Tuesday, 10 October 2017
Monday, 18 September 2017
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
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
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
Tuesday, 5 September 2017
Friday, 25 August 2017
Yet another example of why Chomsky was correct to include advertisers as one of the five filters in the propaganda model.
Steve Bannon is back at Breitbart. But can his page of rage survive an ad boycott? https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/aug/25/breitbart-steve-bannon-ad-boycott-revenues?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger
Friday, 18 August 2017
I've read lots of right-on, celebratory articles about the announcements of YouTube and Spotify especially this week - both banning a number of far right accounts, channels, artists/tracks.
As with many acts of censorship, it seems hard to forge an argue against this diminution of hateful rhetoric and ideology - but the quartz article outlines the same concern that struck me: this means entrusting these private firms to define political extremism. Not that state definitions are any safer - the public sector BBC takes a very partial stance on Palestinian-linked lyrics, silenced the Pistols' 1977 classic, and refused to reflect the public mood in also banning Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.
Media regulation, including censorship, can often appear incontestably as a good thing - but there's always a counter argument. There's an irony in this case too, the fiercely neoliberal, anti-regulation, laissez-faire free marketeers of the social media giants queuing up to proslytize over President Trump's seeming support for neo-Nazi, quite the U-turn from their customary extreme free speech positions.
Monday, 7 August 2017
Obviously be sensible where you read this, and be aware that it's topic is strong language which accordingly features throughout the article.
From the research just 3 terms are identified as the strongest swear words. The BBFC undertake similar regular research to gauge public feelings on which terms should be hit with 12, 15 or 18 ratings - and there seems to be some difference, though that could put down to the OfCom research method (using 4 categories of acceptability linked to the watershed rather than more specific age ratings).
Two of OfCom's 3 strongest terms are featured heavily in Working Title's sci-fi/comedy hybrid World's End, with 'the c word' also multiply used - enough to force an unexpected 18-rating on the Ken Loach indie Sweet Sixteen but judged okay for the studio subsidiary's production to get a 15-rating.
Here's a short comparative analysis of some American audience research, showing quite a different attitude: http://nofilmschool.com/2017/08/swearing-in-movies-harris-poll
Tuesday, 25 July 2017
Classic clash between free speech and wider rights, linking into other other high profile cases such as France's anti-Nazi laws and the EU's investigation into whether the right to be forgotten that Google applies globally are undermining media freedom illegally
Saturday, 10 June 2017
Wednesday, 7 June 2017
Monday, 5 June 2017
Saturday, 3 June 2017
Thursday, 1 June 2017
Tuesday, 30 May 2017
A bullet-pointed, abbreviated list; everything I refer to below is covered in more detail elsewhere in this blog and/or handouts (many of which are also embedded within posts).
There is very little change from PCC to IPSO, but there is some:
IPSO has exercised a new power (still no sanctions if papers refuse though) to insist on front page corrections: it has forced The S*n to do this over a false claim about Jeremy Corbyn, and the Daily Express (in Dec 2016) for claiming English is dying out in schools; they have also forced The Times to do this.
The Editor's Code was revised for 2016, now including headlines within Clause 1 (Accuracy)
Part of this revision was to explicitly require SWIFT resolution of complaints.
They have increased the non-industry representation on their board
They have shown a much greater willingness to consider third party complaints, something the PCC was criticised (by the Culture Select Committee) for routinely threatening to do (The Express '311 languages spoken in our schools' story about the decline of spoken English was one example)
They have been much more assertive over website content, notably including US editions - even more notably, this includes ruling against the Mail Online, the world's leading newspaper online and the newspaper group many accuse IPSO of being run by
There are very few examples to convincingly argue that the press have been effectively regulated, but all of these points can be raised:
- the PCC consistently highlighted high 'satisfaction ratings' in their annual reviews
- despite all the contrary evidence, they did get fulsome praise from Tony Blair and David Cameron
- (and, when FINALLY responding to Calcutt's 1993 recommendation to replace the PCC with statutory regulation, the 1995 Tory gov praised the PCC)
- Prince William held a 'thankyou party' for the PCC and national editors (we'll consider this more later)
- by encouraging non-legal resolutions to disputes (ie, not the courts, expensive lawyers), they arguably made resolution more attainable for ordinary people
- a glib argument, rather hypocritically used by a press who leave to scream for state regulation of TV/film/ads/web, but still important: the press remains (notionally...) free from state/political interference; we have a 'free press' in the UK unlike many authoritarian nations (China etc)
- a linked point: it was/is self-funding: it costs the taxpayer nothing (ditto the BBFC), unlike OfCom (around £100m a year)
- the PCC argued that the numbers of cases 'resolved' itself indicated success, and that every correction or removal of article/picture proves their effectiveness
- three notable improvements from the PCC over the GCP and Press Council that preceded it: (1) lay membership become dominant; this wasn't just a press body judging the press, but also many non-press outsiders (2) it had a published 'Editor's Code' which set out the grounds on which complaints could be made and on which they would be judged [the PC did this in their final year, but essentially neither the GCP nor PC made the basis of judgements, or an open set of standards, known] (3) as is now accepted practice across the board for media regulators (the BBFC in particular highlights this, labelling their published information 'BBFC Insight' and specifically proclaiming this as a service for parents), the PCC publish their Code and judgements on a website, as well as detailed annual reports
There are few respectable sources who will offer up arguments for the PCC specifically, though there are more who will argue the wider point in favour of self-regulation; I recommend in particular looking for the 'Peter Preston' tag in the tagcloud. A former Guardian editor who also briefly served on the PCC, he continues to pen articles strongly advocating self-regulation, and even defending the record of the PCC. He insists that they do a better job than statutory regulators like OfCom. The PCC's website itself naturally contains useful material arguing that it is an effective regulator.
The counter-argument is overwhelming, but you mustn't make the mistake of simply ignoring the points above. Its also worth stressing that the apparent failure of self-regulation isn't a direct argument for statutory regulation: it is simply a reflection that the form and nature of the self-regulation we have had has been ineffective. The GCP, PC and PCC have all been largely reactive bodies, mainly responding to complaints (as explicitly highlighted in the PCC's very name), although the PCC did occasionally intervene when contacted with pre-publication concerns by those who would be impacted by planned articles. It also remained too dominated by press figures, despite the numbers of lay people involved. If a tougher regime, with the power to fine (as Leveson recommended, but the press rejected, and IPSO won't have), to enforce corrections within a timescale and on a page/size of its choosing, or even, as had been discussed, inflicting tax on papers who repeatedly breached the agreed standards or, like Desmond, just refused to come under the regulatory system ... then self-regulation may very well be effective.
So, before going into the many reasons for and examples of ineffective press self-regulation, do remember that this is not necessarily proof that self-regulation doesn't work - just that the style and approach of a system that, for example, ignores issues around press ownership, is (and surely will be with the not-so-different IPSO?) ineffective, as can clearly be seen by the consistently poor standards of our national press.
Tuesday, 23 May 2017
Some links from another post:
What is the Editors' Code? Save a full copy for yourself. What does it have to say about children? What does it have to say about ownership? Advertising?Do you think this is a sufficient basis for press regulation?
Have a look at rulings - any useful cases on children?
Now have a look for Guardian reports on IPSO and children - anything to add?
BELOW: I searched the IPSO database for clause 6 rulings; 4 of the 6 most recent (on 23.5.17) complaints were against what has consistently been the most complained against newspaper (the lack of change in this clearly suggests a failing system) - the Daily Mail (and its online wing).
It can be argued that whenever anyone goes to the courts instead of the regulator this indicates a failure of press regulation. That is often true; the case of the Toploader guitarist using solicitors to get the Daily Express to agree to cease publishing photos of his child, under the guise of reporting on a celebrity couple's break up, was a clear demonstration of the failure of the PCC. Its response was invariably slow, with any resolution or judgement passed down months after publication - no use to a parent seeking to prevent further invasion of his child's right to privacy, as enshrined in clause 6 of the Editor's Code. The press, especially the red-top/tabloid press, have a long history of such breaches:
If you want to see evidence of the Mail continuing on its proud record of most complained about paper, see this detailed analysis from the TabloidCorrections website (once more, an example of more effective or at least accurate oversight than the formal regulator is an online source?) - which includes this table exposing just how few complaints IPSO actually rules on, an absolutely crucial point in judging them. If you wanted to know which paper was most guilty of Editors Code breaches, IPSO data would actually be misleading - most of their cases are just listed as 'resolved' by 'mediation', and IPSO don't make any judgement!
In the Toploader case, Richard Desmond, the porn baron who infamously asked for an explanation of the term 'ethics' at the Leveson Inquiry, withdrew the Star and Express titles from the PCC. As a voluntary self-regulator, there was no sanction or punishment for this; his papers, frequently found guilty of Editors Code breaches, had simply ceased to be regulated even under the dreadfully weak PCC system. The parents in this case had no regulator to turn to.
What about IPSO then? They have further toughened their children's clauses (6 + 7) in the Editors Code; they have also included a reference to 'quickly' resolving complaints in this revised code (recognising a key PCC failure). They're also tougher than the PCC, having forced the Times, Mail and Sun to run front page corrections. They can also point to a case where they ruled in favour of parents complaining against the Express about publishing images of their children. However, the parents were the royals Duke + Duchess of Cambridge, the same Duke who once held a party to thank the PCC for keeping the press away while he went to uni, a dubious privilege given to someone funded by the public and in line to become head of state. Even in this case the sanction was, well, pathetic: the Express had to link the adjudication (ruling) for 24 hours on its website. That'll teach them?!
Consider then the first case IPSO handled, the 'devil child' complaint by an MP, Sarah Wollaston. This fell between the end of the PCC and launch of IPSO. As The Sun eventually apologised for paying for the story, its misleading nature, and harming the child (a 4 year-old), IPSO considered the matter resolved. This has become a key theme, shared with its predecessor: if the complainant says they've been satisfied with a paper's response, IPSO don't actually make a judgement; look up their searchable database and it would be hard to know if press standards are being breached as they simply say 'resolved', offering no judgement on whether the Editors Code has been breached. Here's how pressure group Hacked Off saw this, from their 2015 review of IPSO:
You can see another mark of continuity with the PCC: The Sun got away with this. Their 'apology' was 4 sentences. On page 2 - some contrast to the front page splash and double page feature inside. There is no record of them having broken the Editors Code as IPSO don't make a ruling if 'a resolution' is reached - and lets not overlook that this complaint (from a third party, so there IS some improvement from the PCC!!!) was one of many; why ignore the rest? Were they also satisfied? (IPSO only contacted ONE complainant, the MP). They've not been fined, not been warned, not even really had to apologise - 3 sentences boasting of their fine standards before that vague apology! Why would they not do the same again? The Sun's Editors Code breaches should surely be judged recorded: they'd swiftly build up a huge record of clause 1 breaches for a start. Their record should be plastered over their front page each time they add to it with further breaches. They could be fined. Without such sanctions why should they be bothered about IPSO rulings - or, indeed, the lack of an actual ruling?!
Sunday, 21 May 2017
|Special section of The Guardian with its revelations about its secretive policies|
Alongside Google's enforcement of the right to be forgotten across the EU, which effectively deletes many 1000s of news stories when their subject (committing an embarrassing or criminal act) complains, Facebook's vague media policies need to be considered as a highly influential, important strand of media regulation separate from the formal industry regulators such as OfCom and IPSO.
Thursday, 18 May 2017
Tuesday, 16 May 2017
Sunday, 7 May 2017
Pranks have been a booming part of YouTube’s scene for years – but it’s a subculture prone to attracting controversy. The latest incident has led to a US father and a stepmother losing custody of two of their children as a result of some of their prank videos.Mike Martin of Baltimore ran a channel named DaddyOFive, featuring his wife, Heather, and their five children. At the height of the controversy, but before his videos were made private, DaddyOFive had more than 750,000 subscribers and the clips were viewed more than 176m times.Family YouTube channels are not uncommon – but the Martins were accused of child abuse because they regularly made their children the subject of their pranks.
Monday, 1 May 2017
NB: The Home Affairs Committee is made of backbench MPs from all parties, NOT government ministers; its job is to scrutinise the work of government and to make recommendations in that policy area - just as the DCMS (Department of Culture, Media + Sport) has the Culture Select Committee scrutinising its work (they were very critical of the PCC while the government ignored or even praised it!).
Social media companies are putting profit before safety and should face fines of tens of millions of pounds for failing to remove extremist and hate crime material promptly from their websites, MPs have said.The largest and richest technology firms are “shamefully far” from taking action to tackle illegal and dangerous content, according to a report by the Commons home affairs committee.The inquiry, launched last year following the murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox by a far-right gunman, concludes that social media multinationals are more concerned with commercial risks than public protection. Swift action is taken to remove content found to infringe copyright rules, the MPs note, but a “laissez-faire” approach is adopted when it involves hateful or illegal content.Referring to Google’s failure to prevent paid advertising from reputable companies appearing next to YouTube videos posted by extremists, the committee’s report said: “One of the world’s largest companies has profited from hatred and has allowed itself to be a platform from which extremists have generated revenue.”In Germany, the report points out, the justice ministry has proposed imposing financial penalties of up to €50m on social media companies that are slow to remove illegal content.
Social media firms must face heavy fines over extremist content – MPs.
Thursday, 20 April 2017
these chaps’ media outlets are bombarding your brain with high level right-wing propaganda: The Sun, for example, claim to have backed the winner of each general election since the notorious Sun headline, ‘It’s The Sun Wot Won It’ referring to the 1992 John Major Tory victory.The tabloid had led an increasingly personal campaign against the then Labour leader Neil Kinnock, culminating in the famous election day headline: “If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights.”The same campaign is running against Jeremy Corbyn right here, right now. [SOURCE: thelondoneconomic.com]
Saturday, 15 April 2017
Let's start with a fact that everyone should know. The S*n is a despicable hard-right propaganda rag that nobody should read. They have no respect for the truth or basic human decency. If they decide to attack you for any reason, they will print lie after lie to smear you, even if you've just survived a horrific football stadium disaster at the hands of a negligent police force.
On evening after The S*n mocked a footballer with black ancestry by comparing him to a gorilla and attacked the city of Liverpool on the eve of the Hillsborough disaster, hacks at The S*n decided to turn their fire on the Labour MP and Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon.
The S*n's political editor Tom Newton Dunn attacked Burgon for supposedly joining "a heavy metal band that delights in Nazi symbols". Everything about the story is fact-averse nonsense. [SOURCE: The S*n's attempted hatchet job on Richard Burgon is spectacularly idiotic.]
Did this MP turn to IPSO?
Nope. He tweeted. And articles such as the above are the result.
Does that undo the impact on public opinion (anti-Labour, what Chomsky would recognise as anti-left-wing [he actually wrote of anti-communism when originally writing the propaganda model at the height of the Cold War] FLAK)? No. This is part of long-term influencing of public opinion, just as the 1000s of anti-EU articles, no matter how absurd (the EU insists British bananas must be straight is a fairly typical example of the dripfeed over decades), clearly impacted on the Brexit vote.
It does suggest IPSO is poorly regarded.
Saturday, 8 April 2017
Sunday, 2 April 2017
It's tempting to read such stories as the academic report into 'dark money' (illegal, especially foreign, funding that may also exceed strict UK voting laws) that swung the Brexit campaign and threatens to leave the UK with a shamocracy like the US, where politics is dominated by who can gather the biggest (corporate) donor cheques.
That would be to ignore the role of the press within this social media, often fake news, campaigning. Getting stories planted in newspapers confers legitimacy, and once done, reporting their coverage reinforces the original point. Any later retraction or correction by newspapers won't undo the impact and influence of lazily inaccurate or ideologically inspired reporting.
Chomsky includes source strategies in his propaganda model; dark money, often from millionaire or billionaire individuals (including media magnates), not just corporations, spend fortunes funding (and disguising their links) think tanks and research groups who provide seemingly authoritative quotes on the points of view they want to push, and pressure politicians into following. This is a subsidy for the media, making it cheaper and easier to gather 'news', with think tank reports themselves becoming news stories and opinion pieces.
Can IPSO regulate this? In short, no; it already fails to adequately cover the global nature of most UK 'national' papers, many of which have more foreign (especially US) readers than British ones!
‘Dark money’ is threat to integrity of UK elections, say leading academics https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/apr/01/dark-money-threat-to-uk-elections-integrity?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger
Sunday, 26 March 2017
A longer post will follow.
While the centuries old NoTW folded in days following an advertiser boycott, the current growing campaign after The Times exposed Google's profiting from ads linked to hate-speech, racist videos doesn't threaten the colossus Google, but has fatally undermined it's crucial claim to NOT be a publisher, simply a means of finding, sharing publishers' content.
Facebook likewise is part of this global digital duopoly starving the print media (other industries will surely follow) of the oxygen of ad revenue whilst profiting hugely from 'sharing' their content, with a compliant US government backing them but an increasingly hostile EU, and national governments within it (not least Germany and Holland), putting up roadblocks to this runaway train.
How's that for a grab bag of mixed metaphors?!
Are we finally reacting to the disruptive supremacy of Facebook and Google? https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/26/finally-reacting-disruptive-supermacy-of-facebook-and-google?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger
Friday, 17 March 2017
Tuesday, 14 March 2017
By April 2019, we hope to be supported by the equivalent of 1 million members, who will help secure the Guardian’s future in a tough commercial environment. Advertising conditions remain highly treacherous, with advertising in the Guardian — which helps pay for our journalism — down £11m this year. For every new advertising dollar spent in the US, 99 cents is now taken up by Facebook and Google.
Thank you for your support, which is more important now than ever https://www.theguardian.com/membership/2017/mar/13/thank-you-for-your-support-which-is-more-important-now-than-ever?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger
Friday, 10 March 2017
Thursday, 2 March 2017
Sunday, 26 February 2017
Chomsky recognised the power of advertisers, one of the five filters in his propaganda model; Curran and Seaton argue that the government encouraged press industry reliance on ad revenue to ensure that radical papers would struggle; the NoTW was closed by Murdoch when advertiser boycotts were organised online and major advertisers began to announce they'd cease paying for ads in the paper (he feared this would widen to the Sun/Times and Sky), while the Times in the 60s changed their editorial policy to be more right-wing, and alienate the new swathe of working class readers they picked up (advertisers refused to pay any extra for these new readers); Facebook and Google refused to consider any action on racist and other right-wing ads until a threatened advertiser boycott ...
Like Hacked Off, this is a citizen pressure group, making use of new media to push their agenda, including crowdfunding to launch the campaign:
Saturday, 25 February 2017
Monday, 6 February 2017
Publication of hacked David Beckham emails renders injunction worthless: the Sunday Times printed a front page story telling their readers they had a celebrity scandal they were injuncted (blocked: thats what a media injunction is, a ban on sharing, publishing or repeating information) from revealing. It turns out this was on David Beckham, and they were soon able to report it once the story was widely published in France and elsewhere; globalisation, and the sharing of global media content through twitter and others, often undermines UK court injunctions.
Wednesday, 25 January 2017
Snapchat is tightening up its guidelines for publishers on its Discover service, banning the posting of risque images without editorial value, and clarifying guidelines intended to prevent the spread of fake news on the platform.The changes, according to a spokeswoman for Snap, Snapchat’s parent company, are intended to “empower our editorial partners to do their part to keep Snapchat an informative, factual and safe environment for everyone”.Toeing the line between keeping Snapchat age appropriate for younger users – the app bars children from under 13 from making accounts, but allows 13- to 17-year-olds on the service – and allowing publications on Discover editorial freedom has been difficult for the company, particularly when media organisations know one way to appeal to the app’s millennial user base is with prominent use of risqué images.The Daily Mail, for instance, has attracted user complaints for frequently posting semi-nude images as its “cover” on the service. “I find it incredibly offensive that I can’t opt out of seeing these images and that I am forced to see these images every time I open up the app to see my friends’ stories,” one user told the Guardian. “Usually, I just put up with it, but a few weeks ago, a definite line was crossed”, she said: “The image was of a completely nude female on the top … The picture was taken from the side, so you can’t see the nipples but her breasts were dangling over her boyfriend who she was mounting. She was dressed on the bottom and I believe her boyfriend was completely dressed.”Due to the prominence of Discover features in Snapchat’s app, the cover story is visible even to users who simply use the service to talk with friends and family. In July 2016, Snapchat faced a lawsuit over sexualised Discover stories. It was eventually settled out of court.Snapchat’s new rules will require some news justification or other editorial value before such stories can be posted to the service. Snap also plans to give publishers a tool in February that will allow them to age-gate content, presenting different stories to users over and under 18, according to the New York Times.Snapchat cracks down on risque images and fake news.