I’ve really been trying to stick to the plan of focussing on my longer projects. Really. And I’m doing okay. Good even. But media ownership and press freedom are two issues guaranteed to get me saddling up my hobby horse at the best of times. I’ve been railing against Murdoch and the tabloids for years, surely no one could expect me to hold my tongue NOW!
The past two weeks have been truly extraordinary. I have been supporting campaigns to end the BSkyB deal since the first announcement. As the months have passed I have been more and more resigned to the fact that Hunt is a Murdoch lackey and that we had little hope of success. Not only is that deal dead in the water, the campaign has claimed major scalps in the Murdoch empire and the Metropolitan police and the credibility of senior government ministers – including the Prime Minister – has been called into serious question. There’s even a faint possibility of action against Murdoch under US law. Each day brings more revelations, more surreal twists and turns than a David Lynch plot.
Wherever this all ends, one thing is for certain: we need new, better media regulations. The government has already sounded the death knell for the Press Complaints Commission (despite lauding them merely weeks ago): what will repalce it? What checks and balances will exist in future to prevent this happening again?
When the banks had to be rescued from collapse by the taxpayer, no action was taken stop them from going back to business as usual. Let’s not make that mistake with this issue. Today’s rant, Three ways to reform news media, is my opening contribution to the debate about what should be done to prevent a repeat of this sorry situation.
But before I go. In the midst of this crisis the heartless, corrupt, sneaky weasels in government are trying to sneak out a whole lot of bad news that most of the public would be against. While half of England were transfixed to the Murdoch & Murdoch double act at the Parliamentary Select Committee, the government announced they are opening up a whole lot of NHS services to private money. Including WHEELCHAIR SERVICES FOR CHILDREN, people.
The events of the last few weeks have shown that people power, backed by a few institutions with independence and integrity, can effect real change. Let’s not let this circus distract us from holding this government to account. Or bringing them down, if that’s what it takes. I’m sure their billionaire boyfriends will look after them.