ICE blogs

December 2, 2015

Media monopolies rule!

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, media policy, journalism — news_editor @ 6:38 pm

Five companies account for more than 80 per cent of local newspaper titles in the UK – more than four times the combined number of titles published by the remaining 56 publishers – and 85 per cent of revenue.

These startling figures appear in a new report, Noose tightens around the news, by the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom. Trinity Mirror has just bought up the Local World group for £154 million, making it the biggest operator in the field by far. ‘It will dominate the market like none has before, with a combined weekly circulation of 9 million copies of 36 daily newspapers, eight franchises to produce Metro freesheets, 88 weekly paid-for newspapers, five Sunday newspapers and 43 weekly free newspapers. The next two largest regional press publishers, Newsquest and Johnston Press, each have weekly circulations of around 5 million.’

Local World was created only three years ago as a buyout of two existing groups: Northcliffe Newspapers and Iliffe News and Media, and was then valued at £100 million. Last year it recorded an operating profit of £39 million on a turnover of £221 million. The CPBF report comments: ‘This is the local paper industry that is supposed to be loss-making and moribund.’

In commercial television, the national company ITV has bought up Ulster Television in Northern Ireland. ‘The deal is the penultimate step in the destruction of the ITV network as originally set up as a counterbalance to the BBC. Of the 15 original regional franchises only one – STV in Scotland – now survives.’

The CPBF expresses concern that there has been no intervention by any regulatory body over these takeovers. ‘The case for regulatory action gets stronger and stronger.’

Monopolies rule throughout the media. Two companies have almost 40 per cent of all commercial local analogue radio licences and control two-thirds of all commercial digital stations. On the internet, UK search is dominated by Google while the most popular apps such as Instagram and WhatsApp are owned by Facebook, itself the most popular social media site.

‘This concentration of media ownership creates conditions in which wealthy individuals and organisations can amass huge political and economic power and distort the media landscape to suit their interests and personal views.’

• Free Press, journal of Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, 23 Orford Road, London E17 9NL; 07729 846 146; freepresspbf.org.uk

March 26, 2015

Promoting media reform in run-up to general election

Filed under: Blogroll, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, media policy — news_editor @ 10:01 am

Any publisher with a 15 per cent share in a designated market should be subject to a public interest test in respect of any merger or takeover. This proposal is part of A Manifesto for Media Reform, just launched by the Media Reform Coalition and the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom in the run-up to the general election.

It says: ‘Our media are too important to be left to the bottom line of big business or the whims of government. We cannot rely on unaccountable private corporations or partisan administration if we want media that serve the many and not just vested interests.’

The regulator, Ofcom, must be made more accountable to the public. The manifesto also calls for the implementation of the arrangements for press regulation put forward by the Leveson Inquiry in 2012 – and for publishers to operate a ‘conscience clause’ enabling journalists to refuse to work unethically.

On the BBC, it says the licence fee is the best way of financing ‘but this should be collected as a progressive tax on households, with tiered rates for working households and free services for those in receipt of benefits’. ‘The BBC has responded to financial and political pressures by becoming too pro-establishment. We want to ensure that the BBC is strong enough to stand up both to government and commercial pressures.’

Lobbying for powerful interests and corporations is a £2 billion industry ‘but there are few rules governing its activities and no requirement for lobbyists to register or disclose their clients or activities’. The manifesto calls for clandestine lobbying to be outlawed and a fund established to allow civil society groups to carry out research in the public interest.

• The manifesto appears in the latest issue of Free Press, the journal of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (see http://www.cpbf.org.uk/body.php?subject=media%20regulation&doctype=sticky&id=3161).

August 17, 2013

Initiative for media pluralism

The European Initiative for Media Pluralism (EIMP) has drawn together around 100 civil society organisations, media, and professional bodies to call for legislative actions to protect media pluralism in Europe.

UK supporters include the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, the National Union of Journalists and the TUC. Organisations in eight other European countries support the EIMP so far: Bulgaria, Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania. Granville Williams, UK Coordinator, stressed that campaign was calling for:

* effective legislation to avoid concentration of ownership in the media and advertisement sectors;
* guaranteed independence of media supervisory bodies from political power and influence;
* definition of conflict of interests to avoid media moguls occupying high political office;
* clearer European monitoring systems to check up regularly the health and independence of the media in member states.

Williams said: ‘Editorial content will remain independent from legislation. The campaign only asks the European Commission to take legislative action concerning mainly media ownership.’

The campaign is aiming to collect the 1 million signatures needed for actions to be taken by the European Commission. For more information contact Granville Williams at freepress@cpbf.org.uk .

May 6, 2013

After Leveson: What role for citizen journalism?

‘After Leveson: Is citizen journalism the answer?’ is the title of a major conference on Saturday, 8 June, at the London College of Communication, Elephant and Castle, London SE1 6SB.

Hosted by the Citizen Journalism Educational Trust and The-Latest.Com, the event aims to build on the success of their ‘Media and the riots’ conference that brought young people and journalists face to face. The Leveson Inquiry accepted the conference report as evidence.

Top bloggers, campaigners for greater press regulation, including Hacked Off, those opposed to it, citizen journalists, scholars, students and members of the public will be at the one-day conference.

Marc Wadsworth, editor of the citizen journalism website, The-Latest.com, commented: ‘In the wake of the outcry from Fleet Street’s finest about them not wanting to be regulated by law, the debate has turned to online news and comment. Will bloggers, and sites like ours, face draconian fines if lawyers are set loose on them? Or, should they be excluded from new regulation?

‘After the 2011 summer riots, some police and politicians, aware that young people share a lot of news using social media, urged the closing down of internet services including Twitter and Blackberry Messenger, during times of civil unrest. Yet the post-Leveson Inquiry debate seems to have by-passed discussion that the way forward may not be with “big media”, whose circulations are tumbling, but with alternative reporting by the people for the people in the shape of citizen journalism.’

- For more details about the conference see http://after-leveson-cj.eventbrite.co.uk.

Defamation: A step in the right direction

Filed under: Uncategorized, Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, media policy — news_editor @ 8:12 am

Barry Turner, specialist in media law at the University of Lincoln, welcomes the new restrictions placed on corporations in bringing libel actions

After three years of debate, dispute and plain old delay the Defamation Bill is passed. The UK will now see some welcome changes to a law which has brought sharp criticism of English jurisprudence and even resulted in the US refusing to enforce defamation judgments handed down by our courts.

In fact, much of the old law remains intact, including some that has been at the centre of criticism for years. The burden of proof in defamation cases will still be shouldered by the defendant, except in one or two areas, and the costs of defamation actions will remain a serious threat to the majority of those facing action by a claimant.

One area of the changes that is, however, welcome is the restriction placed on corporations in bringing libel actions. This is an area of defamation law long in disrepute and one that has been seriously abused by large corporations to stifle legitimate criticism for years.

The non-natural legal personage, as a corporation is known, has long been treated as having the rights of a claimant or defendant in litigation in the UK courts. Most of this is supported by good sense and legal reasoning. A corporation needs to be able to conduct business deals, to own property and to enter contracts just as an individual might. But debates have raged for many years about how to differentiate between a company from an individual when it comes to seeking legal redress.

Defamation law is about protecting reputations and, as much as it has been severely criticised, there has never been a legal system in any society that did not value personal reputation and give it the protection of law. Individuals have reputations and have a right to have them protected. Corporations also have reputations - but are they the same as those enjoyed by people?

The reputation of an individual is difficult to measure; we use many abstract concepts to ‘value’ a person: skill, professionalism, humour, good nature, kindness and other virtues. The reputation of a person is perceived by that person in terms of feelings or, when defamed, hurt feelings. Companies, however, are not sentient: they cannot possess virtues as a person can and have no feelings to be damaged.

Corporate managers have argued for a long time that a corporation has a reputation just as much as an individual does. They have argued that corporate goodwill is a balance sheet asset that can be damaged by defamatory comments. Profits, too, may be injured just as a person’s feeling might be so, the argument goes, corporations should be treated no differently than individuals defamed.

The legislators have disagreed and when the new Defamation Act comes into force a corporation will be treated differently to an individual in defamation law. As the law currently stands an individual does not have to prove damage to sue in libel. A potentially damaging statement is enough, providing it fulfills the necessary legal requirements of libel.

Corporations have for many years now used libel law to stifle criticism of their affairs and this had led to some remarkable abuses of the law to silence legitimate criticism. Seminal cases such as McDonald’s Corporation v Steel and Morris and British Chiropractice Association v Singh have shown how corporate bodies can use their might to halt inconvenient stories about their activities.

With the passing of the Bill corporations no longer enjoy the same legal rights as individuals. A corporation must now demonstrate that it has suffered actual quantifiable damage. This makes perfect sense. A corporation can measure its reputation on its balance sheet. While a person cannot say, for instance, their kindness is worth £10,000 and their sense of humour £5,000, a corporation can and will value its ‘reputation’ in cash.

It is quite correct, then, that in future a corporation cannot say they have been defamed unless it can quantify it. If a corporation wants to bring an action to stifle criticism in future it must show its loss. Declaring a loss, even one allegedly caused by an outside third party, is difficult for any corporation. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine any corporation writing down an asset value on its balance sheet simply to bring a libel action.

March 24, 2013

Citizen media focus for colloquium

A two-day colloquium on citizen media is to be held 13-14 June 2013 in the Manchester Conference Centre. It is being organised by the Division of Languages and Intercultural Studies, at the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester.

The rapid shift from a mass media to a digital media culture in the past couple of decades has been the subject of considerable research. One important facet of this shift has been the process of media convergence and the concomitant blurring of boundaries between production and consumption practices in a wide range of contexts, including citizen journalism (news reporting, community radio and television, documentary filmmaking), individual or participatory co-creational work (self-broadcasting, crowdsourcing, fansubbing, scanlation, gaming), networked platforms of public deliberation (blogging, wikis) and other performative expressions of publicness (graffiti and citizen photography). Focusing on the involvement of citizens in this emergent digital culture, this two-day colloquium aims to bring together researchers and citizen media practitioners from different disciplinary and professional backgrounds with a view to sharing experiences and debating a number of recurrent themes in the field. These include:

• interrogating the ‘citizen’ in ‘citizen media’: what senses of ‘citizenship’ are activated in citizen media practices, and with what implications;
• the dialectic between citizen media and new technologies: empowering synergy or regulative tension;
• strategic vs therapeutic forms of self-mediation: activism, hacktivism, alter-globalism, altruistic humanitarianism and narcisstic exhibitionism;
• citizen media and protest movements;
• the ethics of witnessing and solidarity;
• playful forms of self-mediation (parody, satire);
• the threat of co-optation: containing the subversive within existing structures of political and corporate power;
• citizen media and the discursive constitution of public selves;
• citizen media and the construction of communities;
• citizen media and ‘the democratic deficit’;
• citizen media practices and piracy.

The programme is designed to ensure maximum participation by all attendees, and to allow sufficient time for discussion and exchange of views. There will be no parallel panels, and presentation slots are, therefore, limited. Plenary speakers are:

• Stuart Allan, Professor of Journalism and Director of the Centre for Journalism and Communication Research at Bournemouth University, UK. He has published widely on the emergence and development of news on the Internet, the online reporting of war, conflict and crisis, science journalism, and citizen journalism. His most recent book, Citizen Witnessing: Revisioning Journalism in Times of Crisis, was published by Polity in January 2013.

• Bolette Blaagaard, Assistant Professor at Aalborg University, Denmark and former Research Fellow at City University, London, where she was involved in setting up an international network to debate issues of citizenship and journalism, as well as carrying out research on citizen journalism and its implications for journalistic practices and education. She is co-editor of After Cosmopolitanism (Routlege 2012) and Deconstructing Europe (Routledge 2011).

• Simon Lindgren, Professor of Sociology at Umeå University, Sweden. He researches digital culture with a focus on social connections, social organization and social movements. He is actively taking part in developing theoretical as well as methodological tools for analysing discursive and social network aspects of the evolving new media landscape. His publications cover themes like hacktivism, digital piracy, citizen journalism, subcultural creativity and learning, popular culture and visual politics. Simon is the author of New Noise: A Cultural Sociology of Digital Disruption (2013).

• Ivan Sigal, Executive Director and co-founder of Global Voices, a community of more than 700 authors and 600 translators around the world who collect and make available reports from blogs and citizen media everywhere, with emphasis on voices that are not ordinarily heard in international mainstream media. He is author of White Road (Steidl Verlag 2012) and has extensive experience in supporting and training journalists and working on media co-productions in the Soviet Union and Asia.

If you are interested in presenting a paper, please send an abstract of 300 words by 15 April 2013 to Mona Baker (mona.baker@manchester.ac.uk) or Luis Pérez-González (Luis.Perez-Gonzalez@manchester.ac.uk). Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by 25 April 2013.

Registration fees (to include lunch and refreshments on 13 and 14 June): Full registration: £50. Student registration: £30.

• See http://citizenmediacolloquium.wordpress.com

March 20, 2013

Let’s move on from brutish journalism

Mike Jempson, honorary director of the ethics campaigning body, MediaWise, responds to the recently announced plans to regulate the mainstream press through the introduction of a Royal Charter

If the press think they have been dealt a bad hand by the Royal Charter, they have only their own to blame. Those who broke the law, or trampled on the rights of others with little regard for the consequences, have ruined it for everyone else.

Editors and proprietors who rushed to the defence of the Press Complaints Commission whenever it was criticised are as culpable as the politicians who preferred to bury their heads in the sand or court the media moguls as evidence mounted over the years that some sections of the press were up to no good.

But the solution to the alleged woes of Britain’s newspapers is also – as ever – in their own hands. It is the publishing industry that has been left with the task setting up its own system of self-regulation. In so far as the Royal Charter and the amendments to the Crime and Courts Bill are concerned, it is easy for the press to avoid huge fines for bad behaviour.

First of all they need to set up their own self-regulatory bodies – and they have been stressing they are happy to do that from the first day that Lord Justice Leveson opened for business. There is nothing to stop them having one for national papers, another for locals and one for magazines, or even one per publishing company. It is entirely up to them.

Leading representatives of the press, including Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, have also agreed that the new system should be manifestly ‘independent’ in a way that the PCC manifestly was not. That, and a system of appointment that it is open and transparent, is all that the Royal Charter seeks to ensure. The Recognition Body that will be set up under the Charter cannot tell the editors and proprietors what to do. It merely checks that the regulatory bodies they set up it follow their own rules. What is unfair about that, when the public has had to put up with a series of failed efforts at self-regulation since 1953?

And providing publishers do not show ‘deliberate or reckless disregard of an outrageous nature’ for someone’s rights, exemplary damages cannot be awarded against them. What is unfair or disproportionate about that? After all, who has the untrammeled right to cry ‘Fire!’ in a crowded room? The contrition mouthed at the Leveson Inquiry by the Charter’s critics has been replaced by vindictive indignation that anyone, especially their readers’ elected representatives, should have the temerity to set a limit on their arrogance.

MediaWise has been at this ‘game’ for 20 years, and revelations of the last two have come as little surprise. When we were starting out few, celebrities and business people would risk being associated with advocate for victims of media abuse, for fear that the press would turn on them. ‘We cannot afford to upset them, because we may need them’ was a common excuse for not donating. ‘Here is a donation, but please don’t make it public,’ was another. So it has been encouraging to see ‘celebrities‘ such as Hugh Grant, Steve Coogan and J. K. Rowling stand and be counted.

And it has been great to see and hear ‘survivors’ speak out. Too often in the past, anyone daring the put their head above the parapet would risk another trouncing by the press. That is why we ‘refused to supply victims’ as a matter of policy. Few people would wish to be subjected to the abuse High Grant and Professor Brian Cathcart of Hacked Off have had to endure of late.

Even editors and senior executives have been scared to voice their criticism of colleagues in public. Over the years several have admitted to me, off camera and off the record, that our criticisms of the PCC were valid – but dared not break ranks. They too seemed afraid of the very industry in which they operated. And it was not just members do the public who were scandalised by the promotion of people such as Piers Morgan and Wendy Henry whose breaches of the Editor’s Code sickened even hard-nosed hacks.

I have been accused of damaging the reputation of British journalism internationally by showing up its brutish behaviour – but it is the brutes exposed by Hackgate who have done that to themselves. Now should be the moment of change. We could be in for a new era in British journalism, harnessing the latest information and communications technology to improve the scope and depth of our journalism. All it takes is for editors and proprietors to invest in proper journalism, not PR rewrites and gossip.

If they did, they might be surprised at how quickly the public would repay their investment. Just as no jury would ever have convicted the Daily Telegraph over illicit procurement of the details of MPs expenses, no judge or jury would punish editors and journalists who made it their business to defend people’s right instead of trampling on them, and to hold the powerful to account instead of cosying up to them.

The time for whining is over. Let’s get on with developing journalisms we can trust.

Little confidence new system of regulation will work: CPBF

The Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom has issued the following statement following the recent announcement of a new system for regulating the press

The legal basis for a new system of press regulation gives the national press a chance to commit themselves to a means of properly policing their own behaviour. The CPBF does not have great confidence that they will take this opportunity seriously.

The way it was introduced, by a series of surprise moves in parliament, appears to have thrown the editors into disarray. They are now trying to decide whether to co-operate or to revert to type and refuse.

The new regulator itself is being set up by the office of the Press Complaints Commission. If the bigger, right-wing papers decide to boycott it there will be utter chaos. The editors should remember that it is the conduct of the press, and the press alone, that has brought down this crisis upon their heads. And it is by their conduct and theirs alone that any new system will be judged, not by parliamentary legalities.

The CPBF is pleased that the political parties have taken the issue seriously and persuaded the government to set up the structure. But we will believe there has been a real improvement in self-regulation when we see the first front-page apology or the first million-pound fine, as trumpeted by David Cameron.

It would be even better if there were never any more false, deceitful or cruel stories that might lead to such penalties, but the CPBF has even less confidence in the likelihood of that.

December 4, 2012

News media ’should be handed back to the people’

Marc Wadsworth, of the citizen journalism website The-Latest.com, in responding to the Leveson report into press ethics, advocates public funding for alternative news media to ensure ‘plurality’

Let’s be clear what’s at play with the Leveson report into British press standards just published and the row over whether or not a new truly independent media watchdog should have legal powers to deal with bad journalism.

It would be reassuring to believe that Prime Minister David Cameron’s rejection of this in favour of tougher self-regulation by newspapers is about him defending a free press. But, in the wake of the appalling phone hacking of murdered school girl Milly Dowler’s mobile phone by Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World that prompted the inquiry, what Cameron and his right-wing Conservative cheerleaders are about is protecting the commercial interests of billionaire press barons, like Murdoch, whose organisations back him and his Tory party.

So, tackling the stranglehold of the corporate ownership of the British press should be central to the debate. Ex-national newspapers journalist Marc Wadsworth, who is also a broadcaster, set up The-Latest as a citizen journalism website in 2006 precisely to help give voice to the unheard. Wadsworth passionately believes the news media should be handed back to the people whose interest they are supposed to serve and said so publicly when he spoke at Lincoln University in November.

But the ownership issue merits just eight short paragraphs in the 2,000-page Leveson Inquiry report into the culture, practice and ethics of the press. The-Latest would like to see public funding for alternative news media to ensure ‘plurality’. Celebrity and scandal-obsessed big media need genuine competition. But The-Latest are opposed to any new law that smacks of government regulation of the press because this could be used to gag social media online and investigative journalism.

At the moment, the Conservatives are supported by nine national newspapers: The Times, Sunday Times, Daily Express, Daily Star, Sunday Express, Sun, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Financial Times (most of the time). The opposition Labour Party and Lib-Dems are backed by six: The Independent, Independent on Sunday, Guardian, Observer, Mirror and Daily Mirror. The low-circulation Morning Star is the only genuinely socialist national newspaper.

Appeal Court judge Lord Justice Leveson says current watchdog, the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), has failed and must be replaced. Newspapers should not be allowed ‘to mark their own homework’. The PCC has a terrible record for upholding complaints and putting right press inaccuracies. Journalists themselves, like the Guardian’s Nick Davies whose brave and often lonely campaign to expose phone hacking, and the law courts has had to do the watchdog’s job for it. But legal action is for the rich.

The-Latest agrees the PCC is both discredited and useless and has set out our recommendation for a better press in the Media and Riots report accepted as evidence by Leveson, who has recommended:

- a new self-regulation body, independent of serving editors, government and business.

He found:
- no widespread corruption of police by the press found;
- politicians and press have been too close;
- press behaviour, at times, has been ‘outrageous’;
- on the controversial issue of regulation, Leveson says an independent watchdog for the press should be established. It should take an active role in promoting high standards, including having the power to investigate serious breaches and sanction newspapers.

The new body should be backed by legislation designed to assess whether it is doing its job properly. The new law would enshrine, for the first time, a legal duty on the government to protect the freedom of the press.

An arbitration system should be created through which people who say they have been victims of the press can seek redress without having to go through the courts. Newspapers that refuse to join the new body could face direct regulation by broadcast media watchdog, Ofcom.

The body should be independent of current journalists, the government and commercial concerns, and not include any serving editors, government members or MPs. It should consider encouraging the press to be as transparent as possible in relation to sources for its stories, if the information is in the public domain.

A whistle-blowing hotline should be established for journalists who feel under pressure to do unethical things. This falls short of the National Union of Journalists’ demand that a ‘conscience clause’ should be written into the contracts of journalists allowing them to refuse to use unethical methods or practices.

On the crucial question of plurality and media ownership, Leveson says: ‘The particular public policy goals of ensuring that citizens are informed and preventing too much influence in any one pair of hands over the political process are most directly served by concentrating on plurality in news and current affairs. This focus should be kept under review.’

It continues: ‘Online publication should be included in any market assessment for consideration of plurality. Ofcom and the government should work, with the industry, on the measurement framework, in order to achieve as great a measure of consensus as is possible on the theory of how media plurality should be measured before the measuring system is deployed, with all the likely commercial tensions that will emerge.

‘The levels of influence that would give rise to concerns in relation to plurality must be lower, and probably considerably lower, than the levels of concentration that would give rise to competition concerns.’

Diversity among journalists, so that newsrooms properly reflect black people, women and the working class, is a vital part of making the news media more representative. The BBC has not changed much since its Director General Greg Dyke described it as ‘hideously white’. The-Latest will be watching and commenting all of the issues raised by Leveson and others we have mentioned.

August 11, 2012

Failures in reporting August 2011 riots highlighted

Serious failings by the mainstream media in their coverage of the August 2011 riots are highlighted in a major new report. It argues that the ‘unbalanced’ and ‘unhelpful’ coverage began with the shooting of Mark Duggan, the 29-year-old black man, by police in Tottenham.

‘In first reports of Duggan’s death, police stated that he was involved in a shoot-out with them, a statement that was later proved not to be true yet was reported as fact by news media.’

According to the report, the single most important reason for the spread of the disorder was the perception, relayed by television as well as social media, that in some areas the police had lost control of the streets. Social and broadcast media then helped the riots to spread.

The report stems from the ‘Media and the Riots’ conference organised by the Citizen Journalism Educational Trust and The-Latest.Com (the UK’s first dedicated citizen journalism website) on 26 November 2011.

It comments: ‘Conference participants felt that the apparent motivation of young people to target and loot shops and brands such as JD Sports, Foot Locker, Currys, Comet and PC World during the riots was strongly influenced by print and broadcast media. However, they also felt that this issue could not be adequately looked at without examination of the way in which the creative media industry, through films, music and video games, often glorified a criminal, gang or gangster-related lifestyle that some disadvantaged young people, including black males, then aspired to achieve.’

Marc Wadsworth, journalist, editor of The-Latest.com and lecturer at City University, told the conference that most journalists covering the riots had no connection with Tottenham and as such did not know where to find authoritative voices: ‘They just fell back on lazy journalism, which was to rely on what the police was feeding them, what politicians were telling them and therefore not being the unbiased reporters they should be.’

The report also suggests that the Reading the Riots study, led by the Guardian and the London School of Economics, in analysing 2.57m tweets on Twitter sent around the riots, was ‘a model of good practice in looking for evidence about the use of social media and involvement in the riots, rather than relying on assertions’.

It identifies five action areas through which different actors - young people, citizens in affected areas, activists, journalists, professional journalism bodies, citizen journalists, educators - might use ‘the media’ to challenge the stigmatising of young people and affected communities and promote previously marginalised voices.

- hold the media to account;
- engage with journalists;
- communicate with decision-makers;
- promote citizen journalism;
- ensure wider access to journalism.

In a forward to the report, Professor Roy Greenslade, media commentator on the Guardian, welcomes its encouragement of citizen journalism. He continues: ‘But “big media”, at least at the moment, continues to hold sway over the national conversation. If it wishes to enhance democracy then it must ask itself whether it has become too remote from the public by creating a media class, a class apart from its audience.’

- Media and the riots: A call for action, £15 (organisations and companies); £5 (individuals); £3.50 (unwaged). Details from www.thelatest.com

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