The central role the media has played in the General Election Campaign is undeniable. So is the pro Conservative party dominance of much of the national press together with its anti-Labour party bias. Social media has again offered alternative platforms for the parties and people to get their messages across. Since the last election we have seen increasing consolidation of media ownership, the latest takeover being announced at the end of November when JPIMedia sold the i newspaper and website for a reported £49.6m to the billionaire Lord Rothermere’s Daily Mail and General Trust, which owns the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline. Meanwhile press baron David Montgomery is in talks to buy JPIMedia which owns dozens of major local British newspapers.
So what new policies do the parties offer to counter these concerns and make our media ‘fit for purpose’? Continue reading Media reform – are the parties up to the challenge?
Just hours before Parliament was dissolved at one minute past midnight on 6 November, the House of Lords’ Communications and Digital Committee published a report calling for urgent action to safeguard the future of public service broadcasting. The report – ‘Public service broadcasting: as vital as ever ‘ – points to the current threats and calls for urgent measures to safeguard the future of broadcasting as a vital part of UK society and democracy. It warns that public service broadcasters (PSBs) need to be better supported to ensure that they can continue to produce high-quality drama and documentaries which reflect and examine UK culture. In return, the broadcasters need to adapt to ensure that they serve and reflect all audiences. Continue reading Urgent action needed to support public service broadcasting says Lords Committee
On 12 March 2018 the BBC website reported on the harassment of its Persian staff. It stated that it was making an unprecedented appeal to the UN to stop Iran from harassing its Persian service staff in London and their families in Iran. It said that Iran had intensified its campaign of intimidation, including threats, arrests of relatives and travel bans. According to the broadcaster, Iran began targeting the BBC’s Persian service after the disputed 2009 presidential election, when Tehran accused foreign powers of interference. The Iranian government disputed the allegations and accused BBC Persian of spreading false information to encourage the overthrow of the regime. Continue reading Stop the harassment of BBC Persian staff