A panel of media experts spanning a myriad of nationalities have come out united in their brutal criticism of British journalists’ coverage of Brexit – it’s a shame they were silent on UK military interventions and Julian Assange.
The group of foreign journalists came together for a conference in London on Thursday to discuss Brexit and the media.
Their primary issue with the state of the UK press is its insistence on publishing Brexit stories based on government leaks and anonymous sources, as well as what they see as a failure to rigorously question the substance of the information received.
Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism director Rasmus Nielsen claimed the “British press is being played like an instrument and it doesn’t care.”
While Stefanie Bolzen, who writes for German newspaper Die Welt, revealed she used to be “in awe” of British journalists. However, she now finds herself “shouting at the radio thinking, why don’t you ask about the substance, you let them get away with it so often.”
Jill Rutter, a senior research fellow at The UK in a Changing Europe said: “I think journalists have been co-opted into being useful idiots for Number 10.”
But are these claims even anything new? I’d suggest that they are not and, despite the fact that their analysis is correct, it is only right to question why this group of ‘media experts’ are choosing the issue of Brexit to make their point.
The answer may lie in the fact that this panel are most likely all passionate about Brexit, and many, if not all, are cheerleaders for the EU, and so through their lens, they see the pro-Leave UK government as adversaries.
I must have missed the conference of similar media experts from Western Europe during the run-up to the failed British military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. I must have been too busy washing my hair when they called a conference to denounce the UK coverage of the imprisonment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange – a journalist who has acted as anything but a “useful idiot” of a nation state.
When trying to understand why many British journalists fail to adequately hold the sitting UK government to account on the issues of the day, it is clear that the subject of media ownership lies at the heart of the issue.
Only three companies; News UK owned by Rupert Murdoch, Lord Rothermere’s Daily Mail Group, and Reach dominate 83 percent of the national newspaper market (up from 71 percent in 2015), according to the Media Reform Coalition.
Until there is media reform within the UK and as long as a few billionaires continue to have a monopoly on the industry, the status quo will prevail and compliant MSM journalists who are afraid of losing their jobs will carry on as usual.
By Omar Baggili ,RT UK
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