Written by Ashleigh Shores


There is no better way to kick-start the month, than with a very insightful and funny lecture on “The end of Free Press” delivered by the British stand-up comedian – Jo Brand, at the HACKED OFF event at the Institution of Education, on December 1st.

jobrandBrand shared some of her ‘not-so great’ experiences of injustice, involving the press and how press regulation in the UK has failed her and many others, in handling breaches of the Editors Code.  She describes how indeed the public needs a FREE but also, and most importantly, an ACCOUNTABLE press.

The touching stories read by those whose lives had been effected, at the hands of reckless Journalism, was a real eye opener for the attendees of the event.

My eyes were opened, more needs to be done, to ensure the media are being monitored more closely and held accountable for any breaches of the regulation policies, as a teeny- tiny print out of ‘correction’ on page 64, to rectify an error splattered on the front page the previous day, just isn’t what I would define as ‘justice’, wouldn’t you agree?

IpsoReckless Journalism has such a huge influence on readers, for example – a common cliché for newspapers, are negative stories involving migrants, the Daily Mail once printed on its front page “4 IN 5 NURSES ON NHS WARDS ARE FOREIGN”, when the actual facts were – “1 in 5 nurses on NHS wards were foreign”, unfortunately, these “miss-prints” can be responsible for driving hate crime/racial attacks; so obviously, IPSO had to step in, right? The ‘toughest regulator’ in all of the West had to correct this error; so, what would happen to these scoundrels?! – They would be instructed to print a tiny ‘Clarifications & Corrections feature, tucked away at the bottom of page 2, stating their mistake – alas, justice is served!? “The toughest regulator in the Western world” is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

Of course, being an aspiring Journalist myself, I did feel slightly disheartened at the fact Journalists seemed to be getting so much stick, what respectable publications were left, for me to seek opportunities with? Should I even think about taking this career path!? However, successful British investigative Journalist – Nick Davis, reassured us “Journalism is an amazing profession, don’t give up on it” – phew!  If we all, work together towards going back to the core of the Leveson inquiry, (creating an independent regulator, that actually holds its press accountable for its actions), then it would actually increase the freedom of the press, as we would be obliged by the policies in place, to report on facts, leaving us less likely to be sued (as long as you follow the rules and respect people rights- yes, ‘rights’, people do actually have this thing called, ‘rights’) ; who knows, Journalists might actually lose their ‘bad guy’ reputation.

So stand with us, and in Jo Brands words “Help the David’s fight the Goliaths”

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"Important and inspiring work, as ever"

Riz Ahmed
Actor & Musician

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