Friday, 23 October 2015
BBC Savage book shows gov used licence fee threat over NI Troubles
The link is to a lengthy article - a great overview of what is a very useful case study to get into how media regulation works, both through formal regulators and media laws and informal power: private meetings, threats, controlling appointments and budgets.
It's a point I've made repeatedly in this blog: the notion of the BBC's independence is undermined by the government setting the license fee. Robert Savage's new book, and Greenslade's piece on this, highlights the very direct, explicit use of this threat by multiple governments to try and muzzle the Beeb's coverage of 'The Troubles'*.
(*That's a propaganda label which has achieved hegemonic status, successfully branding the violent conflict with aspects of a civil war as a mild outbreak of civil unrest.)
The wider parallel with the apparent assault on the BBC by the current incumbents is clear enough.
Greenslade's article is a great summary by the way of a complex but key case study in how media regulation works - including the informal, non-codified/statutory system of political pressure and influence.
Intriguing enough for me to order the book straight away!
[3am but did just that ... only to see its £70, one of these cynically priced books designed to milk library budgets. What a shame, sounds like a great read.]
Put me in mind of that great Day Today (Chris Morris) satire of the Broadcasting Ban an enraged Thatcher brought in when both ITV and the BBC defied her over coverage of the so-called Troubles: