This isn’t public policy: the prelude to the BBC White Paper – Des Freedman

4 05 2016

PA-25302070It is hard to know whether the recent rumours about the contents of the forthcoming White Paper on the future of the BBC should be seen as light entertainment or crime drama. Three leading Sunday newspapers revealed that the government plans to interfere in the scheduling of popular programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing, Silent Witness and the News at Ten. Read the rest of this entry »





When Commercialism Trumps Democracy – Victor Pickard

12 04 2016

Trump TowerDonald Trump’s ascendance has many enablers, but news media deserve special scrutiny. Television news in particular has popularized Trump—and, in doing so, has turned our political process into a reality TV spectacle. Read the rest of this entry »





Cultural cold wars: The risk of anti-‘extremism’ policy for academic freedom of expression – Alison Scott-Baumann and Hugh Tomlinson QC

8 04 2016

cvr-PreventGuidanceUniversities are under increasing pressure from government to prevent students coming into contact with “extreme” ideas. The view is that students exposed to any kind of views designated “extreme” could be drawn into terrorism. But the risk to freedom of speech and academic freedom is obvious. Society needs to avoid a climate in which ideas are seen as dangerous, deviant and extremist if they differ from views that are believed to be held by the majority. Read the rest of this entry »





FOI: Victory for Transparency as Tribunal orders disclosure of former Prime Ministers expenses – Gabriel Webber

31 03 2016

Former PMsOn 22 March 2016 in the case of Webber v Information Commissioner [pdf] (EA/2015/0194) the First-Tier Tribunal ordered disclosure of the details of the “Public Duty Cost Allowance” of up to £115,000 a year provided to former Prime Ministers. Read the rest of this entry »





Investigatory Powers Bill, Second Reading, inadequate journalistic protection persists – Alex Bailin QC

15 03 2016

gchq1The Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB) has its second reading in the House of Commons today. Although there is much high level resistance to the Bill, relatively little of it has focussed on the impact on the media. Read the rest of this entry »





The Trumpification of the US media: why chasing news values distorts politics – Stephen Cushion

11 03 2016

Outside the US, the prospect of Donald Trump being elected president is typically met with a mixture of amusement and alarm. After all, how can a billionaire reality TV star become the most powerful leader in the world when he proposes building a giant wall to prevent Mexican immigrants coming to the US and banning all Muslims from entering the country? Read the rest of this entry »





Brexit and the BBC: a tough call for the culture secretary? – Damian Tambini

5 03 2016

WhittingdaleCulture secretary John Whittingdale gave an update on the progress on the renewal of the BBC Charter in a speech at the Oxford Media Convention last week. All the parties, as well as recent select committee reports, and even the chair of the BBC Trust, agree that reform of BBC regulation is necessary. Read the rest of this entry »








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