Gary Younge’s excellent article reveals the mountain that all centre-left parties have to climb to win elections against the massive disadvantage of a hostile, partisan press (The Tories can’t win without the rightwing press on side, Journal, 15 November). It is a national scandal that our democracy is undermined and perverted by rightwing newspaper proprietors like Rupert Murdoch. This unfair advantage is now being added to by Russian state interference and oligarch donations to the Tories. There are also many examples of how the broadcast media, especially the BBC, amplify and fail to properly interrogate Tory propaganda aimed at distorting and misrepresenting Labour policies. Professor Stuart Hall convincingly demonstrated just how the media reproduces and maintains rightwing hegemonic ideology by transmuting it into people’s “common sense”. It is no wonder that the Tory party has been in power for much of the last 100 years, to the detriment of the … [Read more...] about Leftwing parties are up against a biased media
Opportunities challenges and power of media and information
In 1996, the cyberlibertarian activist, poet and essayist John Perry Barlow pronounced a Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace. He poignantly stated: ‘We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.’ Over two decades since, this seems naïve. Worldwide scandals such as Cambridge Analytica, Russia’s 2016 US election meddling, YouTube’s algorithmic propensity to serve up neo-Nazi propaganda and Twitter’s failure to police white supremacists, have progressively populated our news and conversations. In our own backyard, just recently, as the anti-Muslim #मुस्लिमो_का_संपूर्ण_बहिष्कार (total boycott of Muslims) continued to trend, Twitter’s silence was deafening. Virtual and real social … [Read more...] about Can governments control social media? Or can users?
"It's like Jesus Christ and the apostles," said Roberto Casaleggio. "His message, too, became a virus." With a shaggy mane of black, grey and silver hair that reaches to his shoulders, Casaleggio himself would make a good messiah. As it is, he is perhaps the most distrusted man in Italian politics: the web guru who, in just over three years, has turned a comedian's fan club into Italy's second biggest political force; an eminence grise with seemingly magical powers who has never before allowed himself to be interviewed by a newspaper. Last May, the Five Star Movement (M5S), inspired by the comic Beppe Grillo, astonished pundits by storming to victory in a local election in the city of Parma. In October, it topped the polls in the regional election in Sicily. And, with around 17% of voters telling pollsters they will back it in the snap general election next month, the M5S is on course to win between 90 and 100 of the 630 seats in the lower house of the next Italian parliament. As a … [Read more...] about Italy’s web guru tastes power as new political movement goes viral
close Video 'Anonymous' book being panned Anti-Trump aide offers few new details. The controversial anti-Trump book "A Warning" -- written by an anonymous administration official -- hit bookstores on Tuesday and offers a possible clue to the identity of the mysterious author before the book even starts, while challenging Trump supporters to finish the tell-all. “To my children, and the forthcoming generation, whose responsibility it will be to ensure freedom’s torch remains lit and – as many Americans have before them – undertake that it be passed to the next,” the book’s dedication page says, possibly revealing that the author has kids. The author then declares that less than halfway through Trump’s term “top advisers and Cabinet-level officials contemplated what might be called a midnight self-massacre, resigning en masse to call attention to Trump’s misconduct and erratic leadership,” but the plan was … [Read more...] about Anonymous ‘A Warning’ author gives tiny clue to identity, challenges Trump supporters
The haunting image of a couple with a toddler, accompanied by the headline “Don’t keep us in the dark” was published on the front pages of mastheads in regional Queensland, NSW, the Northern Territory and Victoria. The front page subhead asks: “When government keeps the truth from you, what are they covering up?” News Corp’s regional newspapers have thrown their weight behind the press freedom campaign.Source:Supplied In Hobart, The Mercury produced a damning front page exposing local government secrecy, with the headline “History Redacted”. The move forms part of the Right to Know campaign by Australia’s major media organisations targeting growing government overreach to stop journalists informing the public of matters of public interest. It is the second time in the past month News Corp’s regional newspapers have published a front page dedicated to informing their readers of how governments - local, state and federal - are … [Read more...] about Press freedom: Regionals hit back with powerful message