ICE blogs

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).

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