In days, the extent of Rupert Murdoch’s disproportionate power over the Prime Minister will be fully exposed when two of his top operators stand trial. This may be the tipping point for finally putting rules in place that reel in media barons’ influence, and right now we have a rare chance to weigh in.
After the Milly Dowler hacking scandal, the Prime Minister promised to clean up the media. But editors and owners are pushing him to back off. Now the government is asking us what we think, and we have a chance to curb the “excessive influence” wielded by media barons. Rupert Murdoch is hoping that nobody much notices this official consultation, and it results in no change. But if enough of us weigh in we can put ministers on notice that they’re a nswerable to us, not to the media mafia.
For too long tabloid tyrants have spread cynicism and fear across this country. The official consultation only has days left to run. Last time we flooded a government consultation on the media, we panicked the Minister and delayed Murdoch’s BSkyB deal. Let’s flood the consultation with calls to reclaim our democracy. Click to write in, then spread the word:
The gutter press sunk into the sewer when details emerged of how NewsCorp had bribed police, hacked school girls’ phones and threatened politicians. The Daily Mail’s anti-Miliband campaign this month shows that the culture of abuse and bullying is endemic. But the smearing and intimidation of public figures is just one piece of this, even more seri ous is the power these companies wield over our politics. Tougher penalties on bad behaviour won’t change their incentives, only by capping media ownership can we cut out this cancer.
The aim of limiting media ownership is to prevent any company or individual from having too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda. Many analysts suggest that a 20% cap on ownership would be the right policy that would limit media moguls. Other countries including the US, France and Germany already have these kinds of rules.
The media is kicking up a fuss saying regulations are an attack on freedom of speech. But while none of us want a gagged media, this week a poll shows that more than 70% of UK citizens support limits on the overall proportion of the media a single person or company can own. Let’s make sure the official consultation hears this public clamour. Send an email to the consultation now, then spre ad the word:
Time and again the Avaaz community has rallied across Britain to make sure our media provide us with information and analysis that serves the public good, and is not used as an ideological tool or to smear a public figure. We have shown up over and over to stop the Murdoch takeover and to demand stronger media rules. Now is our chance to get concrete laws into place that cull the poisonous press and put an end to the culture of irresponsible and damaging journalism.
Alice, Sam, Alex, Ricken, Meredith, Anne, Luca, Wen and the rest of the Avaaz team
Royal charter press plan has strong public support, poll suggests (The Guardian)
Mail on Sunday apology for reporter attending Miliband family memorial event (BBC News)
Daily Mail overflowing with bile about Britain, Nick Clegg says (The Guardian)
Miliband warns the Mail that it can’t rely on “rogue reporter” defence (New Statesman)
Cameron and Clegg back Miliband over Daily Mail ‘smear’ (Channel 4 News)