Exam date

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

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?

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

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

Again, newspaper owners are campaigning for the likes of Facebook (which profits from their content while passing back minimal revenue; is sucking vital ad revenue away from them; changes their newsfeed algorithms periodically, often losing newspapers large proportions of online readers as a result with no means for them to protest or influence this)
Guardian: Make Facebook liable for content, says report on UK election intimidation.

Theresa May should consider the introduction of two new laws to deter the intimidation of MPs during elections and force social media firms to monitor illegal content, an influential committee has said.
The independent Committee on Standards in Public Life, which advises the prime minister on ethics, has called for the introduction within a year of a new specific offence in electoral law to halt widespread abuse when voters go to the polls.
The watchdog will recommend another law to shift the liability for illegal content on to social media firms such as Facebook and Google, a legal change which will be easier once Britain leaves the European Union.
Both changes form part of the hard-hitting conclusions of an inquiry into intimidation experienced by parliamentary candidates in this year’s election campaign.
Other recommendations include:
  • Social media firms should make decisions quickly to take down intimidatory content.
  • Political parties should, by December 2018, draw up a joint code of conduct on intimidatory behaviour during election campaigns.
  • The National Police Chiefs’ Council should ensure that police are trained to investigate offences committed through social media.
  • Ministers should bring forward rules so that council candidates will no longer be required to release their home addresses.

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...

https://tompride.wordpress.com/2017/12/05/see-20-years-of-fake-news-about-eu-by-uk-press-vote-for-your-favourite-here/

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.

SFH aims to reduce what it sees as the baleful, malevolent 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.

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?

The newspaper industry have been campaigning for this for some time - but I wouldn't hold your breath; Facebook alone has 1 of the biggest lobbying teams/spend of any global corporation (and boosted it significantly as soon as the Capita/election influence scandal hit hard in March/April 2018).

Guardian: Ofcom chair raises prospect of regulation for Google and Facebook.

UPDATE: The Culture Minister - in the same week he fiercely opposed Leveson2 and tougher press regulation (but actually seems to have proposed statutory regulation by the back door...), he's announced plans for new legislation to regulate social media, including a levy to pay for more monitoring.

UK government plans new legislation to tame internet's 'wild west'

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/may/19/uk-government-plans-new-laws-tackle-internet-wild-west?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Copy_to_clipboard

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...

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

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

CHILDREN TV Peppa Pig spider episode banned

Peppa Pig 'spiders can't hurt you' episode pulled off air in Australia – again https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/sep/05/peppa-pig-spiders-cant-hurt-you-episode-pulled-off-air-in-australia-again?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Friday, 25 August 2017

ADVERTISER BOYCOTT pressurises Breitbart home of alt-right

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

MUSIC Islands in the stream - Spotify, YouTube making political bans

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.

https://qz.com/1056140/spotify-by-banning-white-power-bands-is-now-deciding-what-music-is-acceptable/?utm_source=qzfb

Monday, 7 August 2017

OfCom research UK public's swearing ranking

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.

https://www.indy100.com/article/british-swear-words-ranked-ofcom-7340446

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

GLOBAL WEB undermined by Canada Google piracy ruling

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

https://www.wired.com/story/google-fights-canada-order-global-search-results

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Chomsky's five filters inspire an alt news site

http://fivefilters.org/

http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.lu/2017/06/how-three-tiny-facebook-pages-took-on.html?m=1

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

FILM Sony starts clean versions to target family

Seth Rogen criticises Sony Pictures plan to release 'clean versions' of films https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jun/07/seth-rogen-criticises-sony-pictures-clean-version-releases-sausage-party?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Monday, 5 June 2017

PRESS BIAS 2017 UK election study in graphs

http://blog.lboro.ac.uk/crcc/general-election/media-coverage-2017-general-election-campaign-report-2/

Saturday, 3 June 2017

AUSTRALIA Murdoch press threatens Press Council boycott

The Australian refuses to work with new Press Council member from GetUp! https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jun/02/the-australian-refuses-to-work-with-new-press-council-member-from-getup?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Websites UGC replacing press political influence?

This Guardian article looks at the rise of alternative news media during the 2017 UK general election, and the arguable decline of press influence. I'd be cautious over that conclusion though - the broadcast media still tend to take the day's news agenda from each morning's newspapers.
DIY political websites: new force shaping the general election debate. (sample below)


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

PCC IPSO effectiveness the arguments FOR


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).

IPSO
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

PCC
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

IPSO children rulings + web + advertisers more powerful

Pending updates, check back for more

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

Facebook censorship an important media regulator

UPDATE: Hot on the heels of the article that prompted this post, The Guardian published a major report into the secretive workings of Facebook, including revealing their specific censorship policies: their internal guide for moderators on what is and is not acceptable. Read their coverage here. There is a clear issue: doesn't Facebook (and Twitter, Reddit etc) need regulating within the UK - perhaps by IPSO?! Or should governments just ignore such global entities as impossible to effectively regulate?!

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.
The law courts have always formed another separate plank, with libel and slander laws used to sidestep the regulators and often extract heavy punitive payments from newspapers especially, a financial penalty that might make self regulation work if it were a punishment IPSO could enforce. The super-injunction should serve as a warning that such regulation-by-courts often does not serve democracy well. Many papers will fold, ceasing investigations, not publishing critical articles, pulling articles off their website and publicly searchable archives, to avoid potentially crippling legal fees even if they win!!!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Murdoch's Sky bid at risk from US abuse lawsuits

A good example of how regulation is often shaped or at least influenced by agencies beyond the formal regulators.

Since the 2nd Royal Commission on the Press, there has been a legal requirement for the government to approve ANY takeover of a newspaper, though that this was and is a token gesture to see off pressure for tougher regulation is reflected in the fact that not one such sale has ever been rejected. Indeed, recently published archives of then PM Thatcher's secretive meetings with Murdoch as he successfully sought to takeover The Times newspapers in the early 1980s suggests that ideologically friendly governments are prepared to help powerful press barons bend or break the law to have supportive media voices in place.

Rules on TV ownership have been tough from the start. There has been considerable deregulation, especially under Blair's 'New' Labour government, been there remain limits on what any individual company or media magnate can own. Murdoch is bidding is buy up the remaining 61% of BSkyB shares he doesn't own, but must get OfCom's agreement that this will not cause competition issues in the UK market AND that he, his sons and his scandal hit corporation, facing multiple lawsuits for sexual abuse and racial discrimination in the US, constitute a 'fit and proper' owner.

He abandoned his 2011 bid to do the same once the phone hacking scandal hit big over the Milly Fowler case, leading to his closing the NoTW. Will he be forced to back down AGAIN after another big scandal?

Probably not.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

MacDonalds TV ad provokes 100 ASA complaints

Not a detailed case study, but a useful reference to show that protection of children is a key theme with all media regulators - and that it's the Twitter response rather than the formal complaints that has led media reporting in, awareness of and interest in this story.

The ASA hadn't decided whether to investigate at the time of writing

Sunday, 7 May 2017

YouTube rank pranks endangering children?

Who should regulate this - OfCom (YouTube channel equivalent to TV channel?), BBFC (video - after all, they partially regulate music video on YouTube)? The social media giants are getting a really easy ride compared to the tightly regulated TV and (to a lesser degree; no ownership restrictions) film industries, both of which are subject to strict licensing systems. Surely they ARE now competitors to both, so perhaps the tough regulation on film/TV is unfair - unless also applied to UGC and social media?
Mean stream: when YouTube pranks go horribly wrong.


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

MPs say social media must face fines as publishers

MPs are adding their voice to the slowly growing pressure for the social media giants to face regulation equivalent to the traditional media industries. With convergence (a newspaper is now as much a website, app, radio, TV as it is a print medium!), it seems hard to justify the social media firms escaping regulation - unless we adopt a laissez faire, ultra free market approach and scrap or radically reduce ALL media regulation (deregulate).

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

PRESS INFLUENCE proof of media effects?

these chaps’ media outlets are bombarding your brain with high level right-wing propaganda:
  1. Lord Rothermere, a billionaire living in France, owns the Mail, Mail on Sunday, and the Metro.
  1. Rupert Murdoch, a billionaire living in Australia, owns the Sun, Sun on Sunday and is the man behind Fox News, BSkyB, News Corp, etc, etc.
  1. Alexander and Evgeny (son) Lebedev, an Ex KGB Russian Billionaire, owns The Independent, Independent on Sunday, The Evening Standard.
  1. Richard Desmond, a billionaire, owns the Daily Star, Sunday Star, Daily Express, Sunday Express.
  1. David and Frederick Barclay, billionaire brothers living on a private island near Saark, own the Telegraph, The Spectator, and the Business.
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]


Media effects are a controversial topic, hotly debated in academic circles and widely (mis-)applied by pressure groups from both left- and right-wing positions.

Conservative, right-wing politicos, media and campaigners love to lash out at sex and violence in film, music, games and TV, often essentially applying the near-century-old hypodermic syringe model which argued there's a direct link between media content and the views, attitudes and behaviour of those exposed to them.

Despite being the topic of many, many 1000s of academic studies, there still has been no definitive evidence for this. If it were true, why doesn't every Michael Bay filmic violence fest produce millions of new psychopaths roaming the streets? Why hasn't the best-selling Grand Theft Auto series lead to millions of crazed drivers mowing down pedestrians?

There's also the problem of selectively ignoring news content seen as favourable to conservative, right-wing views: graphic (so-called; it's an ideologically loaded term) coverage of terrorist atrocities (with ideological judgements on the scale of importance of lives based on skin and geography), glorifying coverage of military ventures, supposed 'smart' bombs and all.

The left can be just as censorious, seeking restrictions on free speech where this might undermine minorities or the less powerful groups in society. An overlap can be seen with attacks on sexual content as exploiting women and creating negative social attitudes.

On the press, the left, including the commentator linked below, take a more structural approach: the political economy branch of media academic theory.

This focuses on ownership and industry structures including distribution (and concentration of ownership). Chomsky's propaganda model is a classic example.

The article below produces a decent piece of evidence to back argument made, that UK public opinion on political parties and leaders is shaped by press coverage under the direction of non-resident billionaire owners bitterly opposed to any left-wing policies, especially crackdown on tax avoidance, that threaten their comfortable existence and corporate interests.

http://www.thelondoneconomic.com/tle-pick/think-jeremy-corbyn-is-a-loser-oh-dear-youve-been-brainwashed/18/08/

Saturday, 15 April 2017

PRESS Facebook not IPSO for S*n slurred MP

NB: Taken from a source with a clear left-wing subjectivity.
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.

Here's more from the original article: