Think Pieces

Regulation, Privacy and Censorship

July 22nd, 2011,

In the last few years we have seen corruption in Parliament, in the police and in the Press, often involving the collusion of members of all three.  Business is rife with corrupt practices, from misrepresentation to tax-dodging. The eagerness with which each of the major institutions turns upon the others when given the opportunity is […]

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Things Might Only Get Better: But It Used To Be Much Worse

July 21st, 2011,

Shock horror, the popular tabloids have offended public taste and contravened what passes as journalistic integrity. So far, so unremarkable.  Events at the News of the World may be the grossest in recent times, prying as irreverently as irrelevantly into the lives of grieving families but they are far from unique in the back pages […]

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Is The UK ‘Media Plurality Test’ Fit For Purpose?

July 15th, 2011,

The extraordinary events surrounding the closure of the News of the World and the withdrawal by News Corporation of its bid to take full control of BSkyB have cast a  light on how journalistic standards, if not democratic government itself, can be corrupted by the ruthless drive for corporate profit and personal influence.  At a […]

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The Absence of Trust

July 12th, 2011,

When James Murdoch made his MacTaggart speech entitled ‘The Absence of Trust’ in August 2009 he criticized regulatory constraints in the broadcasting sector for creating unaccountable institutions such as the BBC Trust, Channel 4 and Ofcom. In his view ‘the provision of independent news, investment in professional journalism and the growth of the creative industries’ would be far better served by ‘embracing private enterprise and profit as a driver of investment, innovation and independence’. How hollow those words now sound after the events surrounding the closure of the News of the World and further allegations about the practices employed by different parts of the News International group in pursuit of readers.

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Should journalists ‘operate on the margins of law and morality’?

July 11th, 2011,

The events surrounding the demise of the News of the World has focused our minds, once more, on what should be considered legitimate and permissible practice in journalism and, indeed, in the pursuit of ‘the story’. That the NotW may have used practices that are not only of dubious morality but also downright illegal should force us to ponder on where we – as commentators and journalists – should draw the line. Or, to put the matter slightly differently, who should draw the line.

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Euro elections: newspaper websites break new ground in challenging radio and television

June 15th, 2009,

Almost lost amid the United Kingdom’s minimal news coverage of the election campaign for the European Parliament and the English county councils were some significant developments within the British media landscape. Newspaper websites broke new ground in their bid to challenge other news outlets and showed they could compete head on with mainstream television and radio services.

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An Essay on Press Freedom v Accountability

March 13th, 2009,

The elected Mayor of Doncaster, facing serious criticism of the child protection for which he is finally responsible, told a BBC reporter to stop playing silly games – and refused to be interviewed about the situation.

Government departments are increasingly refusing to provide anything other than a statement on issues which reflect badly on them and for which they should take responsibility.

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Article for The World Today, Chatham House’s monthly journal

February 6th, 2009,

Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, Russia seems intent on re-writing the rules on media freedom, democracy and security on which a new, more cooperative relationship with the west wasto be built. Moscow’s crackdownon freedom of expression may make conflict more likely

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Media Manipulation and Political Control in Russia

January 6th, 2009,

Constraints on freedom of the Russian media and impact on Russia’s chances of developing a plural democracy.

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Political journalism: the perils of writing to a pre-determined agenda

January 2nd, 2009,

Political journalism provides an ideal illustration of the contradictions and extremes of the British news media. No other group of correspondents are so open to manipulation yet so determined to prove their independence by influencing and, whenever possible, by driving forward the news agenda.

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