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Media Alert 7 March

A round-up of the hottest takes from the best UK Indy Media


In this week’s edition of Media Alert:

  • Reactions to Leveson Let-down
  • Our Picks of the Week

Media Alert is a weekly bulletin discussing issues impacting on the UK independent media and highlighting some of the best recent work from the sector.

It’s brought to you by The Media Fund, a co-operative of over 30 partners seeking to raise funds and advocate for quality independent journalism.


The Weeks Big Stories

Essential new from the frontlines of media politics

Leveson Let-Down

Last week’s announcement from Culture Secretary Matt Hancock, that a 2nd phase of The Leveson Inquiry would not be pursued and that some aspects of potential press regulation would be repealed, may not be a huge surprise but it still marks a disappointing “get-out-of-jail” card for the billionaire elite propagandists who have so much power over the government.

Natalie Fenton wrote a superb breakdown of the story and the backdrop, published on many sites including Open Democracy, Media Reform Coalition, and Hacked Off.

The Campaign For Press And Broadcasting Freedom says the decisions are “based on lies” and that “it is not press freedom that the government is protecting but press owners.”

Hacked Off, the campaign group who did so much to bring about Leveson in the first place have a petition to fight the decision.

The Guardian

Perhaps more disappointing and certainly more surprising than Hancock’s announcement was that The Guardian went some way to defend it.

The Guardian is understandably concerned about the printed press being constantly under the cosh in the age of social media, vanishing advertising revenue and fake news, all issues that Media Alert has kept abreast of. But there’ a heavy risk that they are overlooking, mitigating or even partially forgetting the serious nature of the crimes and other problems which brought around Leveson in the first place.

For Byline Media, Briand Cathcart forwarded a detailed analysis of The Guardian’s position writing: “the paper’s editorial justifying this switch is a disgraceful mishmash of dissimulation, ignorance, playground logic and shifty language.”

The Guardian have at least printed this fierce rebuttal from over 20 leading academics, who accuse them of betrayal.

Our Perspective

From the point of view of independent media, a failure to hold traditional media to appropriate account again render their accusation of low standards in independent media somewhat hollow, especially at a time when so many establishment sources took the ludicrous Corbyn “spying” story so seriously.

Independent media should always look to raise its game and image, The Media Fund aims to help with that process, but at the same time, there is scant sign of traditional media doing the same despite the high professionalism of most journalists. In this climate, with the government clearly not too keen to improve practice among outlets that so often share their agenda, traditional media risks maintaining the high levels of public mistrust that sent people running to alternatives (credible or no) in the first place.


Picks of the Week

Our hand-picked selections from some of the best independent journalism around

Foreign Office Diplomat on “Leave” at Saudi Crown Prince’s PR Firm – Abigail Fielding-Smith & Crofton Black, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism 

Strange relations between the UK and Saudi Arabia do get covered in serious establishment media but they tend to limit the critique of the fundamentalist regime, not least because they buy so many weapons from us. So it can be left to independent media to dig up the dirt, as with this case of yet another “revolving door” appointment.

Find the Bureau of Investigative Journalism on Twitter @TBIJ


London is the World’s War Showroom – Matt Kennard, Real Media

And speaking of arms sales… the UK continues to be one of the planets major weapons providers, fanning the flames of conflict and supporting tyranny, oppression, and mass killings worldwide. Real Media cover the latest round of London weapons shows in a piece which is as detailed as it is accessible.

Find Real Media on Twitter @RealMediaGB


Hundreds of Bristol properties snapped up by offshore firms – Alon Aviram & Adam Cantwell-Corn, The Bristol Cable

Strong independent local media is vital when so many local newspapers are closing, and even those that survive don’t always handle issues like this as well as they might. As with last week’s featured Salford Star piece, what’s covered here in The Bristol Cable is probably happening up and down the country.

Find The Bristol Cable on Twitter @TheBristolCable

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