Why we must act to reclaim the media
2 April 2014
There is a problem with media ownership in the UK and you can take one simple action to help remedy it.
Unchecked media concentration over several decades has allowed some media groups to accumulate vast amounts of revenue and influence. It has led, as we saw throughout the Leveson Inquiry, to a collusive relationship between media owners and senior politicians, which skews public debate in favour of private interests, and fails to insulate government policy making from the interests of media proprietors.
With power in increasingly few hands, public debate is often restricted to those agendas favoured by press elites, as the space available to a diversity of voices shrinks.
Recent legislation gagging civil society groups has only served to amplify the voices of established news organisations, thereby distorting democratic debate.
Powerful media outlets regularly use their position of influence over public opinion as a platform for attack and misrepresentation. We oppose the routine vilification by the press of groups including the unemployed, the working poor, and immigrants, which serves to marginalise large sectors of society and deny them a voice.
We believe that we must act urgently to safeguard the right to independent and pluralistic information, and that it is essential that the power of media barons be curbed.
In response to the problem of media concentration in the UK, the TUC, the National Union of Journalists, the Media Reform Coalition and the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom have launched the Coalition for Media Pluralism to campaign for a more diverse and representative media.
The coalition is working with civil society organisations across Europe to promote a citizens' initiative, a petition which calls for an EU Directive to protect against concentration in national media ownership.
As a tool of participatory democracy, the petition provides an opportunity to address national media concentration at the European level.
We believe that the existing media ownership regime is not working to protect pluralism or democracy. This citizens' initiative gives us the opportunity to bring about change in how our media is controlled.
We encourage all those who want a diverse and independent media, capable of operating in the public interest, to support the citizens' initiative and add their name to the petition.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary
Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary
Caroline Lucas MP
John McDonnell MP
Professor Des Freedman, Chair, Media Reform Coalition
Tom Watson MP
Dr Jonathan Hardy, National Secretary, Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom
Guy Taylor, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
Professor James Curran, Goldsmiths College
Dr Natalie Fenton, Co-Director, Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy
Mike Jempson, Director, Media Wise Trust
Angela Phillips, Goldsmiths College, University of London
Granville Williams, Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom National Council
Justin Schlosberg, Birkbeck, University of London
Professor Chris Frost, Head of Journalism, Liverpool Screen School, John Moores University
Tom Davies, NUJ
Vince Medeiros, publisher
Professor Tom O’Malley, Professor of Media Studies, Aberystwyth University
Professor Julian Petley, Professor of Screen Media, Brunel University
Judith Townend, University of Westminster / City University London
Sign the petition
If you agree with these signatories and want to add your name to the petition please follow this link.
Attend the public meeting
6.30pm, Monday 28 April, committee room 8, House of Commons
Speakers include: Tom Watson MP (Chair), Caroline Lucas MP, John McDonnell MP, Michelle Stanistreet