Hi everyone, Eliz Mizon here with the Media Reform Coalition blog.
For even more media news and analysis, the latest media reform campaigns, and relevant content from around the web, follow me at Chompsky: Power and Pop Culture.
For now, here’s your media news digest:
Support the Leveson Defence Fund!
Our friends at HackedOff have launched a campaign in response to Boris’ latest attack on press freedom:
“With an eye on shoring up his support in the press ahead of the next General Election, Boris Johnson announced plans to repeal section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. This strips out a key part of the Leveson framework for press regulation. It’s an assault on the freedom of independent newspapers, and shows total disregard to the victims of press abuse.
It’s a clear sign that for the next two years Johnson is keen to do favours for newspaper owners in return for their backing in a 2024 General Election.”
Read more and donate here.
BBC to cut 1000 jobs, and move crucial services online
The BBC has announced a “digital-first” policy, which includes moving CBBC, BBC Four and Radio 4 to online-only services in the next few years. It is part of a £500 million cost cutting measure, which will also see the broadcaster cut 1000 jobs from its license-fee funded arm.
The services are not being ‘shut down’, as some have claimed, but critics note that there is likely to be a significant impact on access for older demographics as a result of this, and for children, it doesn’t appear that the effects of ‘persuasive technology’ have been taken into account.
This Week’s Media News
- In response to the most recent school shooting in Texas, Vanity Fair has reported a wave of journalists calling for the release of graphic imagery showing the results of a school shooting: “Couldn’t have imagined saying this years ago, but it’s time – with the permission of a surviving parent – to show what a slaughtered 7-year-old looks like”. (Vanity Fair)
- An investigation by CNN has accused the IDF of murdering Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh: “Videos obtained by CNN, corroborated by testimony from eight eyewitnesses, an audio forensic analyst and an explosive weapons expert, suggest that Abu Akleh was shot dead in a targeted attack by Israeli forces.” (CNN)
- A report by Influence Map details a concerted lobbying campaign by the fossil fuel industry across “social media, traditional media, public presentations, investor calls, and direct interactions with America’s policymakers” to use the war in Ukraine to legitimise a ramping up of fossil fuel extraction. (Influence Map)
- This week saw a Twitter storm around Stuart Kirk, head of responsible investing at HSBC Asset Management, who downplayed the threat of climate chaos in his speech to the FT Moral Money summit, saying the science is overblown by “nut jobs”. After FT and HSBC publicly disavowed his comments, critics pointed out that each company would have had to sign off on his presentation, titled “Why investors need not worry about climate risk”, prior to the event. Kirk was “expressing what many bankers think when the media isn’t around”, said banker Sasja Beslik. (FT/Bloomberg)
- A new study by the actors’ union Equity, on mental health in the performing arts, shows “a culture of unstable work, antisocial hours and financial fears is fueling a mental health crisis”. In response they have launched a “Mental Health Charter” with five demands for the industry. (Equity)
- For the BBC’s mid-term charter review, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has directed the focus to a review of impartiality and the diversity of its workforce. (gov.uk)
- Russia’s foreign ministry has threatened YouTube, saying that each time they block a briefing by its spokeswoman, a reporter from a Western country will be expelled from the country. (Reuters)
- Male TV presenters in Afghanistan decided to wear face masks in solidarity with their female colleagues, after the Taliban issued an order that all female news presenters must cover their faces. (The Guardian)