Exam date

When's the 2016 exam? Wednesday 8th June, am.

Friday, 9 February 2018

LEVESON buried as government goes for Google

Greenslade's view that the press inquiry announced by UK PM May marks the death, or at least the long-term parking (surely a Labour victory would see Leveson resurrected?) of Leveson2 seems about right.

His Guardian column is occasional rather than daily these days but always worth looking out for. As a former national newspaper editor himself he reliably skewers the realities of this cantankerous industry and it's billionaire figureheads, gladhanded as they are by regimes of a non-socialist bent.

Interesting that the press' extreme aversion to political scrutiny means it mostly failed to imbue May with lavish praise for meeting a long-term demand, an inquiry into the leeching of the new media titans of press content and finance.

This is, nonetheless, a strong sign of the press' continuing current grip over their ideologically matched right-wing Tory government. Obvious echoes here of the timid burial of Calcutt2 nearly 30 years ago when a declining Tory government took years to respond to Calcutt's demand for a new review, as agreed in his original report, when he noted that press behaviour had not substantially altered, then quietly announced there would be no such review.

Here's a snippet:

These pleas for action have been couched in terms of a warning that the nation is in danger of losing its “free press”, which, to quote the Daily Mail, therefore represents an “insidious threat to British democracy”. A free press, eh? Would that be the press owned and controlled by rich men – yes, men – or profiteering conglomerates that have been propagandists for a “free market” and opposed all regulatory intervention?

Is May’s press inquiry just a way of putting Leveson 2 on the back burner? https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/07/theresa-may-press-inquiry-phone-hacking-journalism?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Thursday, 11 January 2018

LEVESON Lords vote for more power and EU law

In the face of strong government opposition, the UK's second chamber, the House of Lords, voted in favour of adopting further Leveson recommendations to pressure any press not signed up to a recognised regulator. This would mean those papers would have to pay all libel action legal costs and risk higher damages payments too.

Campaigners for tougher press regulation, including the opposition party, Labour whose deputy leader Tom Watson is largely responsible for persisting and forcing phone hacking, then Leveson, onto the agenda, alongside The Guardian (which was attacked by the then regulator, the PCC, for it's 'false' reporting!!), welcomed the vote. The Culture Secretary (from the Tory party) condemned it as an attack on press freedom.

The vote also said yes to bringing in EU data protection law.

As I've pointed out before, this strand of Leveson shows how difficult it is to balance the need for much more effective regulation with democratic press freedom and the economic vulnerability of the press at a time when circulation is collapsing and Google/Facebook are swallowing up ever more of the as revenue that largely pays for the press. The S*n just this week posted extraordinary losses.

Matt Hancock: Lords' Leveson 'yes' vote is blow to local press https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jan/11/matt-hancock-lords-leveson-yes-vote-is-blow-to-local-press?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

The new culture secretary: besides loving Galway Girl, what do we know about Matt Hancock?

New DCMS Minister profiled, and the Culture Minister role and challenges explained.

Sun newspaper posts huge annual loss.
Sun makes £24m loss amid print ad slump and phone-hacking costs

And then the PM declared the government would overturn the vote!Government will seek to overturn Lords vote on newspapers, says May


Monday, 18 December 2017

POLITICAL INFLUENCE MPs slam incessant inaccuracies

Remember that Clause One of the Editors Code concerns accuracy, a rather basic requirement of news media, and a legal requirement for broadcast media (but not the self-regulated press of course).

The unsubtle, untrammeled flak (Chomsky filter...) that has seen MPs labelled traitors over Brexit votes carries a strong whiff of fascism. Death threats were received by those government MPs who dared defy government policy, which of course closely mirrors the editorial policy of the right-wing press, especially the Mail - which historically supported fascism, including Britain's own wannabe Hitler, Oswald Mosley.

The short quote of one Tory MP would be a useful one to learn ("newspapers that seem entirely disinhibited in the inaccuracies they peddle“):
"Some of this was fuelled and orchestrated by newspapers that seem entirely disinhibited in the inaccuracies they peddle and the vitriolic abuse they are prepared to heap on those who do ­anything they consider to be at variance with their version of what Brexit should be. This both obscures the real issues, and encourages an atmosphere of ­crisis and confrontation between binary ­positions that leads directly to the death threats that we have received.”

Anna Soubry, another rebel, said such reports fostered a climate of extremism. “That’s the thing that concerns me about all of this. We’re increasingly having a form of politics in which debate is not based on ideas. It’s based on complete and total misconceptions. It’s whipping up a storm by newspapers. It’s poisoning public life.”

Tory rebels urge Theresa May to form cross-party alliance for soft Brexit https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/dec/17/tory-rebels-urge-theresa-may-to-form-cross-party-alliance-for-soft-brexit?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Friday, 15 December 2017

TWITTER troll twerp jailed

Jail. Maybe that's what press self-regulation needs as a sanction to work?! Would Jan Moir have written that nasty, virulently homophobic Hate Mail column on the just deceased Stephen Gateley if the press faced sanctions like these tweeting twonks?

Teenager jailed for trolling footballer Andy Woodward about abuse https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/dec/15/teenager-jailed-for-trolling-footballer-andy-woodward-about-abuse?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

SOCIAL MEDIA MPs consider law to make Facebook etc liable in abuse cases

Make Facebook liable for content, says report on UK election intimidation https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/dec/13/make-facebook-liable-for-content-says-report-on-uk-election-intimidation?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Thursday, 7 December 2017

PRESS 20 Years of anti-EU baloney

I've blocked on the topic of the UK press's obscenely farcical coverage of the EU, rendered an antichrist all-encompassing evil surpassed only by socialism in the world view pumped out by the majority of the national press.

You may have seen my posts on the supposed EU determination to make all bananas straight for example. Which sounds like a slightly exaggerated satire ... but was actually a front page story.

Now that this sewage tide, alongside massive manipulation of new media through funding that may have broken electoral law, has achieved the improbable goal of Brexit, it's a good opportunity to look back at just how closely the UK press follow Clause One of the Editors' Code ... Accuracy. As 'enforced' by the self-regulators PCC and IPSO...


Monday, 27 November 2017

OWNERSHIP Billionaire Kochs gain Time mouthpiece?

Moderately long article which looks not just at the Kochs' part in the buyout of Time magazine, but a wider picture of right-wing, conservative billionaires gaining influence by being allowed to buy up ever more of the US media, even where it means creating monopoly.

Of course, this was one of Chomsky's propaganda model's five filters, concentration of ownership, and is an historic trend explored in Curran and Seaton's classic study of press history, Power Without Responsibility.

‘Their own media megaphone’: what do the Koch brothers want from Time? https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/nov/27/koch-brothers-time-magazine-media-power?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Sunday, 26 November 2017

CHOMSKY ADVERTISER FILTER Stop Funding Hate D Mail campaign

FEB 2018 UPDATE: The campaign continues to have traction, an interesting reversal of the history of left-wing papers struggling to gain advertising. Not that we can say the Mail is struggling yet, other than with the general disruption of digitisation, with the online migration of advertising.
The campaign got multiple replies from advertisers pledging to cease placing ads in the Mail after tweeting about a Richard Littlejohn column condemning two gay dads, including celebrity swimmer Tom Daley.

Center Parcs pulls Daily Mail ads after column against same-sex parents


SFH aims to reduce what it sees as the baleful, malovelent influence over UK democracy (such as it is) and public opinion by pressuring advertisers with potential boycotts.

Peter Preston here recalls how left-wing reportage was discouraged through government encouraging advertisers to withdraw from newspapers that were critical of government 'defence' (ie, war!) policy, specifically the Suez crisis.

He develops a valid point - though once more here we can see the potential for social media and we media to have a greater impact on the poor practices of the press industry than the self-reliant IPSO.

Bullying Paperchase and the Mail’s other advertisers just hurts everyone https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/nov/26/bullying-paperchase-other-mail-advertisers-hurts-everyone-suez?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Friday, 24 November 2017

MURDOCH made deal with Prime Minister?

The machinations of Murdoch are widely assumed to include deals with sitting and wannabe PMs, but proving this is notoriously difficult. It's hardly in the interests of either to admit to this.

The pattern of incredible access to government, PM and ministers, of Murdoch and his minions under the Tory government was eventually revealed through journalistic investigation and Freedom of Information Act requests that were very reluctantly acceded to by that same government.

Now we have one former minister detailing how the News International chief Rebecca Brooks bluntly told him she was running government policy in partnership with PM Cameron, with the appointment of (later jailed) Murdoch man David Coulson as Press Secretary part of the deal.

A note of caution though: this is as filtered through the notionally centre-left Guardian (many of whose readers firmly disagree with that description so set up an alternative, actually left-wing Guardian online!)

Ken Clarke: Tories had deal with Rupert Murdoch for 2010 election https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/23/ken-clarke-cameron-had-deal-with-murdoch-for-2010-election?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

OFCOM censure Fox News - compare to IPSO...

Who'd have thought it ... the fabled 'fair and balanced' Fox News, Murdoch's right-wing agit-prop broadcast mouthpiece, responsible for making Americans doubt the nationality of their own president (Obama), has finally been found guilty of breaching UK impartiality laws for TV news.

That this comes after it's been withdrawn from UK broadcasts, so no longer has a license to defend, renders OfCom's ruling symbolic ... except that it could (should?) impact the Murdoch bid to buy up the 61% of BSkyB shares his corporation doesn't own, currently the subject of government scrutiny. Markets sent 21st Century Fox (the conglomerate for the film and broadcast holdings, with the troublesome but politically important print empire hived off into a separate, less profitable entity) shares down, reflecting worries that this boosts the prospect (unlikely?!) of the friendly Tory government blocking the bid.

It is highly instructive to draw a comparison with the press regulators. The PCC allowed great leeway under the banner of comment, for example in the Jan Moir column over Stephen Gateley's death, and IPSO continues this stance. OfCom explicitly conclude that commentary, opinion pieces, do not create an exception to the requirement of basic levels of balance, quite a contrasting stance.

Fox News shows broke UK TV impartiality rules, Ofcom finds https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/nov/06/fox-news-shows-broke-uk-tv-impartiality-rules-ofcom-finds?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Monday, 23 October 2017

OMBUDSMAN Guardian's self-regulation outside IPSO

'Why should newspapers not be accountable?' https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/22/why-should-newspapers-not-be-accountable?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

FUTURE WEB 2.0 Facebook Google to be declared publishers?

Ofcom chair raises prospect of regulation for Google and Facebook https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/oct/10/ofcom-patricia-hodgson-google-facebook-fake-news?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Monday, 18 September 2017

WEB 2.0 Celebs sponsor posts face ASA and FTC crackdown

So the wild wild web can be regulated...

The UK's ASA and US's FTC are beefing up their enforcement of recent rules that insist Instagrammers and the like use specific hashtags to make it clear when they're being paid to praise or highlight brands. A useful point, along with the BBFC ratings, to look at in the context of the music industry...

Social media stars face crackdown over money from brands https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/sep/16/social-media-stars-face-crackdown-over-money-from-brands?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

IPSO Mail guilty of Clause 1 climate change breach but just hot air?

Finally is the word to springs to my mind, and I see the scientist complainant has had 3 previous complaints rejected as well as parts of this one.

The PCC allowed the Mail to lead the way with often preposterous anti-EU propaganda over decades, a poison drip that certainly influenced the Brexit vote, and continues to impact on the contentious claims that this narrow vote by part of the electorate forms an absolute mandate.

Climate change denial is another field in which the Mail clouds the issue alongside it's fellow right-wing rags; shouldn't it and the likes of The Sun be feeling the heat over incessant clouding or clowning around Clause One?

At least IPSO has issued a partial breach ruling ... but so what? What impact will this really have? Will the paper really be more cautious in its future approach? Does this undermine the impact of its years of denial reportage and editorial?

Press regulator censures Mail on Sunday for global warming claims https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/17/press-regulator-censures-mail-on-sunday-for-global-warming-claims?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Sunday, 10 September 2017

PRESS Murdoch making Wall Street Journal Trump mouthpiece

Murdoch's high profile purchase of the august WSJ was controversial enough to provoke a revelatory book warning Americans of what this would mean for their democracy.

The classic Murdoch playbook can be seen here: a fiercely right-wing editor brutally teaching journalists what to self-censor and what tone to take by routinely spiking or editing stories critical of Trump or Murdoch's business empire, or not being critical enough of Trump's political or Murdoch's media rivals.

There are claims that Murdoch and Trump, whose election Fox News played a large role in, speak every day. Murdoch has had British PMs kow-towing to his rabidly right-wing agenda since 1979, and now it seems he may finally have reached the top step in US political influence too.

Ownership of the press is not usually raised whenever the press becomes the story, as it did over phone hacking, but as Curran and Seaton argued in Power Without Responsibility, looking back at the 1800s legal reforms that squashed a thriving radical press and the very explicit statements made in parliamentary debate around seeking to encourage "the right sort of people" (the rich) as press owners, it is a central issue in press regulation and the very, very weak nature of this. Chomsky and Herman also recognised this, listing it as one of the five filters in their propaganda model.

The Wall Street Journal's Trump problem https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/sep/10/the-wall-street-journals-trump-problem?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger