Hi everyone, Eliz Mizon here with the Media Reform Coalition blog every week.
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.
A new campaign group called Just Stop Oil, from the strategists behind XR and Insulate Britain, is planning nationwide direct action in response to Boris Johnson’s new fossil fuel investments (which signs the UK up for decades of continued fossil fuel use).
We needed to stop using fossil fuels years ago. Instead, governments are signing us up to decades more exploration and exploitation.
Watch activists deliver their ultimatum at Downing Street here:
Don’t forget to read The MRC’s BBC Licence Fee Settlement Briefing
The Media Reform Coalition released a briefing last week that provides a summary of the government’s recent proposals for the licence fee, assesses its motivations and consequences, and identifies some potential action points.
Our analysis draws on our recent evidence and proposals from two Media Reform Coalition reports published in late 2021:
- The Media Influence Matrix report, exploring the impact of shifts in policy, funding and technology on contemporary journalism in the UK.
- The Manifesto for a People’s Media, published as part of the ‘BBC and Beyond’ project, outlining proposals for a more democratic, independent and accountable media.
This Week’s Media News
- Does the public have a right to know about potential criminal activity? No says the UK’s Supreme Court, which has ruled a case against Bloomberg for naming a businessman being investigated for wrongdoing before he had been charged. Commentators have described this as punishment of investigative journalists for tabloid excesses, and claim it “creates serious risks of legitimate media investigation being suppressed, and wrongdoing going unreported”. Shortly afterward, it was reported that new laws could roll back the decision. (FT/The Guardian)
- Leaked information has revealed that Joe Rogan’s Spotify deal was “at least $200 million”, not $100 million as previously reported. (NYT)
- As Meta faces upcoming regulation from the EU, former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has been promoted within the company to President of Global Affairs. TechCrunch paraphrases the job description as “president of tilting at regulatory headwinds”. (TechCrunch)
- Buried in Meta’s annual Securities and Exchange Commission filings was an interesting threat: “if officials on both sides of the Atlantic can’t reach an agreement on data transfers and warehousing, the company may have to pull its Facebook and Instagram platforms from Europe.” (Ars Technica)
- News engagement among Americans has declined significantly after a year of overwhelming information about COVID-19 and politics. Only 33% of Americans surveyed in a Gallup/Knight poll at the end of 2021 said they pay “a great deal” of attention to national news, compared to 54% the previous year. (Knight Foundation)
- Sarah Palin’s lawsuit against the New York Times, regarding a 2017 editorial that linked her to a mass shooting, has been struck down by a jury. The judge had said that even if they didn’t, he would dismiss the case because “her legal team had failed to provide sufficient evidence that she had been defamed”. Jeremy W. Peters claims that “The jury’s verdict, and the judge’s decision, served as a validation of the longstanding legal precedent that considers an occasional mistake by the media a necessary cost of discourse in a free society.” (NYT)
- Several high profile news organisations are backing the next lot of anti-trust bills against Big Tech firms. NYT, NPR, News Corp and others are supporting two bills aimed at reining in Apple, Amazon, and Google’s dominance over apps and advertising. (Reuters)
- A beta version of Trump’s new social media app ‘Truth Social’ has been launched, with around 500 user-testers, who have reportedly commented on the platform’s similarity to Twitter. (The Guardian)
- CNN has announced The Murdochs: Empire of Influence, a six-part docuseries to be released on the launch of its new streaming platform CNN+ in the spring. (CNN Press Room)
(written by Eliz Mizon, edited by Cléo Celeste)