Monday, 21 December 2015

Corbyn's Labour really does hate the idea of a free press and free speech

Asked whether a Labour government would break up media monopolies, he said: "Yes. We are developing a media policy which would be about breaking up the single ownership of too many sources of information, so that we have a multiplicity of sources. And actually promoting co-operative ownership and access, including local TV and radio stations and newspapers like The Morning Star."

There are many things he says that I find chilling but this statement from Jermey Corbyn is a terrifying attack on the free press and free speech. I know you're all going to talk about how Rupert Murdoch is incredibly evil because he owns lots of media and doesn't vote Labour. I know so many want to pretend - against all the evidence to the contrary - that Murdoch's businesses have some sort of monopoly over the media and the the man himself is Henry H. Potter spinning his scrurvy webs like some sort of sinister spider.

You are wrong. If there is a media monopoly in the UK (and I don't think this is remotely the case) then it is the BBC not News International. This isn't an attack on Aunty but simply an observable truth - in terms of what people out there are watching, the BBC remains the dominant media organisation and this applies especially to news.

What Jeremy Corbyn, in his pretty typical hard left way, is saying is that the private ownership of media with the aim of turning a profit results in distorted news. The argument will run on to suggest that monopolies in media are therefore a problem and need to be broken up. Yet the UK does not have a media environment that features any sort of monopoly (unless you look at the BBC, of course). If you focus just on national newspapers this still isn't true even though Rupert Murdoch 'controls' a goodly chunk of them. And more to the point those newspapers no longer represent people's preferred source of news - we've the TV, the radio, our lap-tops and increasingly assorted apps on our smartphones. Twitter and Facebook are probably more important as news sources than The Times or The Guardian these days.

No, the real reason Jeremy Corbyn wants to control the press is because - as he noted just before that comment above in the Morning Star - it is critical of what his 'caring, sharing new politics' is about. So just like his pals on Bradford council wanting to ban folk they disagree with, Corbyn wants to cripple a diverse media environment through threats of 'break-up', seizure and control. We are reminded again that Labour really does hate the idea of a free press.


1 comment:

John M said...

It seems to me that one of the advantages of some areas of the press being part of large conglomerates is that those companies sometimes have the resources to really pursue a story (as the Telegraph did by spending months picking through the MP's expenses to build thier story) but also in a post Leveson world it is those large media orgs who have the resources available to be capable of rebutting Government threats and wher necessary legal action.

Splintering the press might sound nice to the Pravda loving people who voted Corbyn into power, but I didn't see any proposal from Jezza to reduce the size of the Government's own media and spin doctoring organsations to balance out the fragmented press he is demanding.

And maybe that is the idea. Crush all opposition. The State is Mother, the State is Father.