We need a Campaign for a Free Press….
Both of the main Party leaders fell short today in their speeches on press reform. Ed Miliband did at least admit Labour’s culpability in fawning too much before the imperial throne of Rupert Murdoch. For that, I applaud him. However, his actual proposals to deal with this situation were tame; in fact, they are so tame that Cameron pretty much went ahead and enacted them anyway. I don’t see how replacing the Press Complaints Commission with a body whose main power seems to be the ability to “enforce corrections” changes anything – and it certainly would have done nothing to prevent the News of the World and Rebekah Brooks doing what they did. Public inquiry’s are necessary but so are some actual solutions and both Ed Miliband and David Cameron have failed there; ironically and rather sadly, they are both out-gunned by the foppish Hugh Grant in the leadership stakes on this issue.
So, what is needed? Well we certainly need a campaign for a free press to follow on from the excellent social networking that sprung out of Twitter and Facebook outrage at News International. It needs to directly confront the media moguls spin that they represent the free press – they do not, they represent the British press bound in chains to vested interests. Obviously, this campaign should target monopolies like News International and seek their dissolution. It should also act as an truly independent – of politics as well as any other interest other of that of readers, writers and consumers of all media – watchdog of ethical standards in journalism and reporting.
It should also promote, and support the flourishing of democratic media, social media, social enterprises and lobby on their behalf. It should lobby for the community ownership of local media and other reforms that help a truly free press flourish. Politicians of all stripes have failed to rise to the occasion, so, the people must and take control of the battle to free our media from the tyranny of the likes of Rupert Murdoch and to enable the media free from the dead hand of monopoly domination and inept government regulation (or lack of).