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Fears Intemperate Dacre would use “Online Harms” to Kill Free Speech

A row is brewing over the Government’s apparent preference to appoint the notorious right wing newspaper editor Paul Dacre as Head of Broadcast Regulator Ofcom, with powers to police Independent & Social Media, and special exemptions for newspapers.

Dacre at Ofcom

This was published on Tuesday:

Online Harms Bill designed to Kill Dissent

The attack on independent voices & media platforms is in full effect.

This section of the current Online Harms Bill exempts MSM from regulation on grounds of media freedom. But it leaves individuals and independent media vulnerable to attack. This amounts to gangland retribution from tax avoiding newspaper owning billionaires like Saudi-backed Evgeny Lebedev, Sun and Times owning Rupert Murdoch, and Mail owner Lord Rothermere.

The Landscape

Lots of new right wing parties have emerged in the last few years and now we have lots more right wing media coming – backed by Murdoch, Andrew Neil and Tory apparatchik Robbie Gibb. 

Deplatforming

Facebook announced last week that it is depoliticising its content and promoting small business instead.

Facebook will pay mainstream media outlets to distribute their propaganda.

This would make Facebook more like a shop – or a social credit rating agency – akin to Ali Baba in China.

There is a school of thought that All Data is Credit Data – as documented by Emily Rosamond.

Professor Beverley Skeggs carried out a project on Facebook in 2017:

Of course it won’t help small businesses that specialise in publishing political content!

FT Piece on proposals for Dacre to run Ofcom

Below the Line

On Dacre’s possible appointment all a trusted high level former insider could say was “Bonkers!”

This level of Revolving Door Corruption & Engineering of Consent is pure banana republic stuff —  but at least Guatemala have bananas

Bananas

I like to eat bananas ‘cos they got no bones, I like marijuana ‘cos it gets me stoned:

Mud
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Prominent Anti-Press Regulation Editor Paul Dacre to run BBC & Social Media Regulator OFCOM?

Reactions to Proposed Appointment of Paul Dacre as Head of OFCOM

4 Step BBC Control Demolition

Tim Davie, the new Director General of the BBC, was once Deputy Leader of the Tory contingent of Hammersmith and Fulham Council.

Richard Sharp, the new BBC chairman, is ex-Goldman Sachs where he managed the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, has given £400k to the Tories, and sits on the board of several hard right conservative think-thanks.

Professor Brian Cathcart

Alan Rusbridger & Peter Oborne

New Sheriff in Town

There is a view that Auntie is safe from the Sheriff of Silicon Valley

James Schneider

Much of the media isn’t very free. Three billionaires, including Paul Dacre’s employer, own much of the printed press that helps set the news agenda for broadcasters. And the government has undue influence over the BBC through implied threats in the Charter renewal process and appointments to top positions. The BBC’s new chair, appointed by Boris Johnson, is a banker, Rishi Sunak’s former boss and a donor to the Conservative Party. 

In short, the interests of the rich and the powerful shape the terms of what we read, hear and watch. Dacre’s proposed appointment to run OFCOM, the UK’s communication regulator, makes clear that our media works for the few, not for the many. 

We need a campaign to not just block these appalling appointments, but democratise the media and set journalists free, so they can pursue fact-based, truth seeking reporting that challenges, not reinforces power.

James Schneider, former Labour Party Director of Strategic Communications

Cockney Hunt

This one’s from June 2017