for diverse, democratic and accountable media
The Campaign for Freedom of Information was launched thirty years ago. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act – the legislation that has since unlocked data that previously government, local authorities and other public bodies refused to release.
But all is not well…there are fears that hard won rights to know might well be curbed, that those seeking information might find new barriers in their way. Nicholas Jones hears the concerns of Maurice Frankel, Director of the Freedom of Information, and the campaign's Research Director, Katherine Gunderston.
For majority of the British media, the importance of presenting impartial news coverage has always been a key objective, but the notion of achieving balance and context has been questioned during the recent Israeli bombardment of Gaza. The death and destruction – and especially the deaths of so many children – has appeared in brutal contrast with the relatively minor impact of the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. Moreover, Western media has been criticised for failing to cover the conflict in a fair manner and some media outlets, the BBC in particular, appear infused with a pro-Israeli bias. Equality in news reporting is not the only issue troubling the traditional media as a result of the recent turmoil in the Middle East; more journalists than ever before are losing their lives and insurgents are increasingly using social media to spread propaganda.
Since 1948, the NHS has been publically funded, and free to all at the point of need, however, it's now undergoing massive reforms and campaigners say that it's being broken up, privatised and changed beyond recognition. Services will suffer and the NHS as we know it will be no more. Despite this, the reporting of the decimation of the NHS has been sketchy, and although local papers and radio have produced some compelling stories, national coverage has been minimal in detailing these complex issues.
Keep Our NHS Public is a campaign aimed at raising public awareness and Nick Jones speaks to John Lister, Jill George, Roger Gartland and Jean Smith about their lobbying efforts.
When the 1984 Cabinet papers concerning the miners strike of 30 years ago, were released this January, a gripping account was laid bare of the secret steps taken by Margaret Thatcher to break the strike, and the lies told to the nation. As the then Prime Minister micromanaged the government's authoritarian response to the strikers, including the brutal police responses, and hiding the truth surrounding the planned number of pit closure, a new book reveals there's still no justice.