Michael Gove recently criticised the Leveson Inquiry for creating a ‘chilling atmosphere’ towards press freedoms.
‘Politicians should recognise that we have nothing to gain and everything to lose from fettering the press, which has helped keep us honest in the past,’ he said, adding that, ‘standards of debate are higher in this country than in other jurisdictions.’
However, a recent YouGov poll revealed that only 38% of UK adults trusted newspapers. Television, which is regulated by Ofcom, has higher levels of trust, at 64%. Radio, also regulated by Ofcom, is trusted by 58% of people in the UK, the survey revealed.
A Leveson Inquiry briefing on media regulation presented by Mark Thompson of the Open Society Foundations (OSF), stated that Denmark, which ranked in the top ten in the World Press Freedom Index 2011-2012, ‘appears to provide living proof that what a previous British home secretary called “a statutory underpinning” need not have chilling or repressive effects on the print media.’
Former tabloid journalist Richard Peppiatt has worked for a number of red top papers. After spending two years at The Daily Star, he left last year due to what he calls “deeply irresponsible coverage of Islam”. He quit The Daily Star in a rather public way and, upon leaving his post, The Guardian published Peppiatt’s letter to The Daily Star’s proprietor, Richard Desmond. In the letter Peppiatt spoke of the paper’s “endemic lack of self-perception” and the “backbone” he discovered before leaving. I met Richard in his Highbury home and asked him what it was like to work for the popular tabloid newspaper and what he thinks about The Alternative Leveson.
Yasmin: As a reporter at The Daily Star you donned everything from a burka to a John Lennon outfit in order to get a story. Is that part and parcel of being a tabloid reporter?
Richard: My main complaint was the blatant Islamophobia at the paper. It wasn’t something new but it got completely out of control. I wanted to raise awareness and certainly didn’t want toplay a part in it anymore. A lot of the staff were unhappy at the coverage of Islam yet they continued to put these stories together, even if it didn’t reflect the facts and figures behind them. It had more to do with finding the facts that fitted within the narrative.
Over the past decade, a number of academic studies have indicated a worrying and disproportionate trend towards negative, distorted and even fabricated reports in media coverage of the Muslim community. Recent research at Cambridge University concludes that “a wider set of representations of Islam would signify a welcome change to reporting practices. Muslims deserve a better press than they have been given in the past decade” and according to a recent poll, one in three people in Britain today believe that the media is responsible for “whipping up a climate of fear of Islam in the UK” (ComRes).
Posted by Roy Greenslade
Thursday 5 January 2012 11.05 GMT – http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2012/jan/05/islam-leveson-inquiry
An “alternative Leveson inquiry” is being set up by an Islamic TV channel in order to investigate the way in which British media report on Muslim and Islamic affairs.
The Islam Channel is planning to appoint a judge with an independent panel of assessors – just like Leveson – to carry out the inquiry.
Its springboard was a public opinion poll which found that people believe the media are responsible for “whipping up a climate of fear of Islam in the UK.”
The poll, by ComRes, was published in July, the month in which the Leveson inquiry was instituted.
According to its findings, people are twice as likely to say the media is to blame for Islamophobia (29%) than far-right groups (13%), or Muslims themselves, whether abroad (14%) or in the UK (11%).
- RT @mediaguardian: #Leveson's distinction between web and print news 'will undermine regulation': http://t.co/5WSUgcg1
- RT @HEEDLINES: No cultural diverity in case studies in culture and ethics sect. of #Leveson report. We need an alternative inquiry @AltL ...
- RT @HEEDLINES: Less than 15% have 'quite a lot' of confidence in press. Under 5% have 'a great deal'. http://t.co/sBa5xsIM @altleveson ...