MRC Weekly Digest – 15th January 2022
By Media Reform Coalition / Saturday January 15, 2022
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.
The Sun’s Deputy Editor faces his own lockdown party scandal
The Sun’s coverage of the Number 10 lockdown party scandals has been widely criticised after it came to light that James Slack, the paper’s deputy editor and former Communications Director for the Prime Minister, had a party of his own.
In the early 2021 lockdown, Slack’s leaving do at Downing Street is alleged to have seen staff “dragging a suitcase of booze into No 10”. The scandal also “highlights the revolving door between Britain’s political and media elite”, says Jim Waterson of the Guardian.
This Week’s Media News
Ministers in the Conservative government have faced backlash after calling for God Save the Queen to be played more frequently by UK broadcasters. Culture minister, Chris Philp, is quoted as saying “the more we hear the national anthem sung, frankly, the better”; Jamie Grierson at the Guardian noted that “the BBC already plays the national anthem at the end of every day on Radio 4.” (The Guardian)
Written by Eliz Mizon, edited by Cléo Gasquet
- More than 250 medical professionals have signed an open letter to Spotify, demanding the company takes action against their most popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, for creating “mass-misinformation events”. Rogan yet again promoted misinformation about vaccines in an episode featuring discredited doctor Robert Malone. (Tech Policy Press)
- Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp et al, is being sued for billions of pounds in a class action lawsuit brought by Dr Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, a competitions expert. She alleges Meta “abused its market dominance” and exploited the personal data of UK users. A similar case against Google last year failed. (BBC)
- The entire staff of BBC’s Istanbul bureau have gone on strike after negotiations concerning below-inflation pay collapsed. The BBC were offering a 20% pay rise, while official statistics put Turkey’s inflation rise in 2021 at 36%. Some independent economists put it as high as 82%. (Middle East Eye)
- David Jordan, the BBC’s director of editorial policy, has said that the broadcaster will stand against so-called “cancel culture” to the point where they would consider platforming flat earthers. “It’s critical to the BBC that we represent all points of view and give them due weight,” Jordan claims. (The Guardian)
- After infamously storming out of his job at Good Morning Britain, Piers Morgan returned to NewsCorp this week with a column in The Sun. It’s part of a three-year, £50 million deal which also includes a column in the New York Post, and a nightly show on Murdoch’s upcoming channel TalkTV. (Press Gazette)
- Hong Kong is using old sedition laws from the early 20th century to charge pro-democracy journalists arrested during recent protests. (NiemanLab)
- WIRED Magazine is the latest publication to state they will consider any public official who speaks to their reporters to be “on the record” by default. The shift is intended to increase transparency in the way information is shared between institutions, the media and the public. (WIRED)
- The US Republican party will now require candidates seeking their presidential nomination to agree not to participate in any debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has run all debates since it formed in the late ‘80s. (NYT)
- Freelance journalist Jeffrey Moyo, accused of helping two NYT journalists enter Zimbabwe using “bogus credentials”, goes on trial this week. This is the latest in a series of claims that the Zimbabwean government is cracking down on the media. At Moyo’s bail hearing last year, even the government admitted its charges were “on shaky ground”. (NYT)
- The Premier League have won “a minimum £157million payout” after Chinese company PP Sports was unable to pay the £564 million agreed for overseas broadcasting rights – the league’s largest ever international TV deal. (Mirror)
- A man has been arrested after damaging a statue on the front of BBC Broadcasting House by sculptor Eric Gill, a known paedophile. (The Guardian)