Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Fourth Estate, Revisited.



One was always inclined to believe everything that appeared in the newspapers - as why would they lie or fabricate items? Perhaps during wars, the reports are manipulated a bit to encourage the populace to fresh efforts, but we are in Peacetime now. However, with falling revenue, corporate ownership, increased costs and the arrival of cyber-news, things are changing. In the UK, some newspapers have been guilty of such aggressive hyperbole in the search for reader approval that they are risking losing advertisers.  Here, we have Leapy Lee (ancient review here). In the US, there’s a newspaper that apparently buys ‘exclusive’ stories... and then sits on them. For truly wacky news, there’s always Rapture Ready, which prepares us for the Second Coming of Christ with appropriate news-items.
In Spain, the Media is broadly owned (and controlled) by four major corporations: ‘...with regard to the independence of the media, ... there are "frequent reports on the pro-government manipulation" of public media, especially since 2012, when the Spanish government changed the way in which it appointed those responsible for public media, leaving it in practice in the hands of the executive. With regard to private media, there is also a lack of independence and autonomy...’. (La Tribuna de Cartagena). El País, created to be a centre-left newspaper, is now so beholden to its corporate owners that it prints fervently pro-conservative stories as a new standard. In contrast to this view, here’s the director of El País: ‘The operations of toxic information through social networks, known as fake news, are a threat not only to the free press, but to Democracy itself. In the face of this epidemic that has spread throughout the world, Antonio Caño claims “as more necessary than ever” quality journalism: “honest, rigorous and respectful of professional rules”...’. Amen to that.
We must face the power of the daily newspapers in Spain, which have persuaded the Government to legislate in their protection, in an attempt to get other news-sources to pay some kind of a canon to link or quote their ‘stories’(by which, we mean ‘factual news reports’): the ‘Canon-AEDE’. As if there is an ownership to occurrence. Meneame, bearded by this rule that says they must compensate the daily newspapers (even though they have boycotted them for the last few years), says it won’t pay. It could, of course, at an extreme, always move to Portugal... GoogleNews, as we know, operates in the entire world, except here in Spain.
Jeremy Corbyn, the hapless British labour leader, makes the point (following the smear attacks in The Express and elsewhere of him conversing with a Russian spy): ‘...A free press is essential to Democracy. We don’t want to close it down – we want to open it up...’.

1 comment:

Lenox said...

And you ran your own newspaper? Mister, you can choose whether to let the content be decided by the powers-that-be or by the advertisers. Pick your choose. Or, as is more likely, some or a lot of both (from Jan)