The excellent Tabloid Watch blog is 2 years old today, which immediately reminded me that this blog is also just over two years old and that I should spend a few words to acknowledge this fact.
Firstly, it is probably fair to say that the media is probably in a worse condition than when I started blogging. The PCC is finally looking as if it will be scrapped and replaced by some form of actual regulation because the media have demonstrated for too many years and in in too many ways that it is utterly incapable of regulating itself. The defence of media freedom is no longer valid, given that this freedom is currently being abused to bully individuals, demonise minority groups, distort science, mislead on health and destroy lives without any consequence whatsoever. I have never called for any curtailment of freedom for the press, I merely want the newspapers to obey a clear set of rules with clear, firm punishments for breaking these rules. It is not about removing freedom but promoting responsibility and morality. The newspapers have the arrogance to hold others to account, whilst remaining unaccountable. This is not acceptable, it is that simple.
Secondly, today is as good a day as any to recognise the growing numbers of individuals who have started blogging about the media, and the impact that this is having on informal media regulation. Projects are under discussion as to how we can collate the numerous examples of dishonest journalism and publish them to appeal to a wider audience – essentially to preach beyond the converted flock that is likely to frequent media blogs. The Radio 4 programme on Islamophobia in the media has inspired me to start planning some podcasts – utilising the numerous media bloggers – to bring the story of bad journalism to a different format, one perhaps more accessible to new audiences and providing an overview of the worst excesses of our collective media. The media might be worse, but the response of individuals in tackling this has got much better. This is a good thing, and I want to take this opportunity to thank all the other media bloggers for their efforts, patience and commitment to dissecting articles, highlighting hatred and spreading the message that our media needs proper regulation.
And finally I just want to say that hopefully amongst the often rushed, poorly considered and inarticulate posts on this blog I have occasionally been able to rise above such mediocrity to actually write something half-decent on a particular topic. Of late I have been struggling to find the time or energy to write much for a variety of reasons – and I am never sure if I am reaching some kind of conclusion to the blog or whether it is just a lull before the words start to flow easily again.
Anyway, two years on and a good time to remember exactly why I started doing this, and why it is still clear that the media has too much power and too few morals: Juliet Shaw.