I've been slightly absent from Kos because I've been attending the Leveson Inquiry into Press 'ethics, culture and practice' after the Hackgate scandal. But the opening day was excellently covered by Ceebsand Eric Lewis and - of course - many of the comments were mini diaries in themselves.
My main criticism of the Leveson inquiry is the terms of its remit. As I've been reiterating in interviews, focusing merely on the phone hacking issue is like a Watergate inquiry which only looks at burglary. These abuses of power only happen because of overweening concentration of power: and while the revelations of phone and computer hacking, surveillance, suborning police officers and corporate coverup will no doubt run and run, there is one more timely issue I need your help on: ownership regulations
The Many Versus the Few: Crowd Source the Petition<
1. Petitioning advertisers not to advertise in the News of the World - which eventually led to the paper's closure
2. Petitioning Jeremy Hunt the Culture Secretary (and famous spoonerism) to defer approval of Murdoch's bid to own the remaining 61 percent of our biggest broadcaster by revenues BSkyB.
After the success of both those campaigns, they have both launched online petitions, due to close Friday, to require the British broadcast regulator to limit media ownership
The 38 degrees campaign is already up to 20 thousand signatures. Here's their proforma letter, which you can change, but expresses the issues in a nutshell
SEND YOUR MESSAGE TO OFCOMLET'S STAND UP TO MURDOCH!Dear Ofcom,.
Re- consultation on measuring media plurality
I am calling for:
-no single person or corporation to be able to own more than 20% of the UK's newspapers, radio and TV stations
-details of any meetings between media corporations, government bodies and politicians to be made public
Please note that the BBC is a public institution and should not be treated in the same way as commercial broadcasters
Throughout these tumultuous four months of the Murdoch scandal I have been saying that ownership is key and that Newscorp is the Standard Oil of the Information Age. Avaaz, who I'm pictured hereoutside Parliament with, is also making the same argument.
END THE MURDOCH MAFIA
We have three days to flood Ofcom with our call to kick out the Murdochs for good and secure a future for our democracy.
The Murdochs are running scared, even trying to silence public outcry by filing legal documents that accuse Ofcom of being biased towards public opinion over industry insiders. We already won an inquiry into the stranglehold the Murdoch Mafia has on Britain's media. Now, if enough of us demand that Ofcom listen to the people, not the moguls, we can make sure no one person or corporation ever again controls more than one-fifth of our media.
Ownership limits will bust up the Murdoch Mafia and protect us from future media empires. Let's flood Ofcom's public consultation with our demand for a 20% cap on media ownership! Send a message, then share it with everyone to build our call before Friday's comment deadline!
In his testimony today at the Leveson Inquiry, the Editor of the Guardian also makes the same point about ownership:
Finally – and this speaks to all the modules – it seems to us that there is a pressing need to examine the plurality and competition framework. Only last month the tiny family-owned Kent Messenger group was prevented from taking over seven Northcliffe titles because of the distortion of the newspaper market in East Kent. Yet, until the post-Milly Dowler intervention of MPs, there appeared to be nothing anyone could do to prevent News Corp from effectively doubling its already-remarkable dominance of the British media market by acquiring the 61% of BSkyB it didn't already own.
If you come to the view that there was a genuine fear of News International in public life – partly, but only partly, on account of what private investigators and criminal figures were employed by them to dig up – then it is important, we submit, to recommend a regulatory and legal framework which prevents media companies in this country from acquiring too much dominance.
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITIONS:
My strong belief is that the Leveson inquiry is in danger of limiting real journalism while missing the bigger picture: the hackgate scandal is really less to do with bad journalism, and more about the corruption of elites and the inevitable distortion of news and news values which come from uncompetitive monopoly practice.
If there is a country restriction, then please do forward, facebook or tweet these links to any of your British friends to sign and send onward.
Meanwhile please support Eric Lewis and myself in the crowd-funded Bad Press book, detailing the Fall of the House of Murdoch Saga, and relating how the new crowd-sourced media - especially DailyKos - helped to challenge the old top down media of Newscorp
8:26 AM PT: My addition to the 38 degrees letter
Re- consultation on measuring media plurality
Our modern economies revolve around knowledge and information. Excessive concentrations of media power are therefore as dangerous now as Standard Oil was 100 years ago.
The current Leveson report into the culture and ethics of the press is missing this bigger issue. The exposures of the last four months are only the criminal tip of a larger iceberg - overweening power and arrogance from a Media organisation that got 'Too Big to Quail'.
In order to make sure these abuses of power never happen again, I support these demands for reform of media ownerhsip