MRC Weekly Digest – 21st Jan 2022

By Media Reform Coalition / Friday January 21, 2022 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. A Media Policy Agenda for 2022 The MRC has produced a useful policy briefing that provides an overview of key issues for progressive development in, and protection of, the media industry. It draws together several key issues that progressive campaigners are tackling, providing a useful bitesize overview for anyone interested, but most crucially for policymakers:
  • The future of the BBC and the licence fee
  • Channel 4 privatisation
  • Government appointments and media independence
  • Media plurality
  • Local journalism and press regulation
Check out the report, and feel free to share far and wide.

This Week’s Media News:

  • Culture secretary Nadine Dorries announced this week that the BBC license fee will be frozen for the next two years, and “abolished completely” in 2027. Director general Tim Davie claimed this will leave the broadcaster with a funding gap of over £250 million. (The Guardian)
  • The digital editor-in-chief of the New York Post, Michelle Gotthelf, has quit her job, filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against the paper and several members of its staff. She claims her editor “pushed her out” after she informed him she was sexually harassed by former EIC Col Allan. (The Daily Beast)
  • Journalist Carole Cadwalladr, who broke the Cambridge Analytica scandal in the Guardian, is at the High Court this week defending herself against an accusation of libel by Brexiteer Arron Banks. In a 2019 Ted talk, Cadwalladr referred to “lies that Arron Banks has told about his covert relationship with the Russian government.” She claims similar things have been said previously in print, including by her, and that she did not believe the statement to be controversial. (Press Gazette)
  • Scientific academy The Royal Society has produced research showing that banning misinformation from online platforms is ineffective, essentially driving it ‘underground’ like a black market: “While illegal content that incites violence, racism or child sex abuse must be removed, legal material that runs counter to the scientific consensus should not be banned, the report said” – suggesting that instead, a “collective resilience” should be fostered. (FT)
  • It’s been revealed that notorious FOX News commentator Sean Hannity was giving direct advice via text message to Donald Trump’s White House advisers after the Jan 6 Capitol riot. (NYT)
  • GB News has announced it will now play the National Anthem at the beginning of each day, on its radio and TV broadcasts. (Press Gazette)
  • New film distribution platform Filmhub has raised $6.8 million in venture capital – partly from Andreesen Horowitz (so-called ‘super angel’ investors in many of the world’s biggest digital firms). The platform seeks to help ‘democratise’ the distribution space, allowing small-time creators to get their films to streaming giants such as Amazon Prime and Apple+. (TechCrunch)
  • YouTube is winding down its Originals series after 6 years. (Variety)
  • Weeks after being “invited” to move their lives from Chicago to new offices in LA – without a cost-of-living adjustment, and thus amounting to a significant pay cut – by their parent company, seven A.V. Club editorial workers have announced in a statement they will instead “take their union-contract-protected severances”. (Chicago Tribune)
  Written by Eliz Mizon, edited by Cléo Celeste