MRC Weekly Digest – 11th June 2021

By Media Reform Coalition / Friday June 11, 2021 Read More
Hi everyone, Eliz Mizon here with the Media Reform Coalition blog every Friday. For even more media news and analysis, plus the latest campaigns, content, and UK media jobs, follow me at Chompsky: Power and Pop Culture For now, here’s your media news digest!

Safety of Journalists: Call For Evidence

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has opened a call out for journalists to submit evidence about ‘threats and abuse’ they have faced. This call for evidence is intended to develop an evidence base to understand the nature and volume of threats and abuse against journalists who are operating in the UK. Responses will be used to better understand the nature and scale of the problem which the government, alongside the National Committee, is seeking to solve. The online form is open until July 14th.

The BBC and Beyond campaign continues!

A reminder that the dates for the next three events: The first two events will be streamed on the MRC Twitter and Facebook and YouTube, while the Wales-focused event will be run as a Zoom seminar. All events are free and include a Q&A, we’d love to have you all join us! All our previous events are available on the MRC YouTube channel, and you can contribute to our Manifesto for a People’s Media on the BBC and Beyond website here. It’s been a busy week but I did manage to publish a couple of pieces which I hope you’ll enjoy: READ: The Atlantic Union Has Been Immediately, Voluntarily Recognised By Management And the Praxis Makes Perfect interview series continues! I loved speaking to my favourite activists, The Yes Men. If you haven’t seen their documentaries, make it your summer pledge. You won’t regret it. READ: Praxis Makes Perfect: The Yes Men

This Week’s Media News

  • The Sun has been successfully sued for the first time – on its own – for unlawful information gathering. Former Lib Dem MP Sir Simon Hughes brought a case against the paper for illegally obtaining his phone records, resulting in the paper blackmailing and outing him. Hughes sued The News of the World in 2012 for phone hacking, and this week brought a separate successful case against Murdoch’s extant top-tabloid. (Byline)
  • Independent news outfit OpenDemocracy has won “a significant legal victory” against the UK government. A judge sided with the newsroom in the three-year-long battle, after they found that a “secretive unit” has been “‘blacklisting’ Freedom of Information requests from journalists, campaigners and others.” (OpenDemocracy)
  • The US Justice Department has said that it will end the practice of “secretly obtain[ing] reporters’ records during leak investigations”. It follows a statement by President Biden that said practices are “simply wrong”. (Associated Press)
  • Netflix is launching an e-commerce store today: NYT reports it’s “a new way to bring in cash after a quarter in which its explosive growth showed signs of slowing down in the increasingly crowded field of streamed entertainment.” (NYT)
  • Annette Thomas, Chief Executive of the Guardian Media Group has resigned after sources told the FT of an ‘internal battle over strategy’ between her and Katherine Viner, Editor in Chief of The Guardian. GMG is the Guardian’s commercial arm. (The Financial Times)
  • 227 signatories have written to the Prime Minister urging him to amend the 1988 Copyright Act “so that streaming services pay artists roughly the same as radio stations do”. Signatories include The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, Pet Shop Boys, Yoko Ono, Van Morrison, and Jarvis Cocker. (CNBC)
  • Dave Eggers has said his latest novel will be distributed through independent bookstores, and won’t be listed on Amazon. “I don’t like bullies,” he said. “Amazon has been kicking sand in the face of independent bookstores for decades now.” (NYT)
  • Reply All returns today after the scandal surrounding their series on Bon Appetit, ‘The Test Kitchen’, halted the hit Gimlet podcast. (The Guardian)
  • A report by financial services company PwC has shown that “of the time that people spent streaming video in 2020, 62% was spent on subscription-based services versus 32% on ad-supported services”. (Digiday)
  • For the first time, a Substack newsletter-writer—Hunter Walker of ‘The Uprising’— has received a pass for the White House Press Corps. To be fair, Walker is a press corps “veteran”, having been Yahoo News’ White House correspondent until April this year. However, the absence of an external fact-checking, editorial and legal team within the writing makes the decision notable, and controversial. (Washingtonian)
  • A group of Canadian newspapers has published an open letter to Justin Trudeau saying “you, Prime Minister, need to keep your word: to introduce legislation to break the Google/Facebook stranglehold on news before the summer recess.” (Toronto Star)