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Tighter controls on tabloids

(12 Posts)
whethergirl Mon 03-Oct-11 16:22:33

After my friend of mine was incorrectly potrayed in a tabloid journalism, it has really got me thinking about how tabloids need to clean up their act. The UK is notorious for their shabby journalism and bad ethics blush. It seems that selling papers is the only priority, no matter what lives they ruin or how they mislead the public. Sensationalised and fabricated stories continue to mock, bully and penalise. Shouldn't be expect more in this day and age? And in this country? Or am I just being a stuck in the mud.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Oct-11 16:43:24

You're not a stuck in the mud... The sad truth, however, is that there is a market for sensationalism and, whilst that market exists, they will supply sensationalist stories and tread on a few toes to get them. Sensation is permissable. However, if they make a mistake, lie or deliberately commit libel, there should be compensation and redress. If the original story warranted a banner headline on Page 1, for example, the apology should not be in tiny font on Page 10.

whethergirl Mon 03-Oct-11 17:03:04

Really? I'm pretty sure there are a lot more lies published than they get in trouble for. Perhaps because it's expensive to sue them. Or difficult to? Otherwise celebrities would be suing every day of the week, surely?

Also, what I find sad is that tabloid newspapers are given a certain amount of credit as an informative newspaper here in the UK, where as in USA for example, everyone knows the famous USA tabloid paper (whose name escapes me at this moment in time) is farcical and full of bullshit. Another example, in France, there are no tabloid newspapers - only tabloid magazines, KNOWN for their gossip content.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Oct-11 20:07:33

Celebrities largely take the view that 'all publicity is good publicity' and that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. They know that ignoring the bad press means it goes away more quickly whereas law-suits make you into an even bigger target. When it comes to ordinary members of the public I think there is a much bigger responsibility because they are not media-savvy, think the press is on their side, and then find what they said and what gets reported can be very different.

twankie Mon 03-Oct-11 21:53:22

the reality is that tabloids, especially... are really only interested in selling newspapers..nothing else..and the reason for this is that they deliver readers to advertisers (where from they get most of their money).. so sensationalism is what sells..ethical ways of behaving apparently don't.

whethergirl Mon 03-Oct-11 22:15:08

I think tabloid journalism is an insult to society. Seriously, when does Jordans' tit's or lates break-up with yet another husband become front page news? Are we seriously this naive?

BadgersPaws Mon 03-Oct-11 22:27:40

"Seriously, when does Jordans' tit's or lates break-up with yet another husband become front page news? Are we seriously this naive?"

The Sun - Circulation 3,000,000 +
The Independent - Circulation less than 200,000

So yes it appears that as a society we truly are "this naive".

Tabloid journalism sucks, but in the end it only gives people what they want to buy, and given those circulation figures it's pretty clear what people want.

Regarding the subject at hand though what can you really do about them? Yes there are plenty examples of awful journalism but also some very good examples of where they get it right.

As it is the police have been trying to use the current laws to bully a Guardian Journalist into revealing who told her that they'd been dragging their heels over the NotW investigations. They were trying to use the Official Secrets act and trying to accuse her of "misconduct in public office" which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Can you imagine what would happen if the tables were to shift in their favour with tighter laws on the press?

So unfortunately while many people will crave a diet or Jordan's plastic cleavage we need a free press because occasionally they do the right thing and reveal things that we need to know.

whethergirl Tue 04-Oct-11 00:01:32

But tabloid journalists abuse their powers. I understand the need for free press, but we all know the difference between good free press and bad free press which doesn't benefit anyone else apart from the newspaper.

I'm just wondering why UK are so notorious for it. In Sweden, for example, journalists have free access to everything - even letters written by the PM. But this is respected and never abused.

Those figures are shocking btw. I mean I don't have anything personal against Sun readers....it's personal choice at the end of the day. But more so the point - yes it's freedom of choice, but surely people need to be protected to some degree? We have adverstising standards for example, to protect people from being mislead and conned.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 04-Oct-11 07:37:38

A free press is a principle without qualification. You can't have a free press... providing they don't say X, Y or Z... because then it isn't free any more. The Press Complaints Commission is pretty poor as a regulatory body, but there are laws of libel to be adhered to and journalists & newspapers can be punished for breaking the law. I think the British press is polarised. There is the populist tabloid end, appealing to a certain readership who prefers celebrity gossip and simplified sensationalism. But this is offset by the broadsheets which have a better reputation by and large... but which aren't so popular. No-one is forcing anyone to read anything. If we don't like the content... as we saw with the NOTW demise... we don't have to buy it.

BadgersPaws Tue 04-Oct-11 15:57:56

"I understand the need for free press, but we all know the difference between good free press and bad free press which doesn't benefit anyone else apart from the newspaper."

Yes I agree it doesn't take much for a person to decide if a newspaper is a crusading champion of investigative journalism or a spreader of tabloid muck. However could you really frame it so precisely in law so as to make sure that ic ould never be abused by the "establishment" to shut up newpapers that are digging about a bit too closely to an uncomfortable truth.

As Cogito says "A free press is a principle without qualification. You can't have a free press... providing they don't say X, Y or Z... because then it isn't free any more."

"I'm just wondering why UK are so notorious for it. In Sweden, for example, journalists have free access to everything"

It's all down to UK consumers, "we" are demonstratively keener on reading about Jordan's latest underwear free outing than we are stories about how our country is run. The Swedes obviously aren't quite so inclined.

"surely people need to be protected to some degree? We have adverstising standards for example, to protect people from being mislead and conned."

We get the press that we deserve and you can't legislate against ignorance and bad taste.

And again do you really want to allow the "establishment" to have the power to decide which stories people need to be "protected" from? How on earth could it even work. Would each News Paper need to be approved prior to publiation? Shudder...

I'm sure the Met Police would have loved to claim that the public needed to be protected from being told about the utterly shambolic way that they were investigating News International.

A free press is the best protection that we as a free society have.

whethergirl Tue 04-Oct-11 21:35:18

I see your point. I guess there does need to be free press and we have to take the bad with the good on that one. It's just a scary thought that The Sun is the most popular newspaper in the country. What does that say about the Uk? That other peoples tits, affairs and scandals are considered to be relevant news? I doubt those journalists are consciously demonstrating free press in the interest of others.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 05-Oct-11 06:27:53

What does it say about the UK?... Says that we have a free press and free speech. Says that British people exercise their right to read whatever they want to read and that the law supports their right to do so. Some newspapers are read for in-depth information and some for entertainment. Some have a political agenda, others are less biased. 'Tits, affairs and scandals' are pretty harmless in the grand scheme of thing... and, as was decided recently in court, the alleged affair of a footballer was a legitimate subject for a story.

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