As journalists and other citizens in the UK await the recommendations of the Leveson inquiry, journalism lecturer Tony Harcup argues that a crucial freedom for journalists is the freedom to say ‘No’ to an unethical instruction. In this edited extract of a chapter in the book The Phone Hacking Scandal*, he explains why.
Article by Donald Trelford in British Journalism Review (December 2011) ALL four official inquiries into the standards of the British press since the Second World War – Ross (1947-49), Shawcross (1962), McGregor (1974-77) and Calcutt (1990 and 1992) – have raised fears about statutory controls but have resulted in fine-tuning of the methods of self-regulation.[…]
On the BBC website, Paul Mason, the regularly insightful Newsnight reporter, has attempted to understand the recent phone hacking scandal, and the broader political crises surrounding it, through a critique of Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s famous Propaganda Model and their ideas concerning the manufacture of consent in the mainstream media. Mason’s summary of manufacturing consent and the media is as follows:
…the theory states that essentially the mass media is a propaganda machine; that the advertising model makes large corporate advertisers into “unofficial regulators”; that the media live in fear of politicians; that truly objective journalism is impossible because it is unprofitable (and plagued by “flak” generated within the legal system by resistant corporate power).
THE phrase, “throwing out the baby with the bath water,” has been used several times lately about the proposed reform of press regulation. There seems to be a general belief, certainly among MPs, that the phone-hacking scandal resulted from the failure of current press regulation and that newspapers must therefore have new rules imposed on[…]
In more recent years, I’ve had the persona of a respectable company director (MD of my own communications company, no less). I’ve given media advice to major institutions and key political figures. I served for quarter of a century in the middle ranks of the BBC and throughout my career I have stoutly defended the[…]
TODAY’S Parliamentary debate about Rupert Murdoch – “hanging the Great Satan out to dry” was the way one writer put it – was the day of come-uppance that MPs have been eagerly awaiting ever since the newspapers shamed them over their expenses. It was pay-back time with a vengeance. The phone-hacking scandal has been a[…]