Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Time For Media Reform In The UK

Once upon a time a media mogul could make or break a government. Indeed, the UK's most widely rad newspaper, the semi-pornographic 'The Sun' was often credited with winning elections.

With one man, Rupert Murdoch, essentially controlling the UK's only satellite broadcaster with nearly 10 million homes, more than a third of UK homes, (and therefore controlling pretty much all sports coverage in the UK), and also the top 'broadsheet' (The Times) and the top tabloid (The Sun), his recent decision to back the Conservative party since will reform his only serious competition (the BBC) has resulted in a barrage of side on fire from his various properties (his 36% control of BSkyB is absolute despite being a minority, but gets around competition rules). It should be pointed out that BSkyB also controls a significant minority of the UK's largest commercial broadcaster, ITV, although it is meant to be selling this stake.

But Murdoch has been losing his touch of late, as we've chronicled on this blog. His understanding of the x 2.0 world is non-existent.

Now, this is showing even in his editorial line. Using The Sun he has run a campaign against the luckless UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, senselessly using the mother of a casualty from the Afghan War as a vehicle. It would have made Hearst blush.

The outcome has again drawn serious questions over the BBC's news coverage and has certainly backfired on the proponent.

Whilst, there is no doubt that the BBC needs reforming, the increasingly powerful media monopolies run by NewsCorp and Google need to be factored into a fundamental review of British media.

Gordon Brown, for all his failings, is probably too ethical to take direct revenge on the obnoxious Sun and its immoral owner, but, for once in his life, he should be decisive and strike back. Next to health, defence and other social issues, the media is often a footnote, but the tail is seriously wagging the dog in the UK at present.