Guardian columnist George Monbiot believes all journalists should sign up to a ‘mandatory register of interests’– and revealed the paper pays him £62,007 a year for his weekly column.
Monbiot also revealed that he has a £40,000 contract with Penguin to write a book about rewilding, and that his only other regular income is £5,400 in rent from his two lodgers.
I have opened this registry because I believe that journalists should live by the standards they demand of others, among which are accountability and transparency. One of the most important questions in public life, which is asked less often than it should be, is ‘who pays?”.
Until members of Parliament were obliged to reveal their external earnings, we had no means of knowing whether the positions they took were influenced by the money they made: whether, in other words, they were acting on our behalf or acting on behalf of hidden sponsors.
I believe that everyone who steps into public life should be obliged to show on whose behalf they are speaking: in other words who is paying them, and how much. I would like to see journalists, like MPs, become subject to a mandatory register of interests. But until that time I hope to encourage other journalists to declare the sources of their income voluntarily – by declaring mine.