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FTC suggests consumer electronics tax

US Federal Trade Commission proposes "reinvention of journalism" via new 5% tax

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has proposed a new 5 per cent tax on all consumer electronics in order to encourage a "reinvention of journalism".

The idea is presented "solely for the purposes of discussion" and does not yet represent a formal recommendation from the FTC. The concept behind the tax is that it could be levelled against all consumer electronics, including videogames consoles, smartphones, laptops and digital cameras.

The FTC calculates that this would raise $4 billion in revenues, which could then be used to subsidise struggling media outlets, particularly newspapers.

The tax suggestion is only one small part of a wider range of alternative proposals and the implied connection between consumer electronics and newspapers is not described in detail. Other proposals range from postal subsidies for newspapers to tax breaks for journalists.

The tax proposal and the general subject of journalism in the internet age will be the topic of roundtable discussions at a FTC event due to be held at the National Press Club on June 15.

Further information, including the full text of the proposal, can be found at the FTC website.

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