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Aidan White

Published: 25 July 2013

Country: UK

By Aidan White

harriet harmanThe men who run Britain’s national newspapers (and a couple of women) have been put on the spot by Labour’s Deputy Leader Harriet Harman who has challenged them to come clean about their employment of older women in the newsroom. In a letter to editors she says that that a "balanced team" including older women is needed to ensure balanced reporting.

“We see the world through news and comment in our newspapers so a balanced team which includes older women is needed to report the world as they see it,” says Harman. “Equality is not just important in principle – it is important for the quality of newspaper reporting and comment."

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Dasha Ilic

Published: 1 July 2013

Country: UK, London

By Sue Caro*

raprazent flyerWithin the UK context, age is one of the areas covered by the Equality Act and as such is known as a ‘protected characteristic’ You are probably familiar with the issue of age discrimination against older people – which often goes hand in hand with gender discrimination – but what about the other end of the age spectrum, young people?

According to Press4Change, 76 per cent of UK media coverage of young people is negative resulting in many young people (who represent the UK’s future), feeling demonised and alienated whilst also creating suspicion and fear of young people in other sections of the population, particularly amongst the elderly, causing divisions and worsening social cohesion. When David Cameron and his fellow travellers claim that ‘Britain is broken’ maybe they should be examining media practices more closely as opposed to blaming ‘feral youths’ for all society’s ills?

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Farid Littleproud

Published: 19 June 2013

Region: Worldwide

by Lorena Martínez

Refugeeday12012 has registered the highest number of refugees and internally displaced people than at any time since 1994, according to the latest data published today by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). They report that more than 45 million people were displayed last year.

The coming Refugee Day, 20th June, has led to an increase in the number of articles in the media covering this topic, especially due to the conflict in Syria, which has emerged as a major new factor in global displacement.

Several official studies and reports have addressed the question of how to report on refugees and migration and analysed the mistakes that journalists make when they cover this issue.

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Aidan White

Published: 31 May 2013

Region: UK, Worldwide

by Aidan White

woolwichThe brutal daylight killing of a soldier in Woolwich and the media coverage that followed it has increased the fears of many in Britain that Muslims pose a threat to democracy.

The incident has also put the issue of hate speech squarely on the political agenda and posed fresh questions about responsible journalism.

At the same time there are political calls for new laws over hate-speech and privacy rights that could limit media freedom.

If this happens journalists may only have themselves to blame. The media firestorm around the killing has prompted a controversial debate about reporting which some people say has itself stirred up emotions and hatred.

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Aidan White

Published: 18 April 2013

Country: US

by Aidan White

boston bombingWhen media jump to dangerous conclusions in reporting acts of terrorism it can victimise the innocent and reinforce hatreds. This has been highlighted in coverage of the tragic events in Boston this week.

A twenty-year-old man watching the conclusion of the Boston Marathon had his body torn into by the force of the bomb, which killed three people and injured 176, many of them seriously.

But he was the only victim who, while in the hospital being treated for his wounds, had his apartment searched in “a startling show of force” according to neighbours who watched in amazement as police ransacked his apartment and took away some of personal belongings.

It was this action – as a result of racial profiling by the police – that provided the basis for a widely-criticised report in the  tabloid New York Post which boldly and inaccurately claimed that 12 people were killed in the explosions and, more alarmingly, that a "Saudi national who suffered shrapnel wounds" had been identified as "a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing."

The story, which has yet to be corrected, spread quickly through the usual information pipelines: within 48 hours the story had 48,000 Facebook likes and was tweeted more than 16,000 times.

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Aidan White

Published: 10 April 2013

Region: US

by Aidan White

obamaharris2The widely-publicised apology from Barack Obama for complimenting a leading United States justice official on her good looks has caused a stir about sexism in American media.

Speaking at a fund-raising event at which he talked about his friend Kamala Harris, the California Attorney General, Obama is reported to have said:

"You have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you'd want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake. She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country …."

His final remark was greeted with good humour by the audience with no complaints from Ms Harris, a good friend of the Obamas. But the President apologised later when he was taken to task on Twitter feeds and by media commentators and leading feminists.

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Aidan White

Published: 5 April 2013

Region: Worldwide

by Aidan White

ap logoThe announcement this week by the Associated Press, the world’s biggest news media organisation, that it will no longer use the term "illegal immigrant" is welcome, but long overdue. Some may wonder why it has taken so long for this leader of world journalism to recognise that being called “illegal” without trial or conviction is inaccurate and offensive.

The AP is the decisive authority on word use and editorial style at more than 1,000 mainstream daily newspapers in the United States, and it is used by editors at television, radio and electronic news media both in the US and around the world.

The decision to change its style book comes after a lengthy period of internal debate and external pressure. The agency’s use of the term was condemned last year by former White House adviser Charles Garcia, himself of Hispanic origin, who in an article for CNN noted with disdain how the AP Stylebook described the term “illegal immigrant” as “accurate and neutral.”

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Dasha Ilic

Date: 22 March 2013

Region: UK

by Mike Jempson

Hon Director, MediaWise

uk pressIf the Press think they have been dealt a bad hand by the Royal Charter, they have only their own to blame.

Those who broke the law, or trampled on the rights of others with little regard for the consequences, have ruined it for everyone else.

Editors and proprietors who rushed to the defence of the Press Complaints Commission whenever it was criticised are as culpable as the politicians who preferred to bury their heads in the sand or court the media moguls as evidence mounted over the years that some sections of the press were up to no good.

But the solution to the alleged woes of Britain’s newspapers is also - as ever - in their own hands. It is the publishing industry that has been left with the task setting up its own system of self-regulation. In so far as the Royal Charter and Monday’s amendments to Crime and Courts Bill are concerned, it is easy for the press to avoid huge fines for bad behaviour.

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Aidan White

Published: 13 February 2013

Country: Russia

by Aidan White

Russia protest 2A police attack on a public meeting and the detention of a number of leading feminists and supporters of International Women’s Day in Moscow on March 8th has prompted strong protests from journalists and their union.

According to reports from Moscow demonstrators from the political party Yabloko and a number of feminist and women's organisations gathered to celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day in Russia at Novopushkinsky Park. Soon after the meeting opened, the police arrested two people for distributing a newspaper with articles on the history of feminism, on domestic violence and on the issue of rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people.

The arrest sparked angry protests and the arrest of another dozen people as police attempted to close down the meeting.

Their action was encouraged by some counter demonstrators including a well-known Orthodox Church activist Dmitry Tsorionov. This group threw rotten eggs at the speakers and organisers of the rally. Their actions appeared to be carried out with impunity while the police detained more peaceful protesters and, according to witnesses, physically attacked a number of girls.

The next day most of the detainees were released but many will face charges and the Russian Union of Journalists called a special meeting to protest over the incident.

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