The media

Rendezvous in Northern Ireland?

Martin McGuinness shaking the Queen's hand offended socialists because of our contempt for the institution of monarchy but his motive at least was progressive, and also republican in the sense defined by the founder of modern Irish republicanism Wolfe Tone — “to replace the name Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter with the common name Irishman”.

In a hugely symbolic moment on 27 June, during a royal visit to Northern Ireland to mark her jubilee, the former commander of the IRA shook hands with the Queen.

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The most homophobic election ever

Author: 

Peter Tatchell

I was the left-wing pro-LGBT rights Labour candidate.

Described by many commentators as the dirtiest, most violent and homophobic by-election in modern British history, I went down to a crushing defeat at the hands of the Liberal candidate, Simon Hughes.

At Ideas for Freedom, 7-10 July, Peter Tatchell will speak on the struggle for LGBT rights in the labour movement. Peter Tatchell was the Labour Party Parliamentary candidate for the Bermondsey by-election in 1983.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Letter: Make high salaries public

Author: 

Matthew Thompson

Elizabeth Butterworth is right to highlight the threat the Tories’ White Paper on broadcasting poses to the BBC (“Don’t Close the BBC!”, Solidarity<.i> 404).

One minor reservation: it’s hard to argue with the “White Paper calling for presenters’ wages to be made public”. Shouldn’t we be in favour of the high salaries paid by the Corporation to its executives and “stars” being made public?

On the issue of bias towards and interference from Government, I think this operates on three levels.

Shouldn’t we be in favour of the high salaries paid by the BBC to its executives and “stars” being made public?

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Don't close the BBC!

Author: 

Elizabeth Butterworth

Broadcasters, actors and screenwriters have jumped to defend the BBC against the Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, who recently reportedly told Cambridge University's Conservative Association that closing the BBC was a tempting prospect.

Broadcasters, actors and screenwriters have jumped to defend the BBC against the Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale.

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The press, regulation, and personal privacy

Author: 

Matt Cooper

Workers’ Liberty draws on and stands in a long tradition of the left standing up for the freedom of the press and free speech.

We believe the attacks the Guardian and its journalists faced over the publication of Edward Snowden’s revelations showed the unequal battle the press often faces when pitted against state power. Much of the privately-owned media has abandoned serious reporting and analysis of the news.

The vast majority of journalists want to write accurate news about important issues, not Z-list celebrity tittle-tattle; those journalists should organise. Beyond that we need a media that is under social, not private or state control. As much as issues of private privacy are important, it is unlikely that short-term palliatives to protect rights to privacy will move us closer to that goal.

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The metamorphosis of Andrew Gilligan

Author: 

David Osland

Andrew Gilligan, it should not be forgotten, once saw better days. Thirteen years ago, the BBC reporter’s role in making clear that the Blair administration purposely sexed up the first of the two dossiers advanced in fraudulent justification for the invasion of Iraq should rightly have won him every journalistic prize going, not to mention the plaudits of the entire left.

People who engage in politics at any level should be subject to scrutiny. But repeated corrosive attacks in mass circulation newspapers, with no means of redress, raises the obvious question of just who is being bullied here.

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Prevent: not convinced

Omar Raii (Solidarity 390) and Patrick Murphy (Solidarity 391) both draw attention to the shortcomings and potential dangers of the Prevent programme, aimed at countering “extremism”/”radicalisation” in schools and colleges.

Two views on the Government's Prevent "anti-extremism" programme.

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Anti-Muslim campaign targets Sadiq Khan

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

The campaign to stop Sadiq Khan being elected Mayor of London is starting to get a nasty, distinctly racist, anti-Muslim flavour.

The campaign to stop Sadiq Khan being elected Mayor of London is starting to get a nasty, distinctly racist, anti-Muslim flavour.

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Right-wing press attacks Momentum activists

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

Following the first democratic national committee meeting for Momentum, the Daily Telegraph has published an attack, written by notorious right-wing hack Andrew Gilligan, on people elected from the meeting to the Momentum steering committee, as well as on the organisation more broadly.

The article is full of lies and inventions, including a claim that the Momentum NC was appointed — when in fact, following some arguments in Momentum, it was elected by a more democratic process. Gilligan's attacks focuses on individuals.

Attacks in the Telegraph attempt to smear Momentum.

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When printworkers took on Rupert Murdoch

Author: 

Cathy Nugent

In 1986, Rupert Murdoch, working closely with the Thatcher government, set out to smash the print unions. Knowing how Murdoch did that is essential to understanding how he became a feared and feted establishment figure.

Murdoch began his domination of media business in the UK with the acquisition of the News of the World in 1968, followed by the Sun (1969), then the Times and Sunday Times (1981). Soon after acquiring the Times/Sunday Times, Murdoch pushed through major staffing cuts and a wage freeze.

In 1986, Rupert Murdoch, working closely with the Thatcher government, set out to smash the print unions. Knowing how Murdoch did that is essential to understanding how he became a feared and feted establishment figure.

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