MRC Weekly Digest – 23rd July 2021

By Media Reform Coalition / Friday July 23, 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.

A Reporter’s Fight to Expose Epstein’s Crimes — and Earn a Living

This New York Times profile of Julie Brown, the investigative reporter who did the most to expose Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes, details not only her work but her financial struggles while doing it:  “Brown’s book, which comes out on Tuesday, is about a mind-blowing case of plutocratic corruption, full of noirish subplots that may never be fully understood. But it’s also about the slow strangulation of local and regional newspapers.”

The UK Creative Industries Report 2021

Creative England and the Creative Industries Federation have released a new report which will be updated annually: “the first report of its kind, exploring the power and potential of the UK’s creative industries to regenerate places, rebuild the economy, drive innovation and create jobs in all parts of the UK”

Reminder: Supporting the Channel 4 Anti-Privatisation Campaigns

After noting its desires to privatise the publicly-owned Channel 4, the government has launched a public consultation on the question that runs until September. Watch out for loaded questions…  I’ll be interviewing public broadcasting expert Tom Mills soon at Chompsky – if you want more info you can read his write up on the C4 privatisation issue then Have Your Say on Channel 4 Privatisation. Trade magazine Broadcast has also launched the Not 4 Sale campaign, which you can join.

This Week’s Media News

  • In The Guardian, two journalists (both named Duncan Campbell…) have revealed new laws proposed by the Home Office that would recast whistleblowing and certain journalistic reporting as spying, carrying draconian sentences: “the proposals would put leaking and whistleblowing in the same category as spying for foreign powers […] leakers and journalists could face the same extended jail sentences as foreign agents.” (The Guardian)
  • Human rights activists, journalists and lawyers around the world have had their phones hacked with military-grade spyware which was then sold to authoritarian governments by NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance firm. 50,000 phone numbers appeared on a list leaked to major news outlets and included the editor of FT, Arab royal family members, and numerous high-profile US journalists. (BBC)
  • Several US states are bolstering or considering expanding their film and TV production tax credits and incentive programmes, hoping shoots can “re-energize their economies” post-pandemic. (Wall Street Journal)
  • After he was suspended from GB News last week, when viewers complained about his decision to take the knee on-air, Guto Harri has quit the channel calling it “an absurd parody of what it proclaimed to be”. (BBC)
  • Four more journalists from the now-closed Hong Kong outlet Apple Daily have been arrested by authorities on national security charges. This follows the arrests of other colleagues over the last month, amid the region’s lengthy unrest. (South China Morning Post)
  • In a ‘Diversity Acceleration Report’, ITV has announced it is casting talent – both actors and presenters – from non-white backgrounds in more than a quarter of prominent roles in its shows this year. (Deadline)
  • Nigeria’s broadcasting regulator has told TV reporters to “tone down” their work on rising insecurity in the country and withhold details of incidents and victims. The instruction has been widely criticised by the country’s media and civil rights groups. (The Guardian)
  • “More than 100 tax inspectors” have raided the offices of a popular news outlet in India after their high-profile critical coverage of the government’s handling of the pandemic. (The Guardian)
  • US chat show The View has been forced to postpone an appearance by one of Bill O’Reilly’s sexual misconduct accusers after O’Reilly’s legal team obtained a temporary restraining order against the accuser, a former producer for The O’Reilly Factor. (Deadline)
  • A former journalist in California has been given a second prison sentence for deleting his former employer’s YouTube channel after he “abruptly” quit. He was originally jailed for two years in 2015 for hacking the LA Times’ website, and after working at a local news station he had accessed the email addresses of viewers and sent them emails disparaging the company. (Sacramento Bee)
  • YouTube will be pilot testing a new feature that will allow viewers to shop for products directly from livestream videos. (TechCrunch)
  • Clubhouse, the social audio platform, is no longer invite-only and will begin adding the 10m+ waiting list to its user base. (The Verge)