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Thursday 21 January 2016

Mail Max Mosley Attack Busted

Yesterday, new independent press regulator Impress announced its first slate of new members, and confirmed that it will apply for recognition under the Royal Charter on press regulation. This announcement indirectly affects Zelo Street, as content from this blog, as well as my column on The New Conservatism, are published at Byline Media, which has signed up to be regulated by Impress.
So who would like to report on this event? At first, apart from Impress’ own announcement, it was left to papers like the Guardian to tell readers “Press regulator Impress unveils first members and makes charter submission … Ipso rival reveals first 10 publishers it will regulate, including the New Internationalist and the Ferret - and says at least 30 more are poised to sign up”. And then came the Daily Mail.

No paper has been more opposed to any kind of independent press regulation than the Daily Mail. The force behind the opposition has been the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, for whom a regulator that he cannot bend to his will is anathema. He wants everything to remain as it is: IPSO wipes the press’ backsides, and anyone who doesn’t like it that way is welcome to sue if they think they’re hard enough.

The concept of a low-cost arbitration service, that Impress will have to provide if it is to achieve Charter recognition, horrifies Dacre. Punters will be more willing to pursue complaints - what is the world coming to? The thought that this might increase the public’s trust in papers like his is not allowed to enter. So it was that the Mail screamed “'Independent' Press regulator is propped up by Mosley's millions: Family of former motor racing boss said to have made £3.8million in donations over four years” today.

There was more: “Max Mosley was yesterday revealed to be almost single-handedly bankrolling the organisation set up to offer ‘independent’ regulation of the Press under the Government’s state-backed scheme … Impress admitted it will rely on £3.8million in donations over four years from the family of the ex-motor racing boss who became a fervent anti-Press campaigner after the [NOTW] published photos of him at an orgy”.

This is hyperbolic nonsense: Max Mosley is not an “anti-press campaigner”, and nor is campaigning group Hacked Off, which the Mail smears in the same way. What both want to see is a press that is truly free - and accountable. Hence their support for a press regulator that is independent of political, proprietorial and editorial interference.

The dead giveaway is quoting the Free Speech Network, which is, like IPSO, under the cosh of the press establishment. It’s like saying “here is a spokesman for the benefit of Ourselves Personally Now”. The central thrust of the Mail’s article - that Impress will somehow not be independent (hence the use of quote marks to tell readers it isn’t) can be easily tested when the new regulator makes its application for Charter recognition.

If Impress is not independent, it will not achieve recognition. If it is judged to be independent, it will be recognised. As Cloughie might have said, “Simple as that, young man”. And when Impress is duly recognised as independent, the Mail will just throw another of its stampy tantrums, tell readers it’s not fair, and smear someone else.

All because Paul Dacre is paranoid about losing his control of the press regulator.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

People like Dacre, Rothermere and Murdoch have no concept of moral responsibility. They are nothing more than propagandists for far right politics. The same goes for broadcast news, the BBC included. There may well be individual honourable exceptions, but they are completely swamped by the overall agenda and their corrupt "colleagues." Things are so bad now we actually verge on open fascism in mainstream media.

In a supposed democracy, with freedom comes responsibility for truth. Monopoly owned mainstream media show little or no responsibility. Given the ownership pattern both here and in the USA it would be foolish to expect anything else. Which is why a truly independent regulatory body is required to identify breaches of the truth, of established facts, and name those responsible.

Only seasoned liars, hypocrites and propagandists like Dacre, Rothermere and Murdoch and their toadying employees would deny the fairness of it. But that's why, for instance, in USA media the Fairness Doctrine was eliminated. It isn't necessary to lie all the time, often just to silence by omission or limitation is enough - and that's the way Dacre and co operate. For them, "freedom" means their monopolist "freedom" to lie and distort at the expense of a healthy open society.

Chomsky got it right with Manufacturing Consent.