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  • 7/28/2019 Submission by Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom1


    For D istribution to CPs


  • 7/28/2019 Submission by Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom1


    For D istribution to CP s

    The Campaign for Press and BroadcastingFreedom (CPBF) was established in 1979by people, mostly in the media unions, whowanted to resist the power of the corporatepress and campaign for the real independenceand accountability of the media.Since, in 1995, Tony Blair decided thatthe support of Rupert Murdoch was crucial\ rto electoral success and Labou abandonedlong-standing policies on media ownership, wehave been almost a lone voice challenging theorthodoxies of deregulation and liberalisationof media ownership.

    Now suddenly politicians are rediscoveringold truths and the CPBF is publishing thispamphlet to inform a,**d encourage: more peopleto join the battle for a dcmocr~ti.c media.systemthat serves the whole c,f societyl, not just theowners whose grip on our media has been solavishly exposed in recent months.

    3he CPBF welcomes invitations to speakat meetings and debates, and to provideinformation on all media matters.

    Go to or look us up ~on Facebook. You can join the Campaigntoo - details are at the back of the pamphletor online.E A Chance for Change


  • 7/28/2019 Submission by Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom1


    For D istribution to CP s

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    Introduction ................................. . . . . . . . . . .4Ttm media and democracy ....................6Ihe question of ownership .....................9Regulating the press ..............................3Help journalists to help socieV . ............7P o l it ic i a n s a n d t h e press ...................... .... zo

    A C h a s t e f i :~ r ( i ~ a E ! g e : :3


  • 7/28/2019 Submission by Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom1


    For D istribution to CP s

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    A chance forFor years questions about who ownsand controls the med~a~ about theethical behaviour of)ournalists andabout fl~e social responsibility of themedia organisations have beet~ confinedto people active in the field.

    Two weeks in July zon d~anged allthat. ~~en journa]ists at the Guardianrevealed that people working for theNew s of theWorld had hacked into themobile phone of a murdered teenager,there was a public outcry.

    There fbllowed the dosure ofBritain~ b est-selling newspaper~ thed.eparture of two of the most seniorpolice officers in the country; alongwith top News C orp executives, theabandonment of News Corporationsbid to take over B ritains largest satellitebroadcaster, BSkyBj and the sevtingup of a m ajor public inquiry into theethics and regulation of the press, theLeveson Inquiry:It was a political crisis that hasrocked the rnedia~ police and politicalestablishments.

    This is hugely signfficant not simplyfor the media but for B ritish democracyitsdfi M illions of people have had ashocking iasight into how pow er worksat the top of our sodet3a.4 A C hance fo, Change

    They are outraged by a newsroomculture that wivileges profits overethics~ by the complicity between policeand the press~ and by the dozens ofmeetings between David Cameron andsenior News Corp figures. Everyone cansee that som.ething is wrong at the heartof British society.

    B ut i.t has also presented anopportunity to open up the media to awider range of voices and p erspectivesand to break the grip that media m ogulshave hdd for so long over our publicinformation arm discussion.

    A lot will depend on how energeti-cally campaigners for media reo maseize this opportunity and press forstructural reforrns

    ~X Pnether it leads to the downfalIof people at the top ofgovemment~ asWatergate did in the US in the 197os~ orthe prospect of wider political reformj isfar from certain.But:~ either waN the corporate mediaare facing their most serious challengeto date


  • 7/28/2019 Submission by Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom1


    For D istribution to CP s

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  • 7/28/2019 Submission by Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom1


    For D istribution to CP s

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    The m edia and dem ocracyqtlere has just been an amazing ev etltin Britain. Ehe m ost powerful mediacon-paW was stopped in its tracks, n.otby gov ernment but by pop ular protest -people power.

    T~fis showed itself soon after it wasamlounced that the U S-based New sC orporatio:a was bidding to buy upthe majority share ha BSkyB, Europesbiggest broadcaster. Tens of thousandsof people tookpart in an online prot:est:to the media regular:or Ofcom agaipstthe move which w ould have givenRupert Murdochs global media groupan eJ:en more do minant position in theUK media.

    Ofcom duly advised the government:to refer the BSk yB b id to theC ompetition C ommission for a fullinvestigation, but C ulture SecretaryJeremy H tmt swept it aside, instead hespent months in an unseen@ processof secret negotiations with N ewsC orporation stitching up a cynical dealwhich would aliow the takeover toproceed.8 A Cha:.~ce liar Change

    In the a~ermath of the crisis it wasrevealed that a H sorts of other f o r m a lana itliormm conb.cts with NewsC orporation were go ing on during thistime. The fig-ares are staggering. D. the :iSmonths after D:-~zdd Cameron asstmaedoffice he met w ith Murdoch or hisexecutives ~.6 times.

    .adtogether ministers had forms1meetings wit:h News C orporationexecutives on more than 60 occasions.A dding in social events such asreceptiot~s at pat}, conferences; at leastio7 meetings were held .--. ap averageof one every four days. R is a graphicillustration of the level of power aedinfluence wielded by New s C orporationover die B ritish government.Parallel w i d i all this, the phonegacking scandal at The News of theVorld was pursued tenaciously byGuardian reporter Nick Dades, Hisstories were ignored, even derided; by{ h e rest of-the media. "Ihe MetropolitanPo lice failed t:o itwestigate the evidencei,~ at~y serious way.


  • 7/28/2019 Submission by Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom1


    For D istribution to CP s





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    P oliticians, too., with the ex ception o [the persistently critical voices of LabourMPs Tom Watson at~d Chris Bryaat~were supine, f~ arfifl of unleashingthe art ack jo urnalism in which New sCorporation speciatises.POL ICE A NDP!JLITI~& N S :~bBp ! lT"l-he ph one-hacking scan dal revealedthe dark side of Rupert Murdochsmedia powe% and h o w i t : p e o e { : r a t e diato politics, the M etropolitan P oliceand virtually every nook: and cranny ofpublic life..

    "ihe d-illing effect: of a n-ediacompany w hich politicians :,egardas too large and pmv erf;al to upsetwas v:ividly demonst:rated by theHouse of Comrnons Culture~ Mediaand Sport Select C ommittee. Thecommittee meekly deferred 1:o Reb eka.hBrook s, then chief executive of Newsinternational~ w.hen sbe refused a formalrequest {:o appear before it in 2oo9.

    MP s co~essed (hey ddiberate]ypulled their punches in the investiga-tion out of fear that their personal 1Neswould be put under surveillance byNews h~ ternationa! papera.

    3q~ e committee did sum.moathe courage to state that her refuaalreinforced khe widely held im pressionthat the press gener:t]ly regardthemselves as unaccountable"

    This is tl-e question: is the press~ andnot just New s International, above thelaw~ beyond regulation and accotmtabtet o oo.-one bui: il:sdf.~ A nd ifso~ sl-ou[dthis be the case, and what can be doneabout it?

    A ny attempts to link the BS kyBbid w ith fi,.e phoae hacking scandal~or whether News C orporation wasa "fit anti proper" owner of BSk yB,were co asiate.~-t]y dismissed by I--Iuntand Camerot~. Bykme z ou Hunt hadconcocted a flimsy deal. which involvedSky N ews being hived offimo a~l"mdependeni:" compan>

    -/v a U! T C , -, ~ J I c T E l T H f - C A U N C H]sublic opposition moved i:o a pew levelaad hundreds of thousands of peopleregistered their opposition throughoaline sites 38 degrees and A.vaaz.

    Suddenly~ in.]ul}5 what seerned tobe an]nerable media empire wasexposed for wh at it was and forced intohumiliating retreat. Nick D avies% teamreported that Glena Mulcaire, a privateinvestigator worldng for the News ofthe V orld, had Iistened to and detet:edmessages on the phone of the missingschoolgirl, Milty D owler.

    The resul[i,.".g ou[rage triggered anemergency Parliamentary debate on 6Ju]}5 the esl:ablishment of the Levesoninqniry and the end of the BS kyB hid.Nae News of the ~V orkt was publishedfor the last time on m July zm~.

    A Chance {br Change 7


  • 7/28/2019 Submission by Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom1


    For D istribution to CP s

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    Ihe departure of News k~ternationalchief executive Rob ekah B rooks an dthe resignation ofLes Hinton~ onwhose watch as News Internationalchief executive phone hacking was rife,fbllowe& ~fhe revelation ofclose hr,.kswith News International led to t:heresignations of the M etropolitan P oliceC ommissioner, Sir P aal Stepheason~and t~e A ssistant Commissioner~ Jolm~ates~ and oa ~9 J Oy an apparentJyhumbled Rupert Murdoch w as hauledbefore the committee, with son Jamesand Rebekah Brooks.

    Or~ ~ .7 A ugust: the MPs publisheddamning documents which pointed toyet further dishonesty- and evasion onthe part of Rupert and James Murdoch,News Lqternational exect~ti~,es a~dformer News of the ~rorld editorA ndy Co~dson.A C H A N C E I - - - O R C H A N G EThese dramat:ic events higt~light theulCer failure of press regulation, asevidenced by the ab ysmal performanceoftJae now totally- discredited PressComplaints Commission, but {:hey alsoraise a wid er q~.~estion" how was R upertM urdoch, who started to build his U Kmedia em pire with the acquisition ofThe News of the World in ~96 9~ able toachieve not simply such a vast amountof media power, but such sway overpolitidans ?8 A Chance for Change

    .As he acquired more :newspapershe used them to promote his viev, vs:pro-pris, atis.~tion and deregulation,ant:i-EU , anti-trade unions, anti--the BB C- in fact anti anybody and anythingthat might: stand ill the way of hiscommercial interests.

    Politicians have stood in awe ofsuch concentrated press power; inMrs ihatcher he had, ofcot~rse; anatural all~5 lint under ibny B lairLabour deliberaely tailored its mediapolicies to sail: .Murdod~ in return forthe support of his papers both at andbetween elections,

    So w e have a pattern of mediaownership that ~b stered a belief t:hatNews International was invincible,that its newspapers were imm~me fromethical restraints, and that those whosought to cr!ticise or highlight its misde-meanours would themsdves be harassedand att:ad~ed. Nor is an attitudeconfined to the Murdod~ press.

    If democracy is to survive; thissituation needs urgent remedy: Thescale of this crisis --- some have cMIedit Britains ~A ratergate - dots open upan opportunity to promote mov estowards a democratic, responsible andaccountable press.


  • 7/28/2019 Submission by Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom1


    For D istribution to CP s

    !i!!!iiiiiiiiiii!i!iiiiiiiii!i!i!i!iiiii!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!iiii!ii!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!!!i!i!!!!T h e m e d i a b a r o < h d d t o a c c o u t e rquestion of." ow nersh ip

    Minist:ers and regulators like to makewdl-intentioned statements about theneed for a wide range of news providersand the prevention of excessive mediaco ncentration.

    The problem., as so offen~ is that theydoet: always prac{:ise what they like topreach. Over the last zo years a wave ofderegulatory legislation has swept overthe media, and at{:empl:s to Iimit mediapower ha~e been dismissed.

    Instead the imperatives have been onopening up media ma rkets, promotinglight touch regulation an d stirmflafinggrowtE and competition Public int:erest:concerns have largely been ignored.

    ihis is best demonstrated by the fateof ITV, which was brought to i~_s kmeesby the disastrous 199o BroadcastingA ct. "ihe A ct introduced the auction ofthe 15 regional franchises to the highestbidders and replaced the traditionalpublic service regulat:ory systemwith the "light touch" IndependentTelevision Com ~rdssion (ITC).

    ~l-hen the zoo3 C ommvmicationsAct: cleared the way for a single ITVcompany, a decision driven not bypub]k: interest concerns bat by therelentless lobbying of G ranadas G erryRobinson and C arh:ons Michael Greenwith his PR chief~ one David C ameron.

    A s a result~ the regional companiesmerged, local news and programmingwas cut back, the m oney paid to ITNto provide r:.ational and internationalnews sharply reduced, and popular andacclaimed ct3rrent att~.:irs pmgrammessuch as World in A ction and 32>A s Weeksimply disappeared

    Local newspapers have gone nmcht:he same way: Mergers and takeoversconcentrated o wnership largdy intothe hands of fou: big groups- "l-kinityMirror, Johnston Press, Newsquest(A merican-.owned) and N orthdiffe(owned by the D aily Mail group).

    iheir response to the recession, thecollapse of advertising and the growthof the internet was to cut costs, shedstaff and drastically reduce the quality

    A C hance fi~r Change 9


  • 7/28/2019 Submission by Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom1


    For D istribution to CP s

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    of the papers, in maW areas newsoperations are centralised miles awayfrom the commut~it:ies about which thejournalists are reporting.

    "l-he government response to thiserosion of local and regiona] news hasbeen to rela~ t:he mies on ow:-ership a~dset up commercial loca] TV services~ withm-zo du e to be ~p and running by zoos.X hey are taking 4 0 million from thelicence fee - money supposed to be fb rth.e BBC --- h~r ir~.itial ftmding) but this andthe Liwateo. ao.vert~smg they will attractfor 90 m inutes a day on air will neversustain bwestment in high quail)- news.T H E R I S V r - ,,._,.,F M U R D O C H7he most g~aring failure i~ mediapolicy has to be the resistible rise of theMurdoch empire; and what would havehappened if News C orporation hadtaken total control of BSky-B. It was acritical m oment.

    News Corporation would gaveacquired the leverage to distort,damage or destroy other media. ~l-hemerged organisatio:-would h;we b eep amuki-m edia emporium able to bundieand cross--promote ks products.

    ~e takeover w as stopped -- for thetime being at least - not by regulation~uq~ich ~t should have been, but by thepublic outcry at the New s of the W orldphone-.hacking scandal Xhe ;~.ff;~:irshowed all too clearly how flimsy thelaw to protect media diversity re,l]y was.

    X here is actually a "public interest"test, which was inserted into the zoo3A .ct after a rearguard action by w orriedmembers in the House of Lords ina bid to i~ject some democratic andcultural considerations into the pu relyeconomic, competition-based process inthe Bill I{: w as still :not enough.

    "l-he fins] decision.-m akit~g powerremained with the S ecretary of State.C ulture SecretaryJ eremy Hunbwho w as publicly sympathetic tothe takeover~ was ab ]e to exploit the]imitations in the test to eliminate thereq-airement for "fit and proper" incompetition lawi and sweep aside a hosto f other concerns about the power andbehavionr of Murdoch~ m edia empire.DO E S N T T H E iNT E R N E T"-I r\cHA~ , It~E EVE RYTHING?Some people argu.e fl~at such thingsdont mat~,:er in t!-e age of the internetoB ut while there is indeed a great deal ofdiversity of in fo rmation o~line; peoplegenerally look for news at the websitesof traditional news m...ets~ or to searchengines tlaat "aggregate" their materialfrom traditional news organisations.

    1his must mean that the need foroversight of media ow~ership andregulation has to be m aintained, in fact,regulation needs to be updated to tacldepowerfill new comm unication technolo-gies and t).e impact of Google andsocial media.

    10 A C h a n c e : { b r C ; h a n g e


  • 7/28/2019 Submission by Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom1


    For D istribution to CP s


    THE PUBL IC INTERES TXhe crisis in the Murdoch media hashad tim positive effect of bringing mediapolicy into the po litical mainstream."1he L eveson inquiry will be looking athow to regulate net the just the pressbu t the wl-ole range of ~he media. Andthe government is planning a newComm,mications Act for zm 3.

    2hese are opportunities to take intoaccount the concerns that have comeup about m edia concentration. But thegovernm ent is still going in the oppositedirection.

    in MayJeremy H unt launched areview in preparation for the new Act.He pub lished a policy statement thatwas all abom dere~flatim~ and treatedcompetition as purely an economicissue. T he terms "p ublic interest" and"pluralism" each got just one passh~gmention.

    B ut these are precisely what needgreater protection. ihe public interesttest should be applied wheneverproposed media mergers or marketconcentration reaches desig~aatedthreshold s~ su ch as zo per cent of therelevant market.

    A lternatively3 takeovers and mergersmight: be allowed to go ahe;~d withstrict conditions. Firms could b erequired to proted: editorial standardsand independence, the level of staffemployed and so on.

    Finall~ there has got to be moretransparency and genuine co,~saItatJonin derision--making. The BS kyB buyouta{tracted an enormous public response,with lSo, ooo people sending protestmessages ot~line to Ofcom aadJeremyHunt. "l-here has never been such a levelof interest in a media m atter, yet thegovernment took no notice.

    It was only the prospect of a defeatin Pmliament, where a handfu] of MP shad the guts {:o stand up to the partTleaderships~ that brought the process toa halt. That shot:Id not have t:o happenevery time. ~fhere has to be pub licinvolvement and oversight flaroughout.W t - i A T S I - - I O U L D B E D O N E ?.::- Th ere need to be clea ~ limits on theshare of media markets that companiescan be allowed to bold. Newspapero,~mers w ith a national market share ofzo per cent or m ore should be limitedto a zo per cent stake in a channel 3 orchannel 5 iicence, or a national or localradio licem:e.::~,. This m.ust also apply at BSkyB . wherezo years ago the gov ernment allowedNews Corporation to control 39 per cent.That must be reduced to z o per cent.::i: ~fhe power to invoke th e publicinterest test should be assigned toOfcom rather than the Secretary ofState, to get round the conflict ofinterest that was so b latant in theBS kyB case Ministers are a]ways liable

    A Chance for Change 1 1


  • 7/28/2019 Submission by Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom1


    For D istribution to CP s




    {:o be cow ed by their perceived needto keep in with big media companies.Ihey m~st no~: be allowed to make M efinal decision.::i> }toldings above zo per cent may beapproved sub jec{: to rules on structureapd behaviour~ subject to oversight andenforced by law; The absolute maximumpern~{{*ed holding in aW paxtic~larmarket should be 3o per cent.

    There are six m arkets: naional andregional news in radio, television ;rodEmwspapers.:::i:, The governmen{ : should support localmedia by investing in ventures whichhave to adhere to pub lic interest criteria.

    1 ~ A Chance for C hange


  • 7/28/2019 Submission by Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom1


    For D istribution to CP s

    i!!i!!!!!iiiii!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiF r e e fr o m th e o w n e n s t h e s m eR egulating the press

    7he press does valuable w o r k wh.en itinvestigates corruption and malpractice,on the part ofpolitidans orbig business,How else would we have known aboutthe scandals of MPs expenses or theextent of phone hack ing without thework ofjournaiists and the w illingnessof certain newspapers to publish theirim~estiga~:ions,."

    But wh at happens when it aH goeswrong?

    What: h.appetls when the story yonread in the paper, or on a website; aboutyour community} your family or yourcampaign is inaccurate or unfair?

    VTnat can be done w hen the privacyof crime victims is breached, or privategrief turned into banner headlines ---headlines driven by the need to boostthe dividends of the shareholders whoown the papers ?

    If youre lud~y~ a newspaper mightprint a correction or offer you thechance to write a letter. If you are rich,you might sue :for libel or b reach ofpri:vacy.

    Ihe only other way at present is touse the Press Complaints Commission,a body paid for and run t~y newspaperowners. This is what the industry callsself-regulation and claims is better thanawthing else on offer.

    7hat is not true.THE FAILURE 01: :%L.F- IREGUL.AT ION"Ihe press has had 6o years to make self-regulation work .

    in 1949 a Royal Commissionrecommended the creation of a bodyto oversee press standards. The owners~unwilling to allow any ov ersight of theirpapers, tried to stop it coming intobeing. It took a threat of parliamentaryaction to get a General Council of thePress established four years later.

    Over the next 30 years this body-- later (:;tiled the Press C ouncil -wasregularly criticised b y politicians madthe public for its m anifest failures.New spapers could sti]i lie and distortwith relative impuniD; since most

    A C hance for Change 1


  • 7/28/2019 Submission by Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom1


    For D istribution to CP s

    people could not a:{~b rd to sl~e andthe Com~cil had no way of enforcingacceptable standards ofreportingoEditors openly scoffed at P ress Councildecisions that came out against theirpapers."lhe situation deterk)rated eveufurther in the 198os. Story after storybased on inaccuracies and intn~sionsinto privacy caused pub!ic outrage.There was a series of Private MembersB ills to grant the right of reply to ~evictims but N1 came to nothing

    !n 1989 ~ t~e government set up aninquiry) the Calcutt Cm~missiotb whichrecommended a s{a{e-run tribunal withthe power to fine newspapers and evenstop stories appearit~g.

    ihis was too much for thenewspaper ow ners atld at the lastrnitmte they did the Ieast they coOdget away with~ disso!ving the PressC ouncil and setting up a new b ody,which they called the Press Compla{m:sCommission (PC C ),

    "J/he PC C is even worse It tl-rew outthe Press C ouncils union reps and itsremit to protect press tieedom, But~ iikethe Press Council~ it was still fundedby the very newspapers which it wassupposed to regu]ate,

    ihe PC C is not in fact a regulatorat all. tt is simt~ly a b ody that considersa very limited range of complaintsabout newspapers from members of the14 A Chance ibr C hange

    public; it is in fact a dismal substitute forregulation.

    ks repeated failure to enforce its ownCode of Practice across the industry,the defection of key newspapers fiomit:s ranks, aud the contempt w ith wh.ichNew s International was able to treat itduring its lamentable "investigatiodinto phoae-hacking have combinedcompletely to undermine what htt[eauthoritLv it ever possessed.

    So w hat kind of regulation would beb e t ~ . : e r ?r TEl~ -- ~ --~,,B ~ T .....RE( :bLA1101qA n effective regulator has to be repre-

    sentative of both the journalisticwork .force and the public. Editors couldtake part but the principle that the bodyshould be free from proprietorial inter-ference has to be central.

    ~l-here would be a code of conductsetting out t:he principles ofresponsibIeprofessional practice, it is easy to drawup codes and the PC C and NU J alreadyhave {:hem, The question is not so muchwhat the code says as how it is mfforced.

    Pub lications tl-at signed up to itwould carry a "ki te mark" showing that:they adb.ered t:o the code. ihis could bewifladrawn if a publicaion persistentlyflouted it.

    Ihere nmst be power to enibrce a full~pron~ent right of reply to those maligaedby {Se n-edia, and sanctions against thosewho tlout the regulators r:~lings.


  • 7/28/2019 Submission by Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom1


    For D istribution to CP s

    If a reDflatory system funded andcontrdled by t:he owners :is ruled out,that leaves the question,s: who pa?,% a~dwhose authority backs up the decisions ?The onb/ alternative is fi~e state.NO ROL E FOR T-HE S l !" ,l -E?Nobody i:- ~:he indust:ry wam:s the stateto have aW power over the media. IhatwoM d mean effectively the l~ceasingof the press, eaabling government toexercise some politics! control.

    "l-he media are, of course, alreadysubject to all sorts oflawso Some ofthese, like the laws of libel and ot~ ]cia[secrec> hinder the press in carrying outits proper p ubIic fat~ctiot~s, and thesemast certainly need to be re~% rmed.O 0 :~ers; sud~ as those tl~a{: prevent trialby m edia, work positively in the publicinterest.

    Ihe real question is: whatregu]ation s would o r w ou] d n o t l, ereq,~.ired for the media to be able toperfi~rm t:heir proper democraticfm*ctions, independently of interferenceby ~he state?

    With the right restrictions, the statecan :fu]iil the two crucial functions:to supply the funding, and ~o give theregu]ators independent decisions theforce of law~R A I S E T H E c r , , , i \ 1 ~ % / ,, ~ r - ,c.) IPd ~"...F~; dJ..)One of the backbench bilis that cameto nothing towards the end of the last

    century was the Press Freedom andResponsibility Bill put: forward by C liveSoley MP in 199 z..A n updated version ofits proposals is what is needed now.

    It proposed ;~ sta~m..:ory body tha~:would operate to a code of conduct inconj unction with the indu str y.

    1he law would give indMduals astatutory right to the correction offactual inaccuracies, Corrections wouldhave to .....e negotmted w~th m& wdv, alnew spapers~ but if this process gotnowhere the com plainant could appealto the regulator, wMch would investigatethe case, and if necessary order thenewspaper or website to publish acorrection,

    Failure to do so would result itl t:heimposition of finandal sanctions, Ihenewspapers could appeal the line in diecourts.

    The regu]ator would undertake wide-ranging research i--to press standardsand beh avioar, as w eti as investigatethe workings of laws which preventthe press from carrying out its properdemocratic functions, with th.e aim ofchanging or even abdishing then,.,

    The membersldp of the newstatutory body w ouldbe appointed byan open process of dem ocrat:it consul-ration, but would be do minated byjourna]isl:s; represematives ofrdevantvomnt.ry bo& es, and mem~ ors o*t:he D:b]ic.

    A Chance fi~r C hange 1 5


  • 7/28/2019 Submission by Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom1


    For D istribution to CP s

    ][he regnlat:or would not licensejourna]i sta or publications. I~: would haveno power to stop the pub ]ication of storiesthat indMduals or institutions believedwere being prepared about ~:hem.

    its concern would be to m aintainhigh standards o fjournalisrrb inaccordance with the code of practice,not with who is producing thejo~rnalism. It would m ost certainly havet~o pow er to stipulale in advance whatcan be pt~blished.

    ~rhe press is co nstantly calling :for ~:heeffective regulation ofpublic aE ~d privatebodies~ and drawit~g attention to thecosy relations between the regulatorsand the regulated in rmmerous areas ofpolitical and economic life. R needs torecognise that the standards it insistsshould be app lied to others[y be applied to itself.

    :: x

    16 A Chance fk)r Change


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    ::::::::::::::::::::::_::::::__::::__:: ....................................................

    The public inte res t: we can trustH dp journalists to help society

    A ccording to an opinion poll for ITVNews at Ten, 80 per cent of people nolonger trust the media in the w ake ofthe News of the World phone-hac!dngscandal; onIy one in ten of 2,ooo peoplepolled said that they did.

    Journalists have become accustomedto public disdain - other polls haveranked them b elow politicians andestate agents in public estee:m - but theNews of the World has dragged themd o w q ~ t :o ; 1 ~ . e w l o w .

    R has beco me a clichd t:o s;W t h a t : t h a tthe Murdoch press has ~poisoned thewelI of B rit:isb journalism": Google thephrase and you get :24 million links !

    Ihe repulsive practices of theMurdoch. press are n o w brutallyexposed - and some are even worse such as "entrapment"(setting people u p to com ntit crimesand shopping them to the police) andthe l~:ribing of police and o fficers ofother public agencies to provide privateinformation about people from theircomputers.

    Its not just the Murdoch papers;most of the popular press em ploy thesame means to get: their st:ories ---as theworld will find out as evidence comes tolight from the investigations conductedby the Information C ommissionm;C arried out four years ago, tltese showthat hundreds of journalists on nearlyall the national papers were involved inphone-hacking.THE R EA [ . PUBL IC INTE RESTTheres never been such a devastatingexposure of corruption between B ritishgovernmenb media and police as we sawthis summer, with N ews Internationaljournalists at the heart of it. But there~an.other side to the story: it is jou:rnalistswho ha~,e done the.~ exposing.

    ~e G uardians single-minded inves-.t:igation into the New s of the World; theDaily ~Dlegraphs relentless uncoveringof MP s expenses, the London EveningStandards campaign on adult literacy... these a~e just a few examples o:[

    A Chance for Ch~mge 1 7


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    i i i l i journalists adm irably discharging theh" This is not w hat journalists ought toi i i i i duty to keep the pub lic informed, be or want to be doing. So why do they?i i i i i Ow ners a:.-d editors of the press like A number of No3X? journalists~i~i to tkink that journalism in the pub lic have explained tha~: such things were~i~ii: interest is journalism that interests the considered normal practice. One~.i~ public: sensation~ism and gossip, anonymous % ed-top insider" [not oniii! -[hey cant: see the difference, but the News of the W orld) told the tradeiii{ there is or~.e. Even the discredited Press paper, the Press Gaz ette: Lots ofiiil C omplaints Comm issions C ode of jour:tmlists were doing it [mobile phone~iii Practice has a p erfect:ly good definition hacking], it was quite aorta!! practice.ii!ii ofthe real public interest it covers: ~i~ came abou! : because of the[iii > D etect:lug or exposiag crime or massive pressure to get a story, Wheai!ii serious impropriety, you have yore" editor sbouthag at you:~:~ ::~., Protecting public heald~ and safety: to get a storyyou lose your morality: If

    ::. Preve,~ting t:he public from beingmisled by an action or stat:emeat of anindividual or organisation.

    Nothing wrong wi!:h [ h a t ; a n dprobably most journalism cor~forms t oit. q2he prob lem is that a lot: of intrusiveand obiectionable media coveragedoes not.

    Even the use of surreptitious meansis justified to get essentiaI information.2-he Guardiaa~ investigations editorhas admitted he used material fromphonetaps in the papers expose ofbribery and c orruption on the part ofBAe Systems.

    This was dearly in the publicinterest. On the tabloids, on the otherh~nd~ nnderhand methods are used notto tmcover vitaI fad:s bat to dredge fortittle-.tattle to feed the papers hunger forcelebrity gossip.

    you ~ leed to get a story aad everyoneelse is doing it, y o u think that% normal.Aad you dont really see the celebritiesas being reaI people. You see 0aern as aproduct, as a story"

    Its a~I dow n to the imperativeon popular papers t:o h;mg oa totheir shares of a declining mar]~et:~to drag each other down a spits" ofdeclining standards.

    ~fhe jouma]ists have little defenceif t:bey want to keep their jobs."l-heir unionj the Nat:ioaal Union ofJournalists; has been outlawed at: NewsIaternational for z4 years. In fact thepernicious influence that the M ~rdodapapers have had on British jom:aalismcan be dae{t back to the \,\rappingdispute z5 years ago~ when th.e companygot rid of not just: the print unions but,shortl.y aft:erwards, the NU J as w ell

    1 8 A Chae.ce for Change


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    It was gt:er Murdoch withdrew theN Jj s right to r~present memb ers thathis editors - brmal right-wingers likeKdvin MacK enzie and A ndrew Nell -tightened the grip on their staffg. INith~:be dem ise of the uniml~ journalists IEsttheir collective voice in the newsroom.A C T!r\ IF~ O N pP~r\l r- ip/g:Like everyone else, journalists a:.esensfl~le people who w ant to get on intheh" careers. Xt"tey ktmw the score intheir offices, and they know that thosewho don t toe the line are soon ou{: ofthe door

    Its not often that they chuck in theirjobs in protest at what {:bey are m~derpressure to do, but it has happenedmore ofi:e~ on Mnrdoc]~ papers thananywhere else. Even b efore Wapping,in !984 ; {:he Stm~ NU j chapel protestedstrongly after a series of editorialatrodties ~at included the faldng of aninterview with the widow of a F alklaad.sVCar hero.

    in 1989 two reporters quit theSunday Times (edited by Andrew N ell)over the way their copy was doctoredin the "Death on the Rock " story - theshooting by the SA S of unarmed IRAvolunteers it:L Gibraltar. "Ihe same year~on 2he Times~ the arts editor quit overbeing ordered to run a blurb for a Sk 7TV programme, and tn zoo, ~:he paper~middle east editor waJked out overpro-israeh bias ~% rced onto his copyc In

    zoo3 a Sun feature writer resigned overthe papers pro-kaq war bias.A VO ICE FOR THE W ORKE RSit is no coincidence that the mediawith the highest professional standards- the G uardian, Financial Times, theD.d epen dent and Tdegraph groups, theBB C and ITVNews-- are t:hnse with. thestrongest NU j representation.

    3anong the reforms needed to raisestandards ofjournaIism nm st be therestoration of the right of journahsts tonrganise in these workplaces; the DailyMail group - now the biggest in the U Ksince News Imema{:ion at Iost the Newsof the Wo rld - is another :.-on-unio:.astrou.ghotd.

    A Iong with the restora~:io~ of unionrights must be the introduction of the"conscience clause" tong sought by theNU jj to empowe:.: journalists to refi~seinstructions to work u netNcally withoutputting their jobs at risk.

    "fhe clause is ah:eady in the uaio~fsC ode of CondtmL and the union hastried to persuade editors amt. the PressComplaints Commission to adopt it~ sofar without: success, bnt it will have to b eincorporated in the code of practice ofany ".,sew regulato~ body.

    A Chance {br Change 1 9


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    !i!i!i!i!i!i!!!!!i!i!!!!!!!iiiiiiiii!i!i!i!iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiS c r a t c h my bacL or I yo rs

    Politicians a nd the p ressA robust working relationship betweenpoliticians and journalists is a test ofa well-fimcfionh~g democracF= B utpolitical collusion of one form oranother is i~1 the DNA of BritNnsnational press. "Jibe major newspapersare unashamedly partisan: sad theirm.ost successful publishers have amassedpolitical pow er through grantingfavourable cmrerage,

    Press barons like Lords Northcliffeand Beaverbrookwere feared andcourted by the Prime M inisters oftheir day but none more than RupertMurdoch. For almost: 4o years hisnational newspapers were deployed togain maxinmm political and businessadvantage as he buik up a group w ith anunprecedented cross-media reach.

    He backed the Conservatives fromthe late 197os, swm~ g behind Labourin : ~ 9 9 7 and then ,.~vitched back to theIbries in zoo9. W hen Labour was inpower Murdoch was described byformer Dow ning Street spinner LancePrice as "the m~acknoMedged 24th

    member of the C abinet ,o, his voicerarely heard, his presence always felt"

    In return ~b r editorial supporbsuccessive media proprietors haveben.efited comm.ercially. Gov ermnentshave been prepared to turn a b lind eyeto anti-competitive practices such aspredatory pricing or side-.stepping theregulations. In Murdochs case~ MargaretThatchers administration wavedthrough, his purchase of Ihe Timesand Sunday Times in 1981 and thengave the go-ahead for the latmch of Sk yTelevision in 1 9 8 9 .

    Prime M inister Thatdmr was anideologicafi soulmate. Privafisation,diminishing the power oft.he unionsa~d. extending the power of the marketwas an agenda that could have beenwritten in Murdochs editorial o,qices.

    When d~.aucellor Nigel Lawsonwan~:ed t:o p}~t VA T on. newspapersMargaret "l-hatcher struck it out. "Whyinvite a bad press for your budgetYshe asked.

    gO A C h e m c e f o r (; h a a ~ g e


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    i i l i i ii i l i i ii i l i i ii i i l i i

    N E W L A B O U R , N E W R E L A T I O N SIn 1995, in. the :first year of his leadershipin opposition, Tony B Iair travelledto Hayman Island, Australia~ to doMurdoch b idding. O nce in ofiqce heappeased Murdochs interest% includinghis anti-,Europeanism, promising that"New Labour will have no truck with aEuropean super-state" - arguably againsthis natural instin ct to put B ritain at theheart of such an institution.

    Favoured correspondents gotexclusives, and some appeared tosuffer from a journalistic "S tockholmsyndrome" A ndy M cSmith, politicaleditor of the Independent on S unday in2oo3 , has spoken of the fraught periodbuilding up to the invasion of Ira% A tone lobbybriefing he had asked A lastairCam pbell a question about WM Ds, forwhich a journalist fi:om a newspaperthat supported the war called him a"surrender m.onkey".

    Just as Blair hadwooed NewsInternational and swung Labour to apolitical stance that fitted their agenda~ sotoo did D.wid Carne:ron .rod the Tories.Hiah~g Andy C oNson~ fomaer Newsof the W orld editor, was a part of thatapproach~ and approval for Murdocl~sattempt to take full control of BS lq,BwoN d have been true to the pattern.

    In opposition the Conservativeculture spokesman~ jeremy Hunb w hotook u p the mir~ isterial role after last

    years election, had said exactly wh ,~lMurdoch wanted to hear. 3_ he Torieswould "rip up the BBC C harter"~ reinin the regulator ~bllowingits uncom~b r t:able investigation int h e payZlW market - in which i t hadcensured BS kyB - and relax the rules oncross media ownership.

    Last year the new governmentwas soon presented with the B SkyBbid. W hile it was going through, t h eregulatory proces% under the benignsupervision of Jeremy Hun% therewere dozens of meetings betweenmimsters and News C orp executives,including blurdoch and his son of BS kyB and head ofEuropean operations. Precisely whosaid what to wbom is now a matter fbrthe Leveson inquiry The judges tasksinclude inquiring int:o the "toni:actsmade~ and discussions had, betweennational newspapers and politicians"and to raake recommendations aboutthe "future conduct of relations betweenpoliticians and the press."L E V E S O N CA ND O B E T T E RW hen C araeron announced Levesoffsappoin*menb he tried to keep a stepahead of the inquiry by proposingan immediate amendment to theministerial code t:o require ministers to"record all meetings with newspaper andother media proprietors, senior editorsand executives - regardless of the nature

    A C liance for Chmage 2 1


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    of the meeting." P ermanent secretariesand special advisers would also berequired to record such meetings.

    Almost immediately Cameron,Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, theC hancellor of the Ex :cheqner GeorgeOsborne and the Labour leader EdMiliband publicly listed their meetingssince taking otJice. B ut: the lists gaveao hint as to either the purpose or theoutcome of their deliberations

    C ameron used the catch-all term"general discussion" alongside eightof the entries for meetings with theM urdochs or News internationaleditors. ~Jihere was no indicationas t:o the topics covered~ nor wasthere any clue as to what transpiredduri~.g Rebek.lh B rooks two visits toC hequers or the Prime M inisters socialengagernents with the Murdochs.

    Past editions ofthe Sun reveal theinadequacy of Camerons declaration.His engagements for Allgust 2.ololisted Rebek ah B rooks second visitto C heqjaers but made no mention oftile disctlssions~ but they m ust havepreceded the publication of a two-pagearticle by the P rime Minister whichlaunched a hoOine for Sun readersto expose "b eneiit scroungers". (S un,A ugust 8 last year)

    Si.,nilaM;~ his five engagements inOctober :~om with Brooks and NewsIatemational editors made ~o referenceZ E A Chance ibr Change

    to another signed two-page .~ rticlere-laund~hag his "B ig Society" (Sun,October 8)

    Neg otiations with the S uns editorialteam might have been conductedby C oulson himself or brokered byS owning ,. treet s special advisers batthe poi~n.t remains: politicians andtheir spin doctors socialise with m.ediaproprietors~ executives and editors fora purpose and the outcome needs to bedeclared.A CO DE O F PRA CTICEif the ~future conduct of relationsbetween politicians and tile press" isto be policed effectivelB the Levesoninquiry must insist that ministers can nolonger hide behind t:erms like "generaldiscussion" A ny code of conduct thatemerges from the Leveson process nrustensure that:::i:. Ministers avoid meeting orsocialising with propriet:ors~ executivesand editors when a takeover bidor similar application or referral isbeing co..~sidered by the governmentor reD, lators such as O fcom~ theC ompetition C ommission and Office ofFair "Dading::!.. M_ in[sters, partyleaders, shadowministers and special advisers Iist notonly the da-te and n ature ofmeetit~gsand social engagements but also thepurpose and any outcome.


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    >> Full declaration1 of negotiations aim edat securing pa rty political p romotionsin news pap ers and other media outlets,such as signed arl:icles, endorsement ofpress cam paigns or interviews. re e p r e s s @ c p b f . o rg . u k

    A C hance for Change ~


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