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
I have just finished reading ‘Unleashing Demons’ 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