for diverse, democratic and accountable media
Thousands of marauding Conservatives invaded Manchester over the weekend to brag about their power to drive millions of people into poverty and despair. Mancunians and tens of thousands of visiting protesters turned out to raise their objections, and for their trouble found themselves, rather than the Tories, denounced as violent and abusive thugs.
For years campaigners for public broadcasting have always said, retain the BBC licence fee, naturally. It has long come under fire from corporate competitors and when the renewal of the BBC Charter comes up next year, the enemies would be right if nothing were changed.
One of the more frustrating moments of the Leveson Inquiry was the questioning of Rupert Murdoch by John Hendy QC, who was representing the National Union of Journalists.
Amid the old autocrat’s evasions and lapses of memory, there was a tantalising public airing of a radical but simple measure to transform all journalism for the better: a “conscience clause” to grant journalists a legal right to stick to decent professional standards without fear of losing their jobs.
Everyone who is concerned about corporate media recognises the problem. The phone-hacking and worse things that precipitated the 2011 national newspaper crisis took place because journalists had to do as the company told them.
Some people on the British left are calling the French magazine Charlie Hebdo racist because of its fatal penchant for publishing cartoon images of Muslims. Naturally, they don’t say that the murderous assault on its office by deranged jihadis that killed 12 people on 7 January was just retribution, nor even that the journalists were asking for it.
They leave that conclusion to the reader.