The change of year has not meant a change of circumstances for the 177 journalists who, according to The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), spent New Year’s Eve in prison. Following reports from the EFJ national affiliates, 177 journalists spent New Year’s Eve in prison in Europe: 159 in Turkey; 11 in Azerbaijan; 5 in Russia; 2 in Ukraine. In Turkey, a significant number of journalists continued to be detained on charges related to alleged terrorism, while others convicted in 2018 received heavy imprisonment sentences, including life sentences. According to the EFJ no progress has been recorded concerning journalists currently serving life-imprisonment or very long imprisonment sentences and they have issued a strong call for release of all imprisoned journalists in Europe.
A report published by the US Pew Research Centre http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/13/2018/05/10185248/PJ_2018.05.14_Western-Europe_FINAL.pdf found that less that half the adults in the UK say that the news media is doing a good job at getting the facts right, the worst trustworthiness rate in Western Europe! The report was published at the same time as the House of Commons rejected the call to hold part two of the Leveson Inquiry into the conduct of the media which included a number of new provisions including an investigation into the dissemination of information and news, including false news stories.
I have just finished reading ‘Unleashing Devils’ by by Craig Oliver, David Cameron’s former spin doctor (Director of Politics and Communications to give him his official title, a position which he held from September 2011 until Cameron’s resignation in July 2016). It’s an insider’s story of the decision to call the ill-fated (and in my view irresponsible and divisive) referendum and other key moments, through to defeat and resignation. It may seem odd that I’ve read a book written by someone who is diametrically opposed to most of the things I believe in, but it’s fresh history, published just a few months after the victory for the leavers and there are many questions and deeper concerns posed by it, regardless of how you voted in the referendum. Continue reading Making the broadcasters raise their game