MRC Weekly Digest – 2nd July 2021

By Media Reform Coalition / Friday July 2, 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!

The BBC and Beyond campaign 

This week we held two more of our Town Hall events. On Monday we had Scottish media, for everyone?, jointly organised with Pass the Mic. It was a brilliant conversation exploring how Scottish media currently fails to represent and serve the interests of all the people of Scotland, and how public media need to be underpinned by feminist principles of care and accountability. Over 1500 people tuned in live – if you missed it, the video is up on our YouTube channel Then on Thursday we held a Zoom seminar with the Institute for Welsh Affairs on Reimagining Public service media in Wales. This was another really constructive conversation, particularly exploring the IWA’s proposals for a new contestable journalism fund in Wales, and some of the key issues that would need to be taken into account in its design. The recording will be available on the MRC YouTube soon.   The final event in the Town Hall series will be on Can public media be antiracist? on Wednesday, July 14th at 6pm. We’ve got a fantastic lineup of speakers, so do tune into that in a couple of weeks on our MRC channels. Remember, you can contribute to our Manifesto for a People’s Media on the BBC and Beyond website here: 

An Open Letter to Priti Patel: #Leveson2Now

After the Daniel Morgan murder report was released, showing clear collaboration between the police and the Murdoch and Mirror Group press in interfering with the murder investigation, Hacked Off and other campaigners, including Daniel’s brother Alastair, are calling ever more loudly for the reinstatement of ‘Leveson 2’. The second part of the Leveson Inquiry into the culture and practices of the press was cancelled by then-culture secretary Matt Hancock in 2018. Sign the Open Letter to Demand #Leveson2Now

This Week’s Media News

  • Channel 4 News and Unearthed, Greenpeace’s investigative journalism arm, have revealed undercover filming that shows a senior ExxonMobil lobbyist revealing the intricacies of how the company fights US climate legislation. Among numerous explosive quotes: “Did we aggressively fight against some of the science?  Yes. Did we hide our science? Absolutely not. Did we join some of these shadow groups to work against some of the early efforts? Yes, that’s true. […] We were looking out for our investments. We were looking out for our shareholders.” (Channel 4 News)
  • A US judge has thrown out an antitrust lawsuit brought against Facebook by the Federal Trade Commission and more than 40 states, saying prosecutors had failed to provide enough evidence that Facebook holds a 60% monopoly over the social networking market. It’s a blow for the current global effort to rein in Big Tech power. (The Independent)
  • Human rights abuses in Hong Kong continue: police have arrested a former senior Apple Daily journalist at the airport while he was attempting to leave the city. Fung Wai-kong is the 7th member of staff from the now-closed paper to be arrested, accused of “foreign collusion”. (The Guardian)
  • Following Britney Spears’ testimony, detailing specific abuses and pleading for her conservatorship to end, a judge has denied her request and refused to remove her father from the conservatorship. Her father has called for an inquiry into her abuse claims, and Bessemer, the management company who had been poised to work with him has pulled out stating they “respect her wishes”. (BBC/Variety)
  • Steven Spielberg’s production company Amblin has signed a multi-feature film partnership with Netflix. The director had previously expressed cynicism about the company. (Netflix)
  • UK news publisher Reach has hired an “online safety editor”, an industry-first, to tackle the ‘endemic’ abuse faced by journalists. (Press Gazette)
  • Though it’s faced criticism for failing to ban a number of right-wing extremist channels, YouTube banned media watchdog channel Right Wing Watch this week, before reinstating the channel after complaints. RWW’s director said they “hope the platform will become more transparent about the process it uses to determine whether a user has violated its rules, which has always been opaque and has led to frustrating and inexplicable decisions”. (The Daily Beast)
  • Bill Cosby has been released from prison after his defense team appealed on a technicality. (NYT)
  • Allison Mack has been sentenced to three years in prison for her role in recruiting and abusing women in the NXIVM sex cult. (TV Line)
  • Google is testing a new feature that notifies people when they search for a breaking or evolving topic that may turn up “unreliable” results. (Vox)
  • A report by creative agency GroupM has illustrated a seismic shift in online advertising over the last decade: “Google, Facebook, Alibaba, TikTok owner Bytedance and Amazon generated ad sales of $296bn last year – making up 46% of the market. By contrast, in 2010, the top five companies – Google, Viacom/CBS, News Corp/Fox News, Comcast and Disney – accounted for 17% of the market with $70bn in revenues combined.” Press Gazette is calling the current top five a ‘quintopoly’. (Press Gazette)