This well-known work by Robert Louis Stevenson is commonly associated with the rare mental condition often called “split personality”, referred to in psychiatry as dissociative identity disorder, where within the same body there exists more than one distinct personality. It’s an apt description of News UK’s (previously News Corp) treatment of the SNP in Scotland and England.
With the publication of the SNP election manifesto on Monday we now know where the main parties stand on their policies on the future of the media. Labour’s election manifesto commitments the party to protect ‘the principle of media plurality’ and ‘preventing the concentration of media power in too few hands’. It’s the best commitment from Labour for decades and is likely to have enraged Rupert Murdoch who in February berated journalists on his tabloid papers for not doing enough to stop Labour winning the election and warned them that the future of the company depended on stopping Ed Miliband entering No 10 (Independent 20 April 2015). The party also takes the Leveson Inquiry as the benchmark for how to repair the damage done by the phone hacking scandal and pledges to stand by the victims.
The Green Party manifesto commits to enforcing a 20% maximum share in individual media markets as well as tighter rules on cross-media ownership.
Plaid Cymru’s election manifesto stresses the importance of ‘a plurality of opinions and information sources’ and highlights how concentration threatens to undermine coverage of Welsh politics and culture.
On 22 October I went to hear the Lord Communications Committee take evidence on media plurality from Sir Harold Evans, former editor of the Times and Sunday Times. He was followed by representatives from the Media Reform Coalition and the internet campaigning organisation, Avaaz. Continue reading Harold Evans and Media Reform