The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Why Not Regulate The Press?

Posted by The Futility Monster on July 23, 2011 @ 22:47

I don’t know about you, but when I see newspaper front pages like this…

 … a front page which is nothing other than a contemptible and deliberately cynical lie… I can’t help but feel that the current situation – much debated at present – that the broadcast media should be regulated, while the print media is allowed to get on with it – is completely untenable.

Can you imagine if, at 10pm last night, the BBC News at 10 had asserted to the same degree of certainty that front page does, that it was Al Qaeda responsible for the attack? If they had been right, no doubt they would be paraded as a fine example of getting an early scoop. But if they’d got it wrong, they would soon discover the full fury of the rest of the media. Not to mention those other unimportant bodies like OFCOM and the BBC Trust.

And rightly so. After all, if a broadcast media organisation had been so sloppy, so brazen, so downright wrong in such a manner as to give people completely the wrong impression, and – worse – potentially inflame the state of race relations in the UK – then they would deserve the book and the whole of the British Library being thrown at them.

So why not the print media? Why, on Monday (not yet on Sunday) will the Sun say absolutely nothing about just how disgustingly and dangerously wrong they were with their Saturday front page? Why is it that no one at all will be able to hold them to account for it?

Why should it merely be that the answer is “if people don’t like it, they will stop buying it”? Don’t the people in such powerful positions as to be able to dictate public policy and influence the public debate have a responsibility to at least either get the basic facts right, or, if they aren’t in possession of those, not to speculate idly without having a scintilla of evidence to back up their wild assertions?

If nothing else, don’t they owe it to their own readership to at least try to get things right?

Apparently not.

The constant refrain during the Murdoch/News International hacking scandal has been “whatever we do, we want to preserve press freedom to self-regulate”. It’s just a tragic shame that it requires such an appalling incident as what happened in Norway to, once again – as if recent events have not been enough – illustrate just how misguided that opinion is.

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4 Responses to “Why Not Regulate The Press?”

  1. easily done by making the newspaper declare its political position on its masthead and a brief resume of the reporter / journalist as a footer to each story. People have a right to now the difference between news and views.

  2. So when the British press, including TV, reported that the Yugoslavs, not the KLA, were engaged in genocide or that Serbs, not Mpslems, were responsible for the only ghenocide at Srebrenica, you must, not being a total hypocrit, have spent 10s of thousands of times longer denouncing the same press, even though the lies they qwere promoting then led tocriminal wars, genocide & the dissection of living people.

    After all the fact that ther press lies assisted your party in its policy of war crimes does not affect the principle.

    The only alternative is that you are looking for an excuse, any excuse including a perfectly reasonable but mistaken assumption, to restrict the press to only the fascist lies you want.

  3. You know perfectly well.

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