MRC Weekly Digest – 1 October 2021

By Media Reform Coalition / Friday October 1, 2021 Read More
Hi everyone, Eliz Mizon here with the Media Reform Coalition blog every Friday. For even more media news and analysis, the latest media reform campaigns, and intriguing content from around the web, follow me at Chompsky: Power and Pop Culture For now, here’s your media news digest.

Our New Report: Funding Journalism

Researcher Leo Watkins has released his report, supported by the Media Reform Coalition and the Central European University, on the financial, engagement, and power dynamics of the UK’s media industry.

It’s not simply raw data and dry facts, although it contains plenty of useful information for anyone looking for stats; it also tells the story of the changing face of UK media over the last few decades. 

Read the report.

Hacked Off’s IPSO Campaign

Hacked Off’s new campaign is asking: How long has IPSO existed without launching a standards investigation? “Over the last seven years, there have been countless cases of discrimination, inaccuracy and abuse in the press. Yet, nearly 7 years after it was set up, IPSO has not launched a single standards investigation, nor issued a single fine.” Please share!

This Week’s Media News

  • Ozy Media is facing questions of fraud. NYT’s media columnist Ben Smith reported that a senior executive at Ozy is accused of impersonating a YouTube executive during a conference call with Goldman Sachs while trying to secure an investment of $40 million. CNN says that suspicion Ozy has been inflating its audience numbers is an ‘open secret’. Their chairman resigned yesterday, and a number of companies froze their ad campaigns with the company pending further investigation. (NYT/CNN)
  • Ofcom’s five-year audit of the UK broadcasting industry has found it to be a “talent drain”, and criticises the lack of diversity in senior roles while the industry deflects by celebrating the expansion of diversity in its lower ranks. (BECTU)
  • The NewsGuild of New York is filing charges against Gannett, the largest local media company in the US, for unfair labour practices and undermining of union efforts. (Axios)
  • YouTube announces it is banning all anti-vaccine channels and activists, including a lawyer, and member of the Kennedy dynasty, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (WaPo)
  • As executions continue in Afghanistan and bodies have been displayed in Herat’s main squares, fears are growing for 21-year-old freelance photojournalist Morteza Samadi, who was arrested covering the women’s protests in Herat three weeks ago. (The Guardian)
  • Britney Spears’ father has been removed from her conservatorship. The singer has been under the legal and financial control of her father and his legal team since 2008, the best part of 14 years. A hearing has been set for November on whether to end the conservatorship altogether. (NYT)
  • CNN has disabled its Facebook pages in Australia after a ruling that determined publishers are liable for defamatory social media comments. CNN had asked Facebook to disable its page’s comment functionality; Facebook declined. (Sydney Morning Herald)
  • The Wall Street Journal has released internal research by Instagram, a subsidiary of Facebook, that has shown the photo app “could affect girls’ mental health on issues such as body image and self-esteem”, and claims that the company is still making considerable effort to attract children to the platform. Facebook issued a rebuttal of the revelations but subsequently announced it was pausing the development of the Instagram Kids app. A Congressional hearing on the issue is planned for next week. (WSJ/Facebook)
  • Apple has released its paid and free podcast subscription numbers for the first time; it shows that the company counts a listen when any user plays at least one second of an episode. (Variety)
  • The International Fund for Public Interest Media is a new global initiative to support independent media outlets and journalists. It’s headed by Filipino journalist, press freedom advocate, and Time’s 2018 ‘Person of the Year’ Maria Ressa, alongside former NYT CEO and BBC director-general Mark Thompson. (Axios)
  • TikTok claims it has now reached 1 billion monthly users. (TikTok)