Thursday 8 January 2015

Freedom of the press? Give me a break.

I've posted this already but if you read this report you will notice just how scant it is on detail and context. This is actually fairly typical of local media reporting now, where we are generally not allowed to know critical details, leaving room for massive speculation. I have approached the Bristol Post and WDP asking why their reporting is so vague and all you get is the usual mealy-mouth mantras about "editorial guidelines".

This has happened without any Leveson style press regulation and it has been in place for rather a long time. And this is where I fall out with so many of you who bleat about free speech. The notion that our press is free is a fiction, and this happens with the total co-operation of corporate local media, who, rather than investigating, rely on cosy relations with the police and councils for access to these stories, often rehashing police press statements rather than being embedded in the community and reporting what they know. 

There is a tacit deal going on in that the press won't be to critical of the police and the authorities so their official sources will continue to feed them with easy sanitised content. They are the mouthpiece of the establishment, often colluding in the illiberal and sometimes illegal practices of the police to become yet another arm of authority rather than our line of defence against it.

This is why I was never all that fussed abut Leveson. I can't see how our media could be any more subserviant. For these people to then tweet "Je suis Charlie" makes me sick to my stomach. Frankly, if you're a journalist and your kitchen drawer isn't full of legal threats and letters from the police... you're not a journalist. You're a space filler for a marketing agency.

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