news.

The media is a crucial institution in society and retaining faith in it is an essential mission. We are at a crossroads, with an opportunity ahead of us to change the status quo. That is what we hope the new independent television channel GB News will provide.  

At Legatum, our firm has a simple mission: to help people live more prosperous lives. And this doesn’t just mean material wealth and physical health, but includes those essential, intangible aspects which create meaning and purpose, like making a contribution, earning one’s own success, feeling secure, valued, connected and heard.

We invested in GB News because we hope it will bring something new and fresh to the public conversation. Enabling debates to happen openly and honestly can provide an antidote to division and tribalism and allow the nation to have the conversations it needs to have, to move forward together. Our sincere hope is that those in leadership across all spheres of society will use this unfrozen moment to help shift the national conversation beyond a focus on who is getting what to who we are becoming. 

The leadership team at GB News have made it clear that they are taking a fresh approach – a breath of fresh air. They are building a community where journalists are encouraged to be themselves and take a down to earth, human approach. Facts will need to be well sourced and accurate and mistakes when they happen will be quickly acknowledged and rectified – there will be no room for disinformation or conspiracy.

Legatum believes that GB News will become a trusted news source, not by preaching or instructing the public, but rather by respecting and listening to people, providing valuable content for all and contributing to a more prosperous and inclusive Great Britain. Success will not just be judged by viewing figures or advertising revenue, however important, but something more fundamental – the fact that Britain has once again found her voice. 

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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