Tag Archives: Ofcom

Tory government bid to put their man in charge of Ofcom fails

Paul Dacre: the government destroyed any pretence of impartiality to shoehorn him into Ofcom, but he has given up on it anyway.

Oh dear. How sad (for the Tories). Never mind!

Here’s the story:

The article makes it clear that the Tory government had tried to rig the appointment system after Dacre was rejected first time around:

After failing in his first attempt when an interview panel decided the former editor of the Daily Mail did not fulfil the required criteria, ministers then cleared the way for him to be given another shot.

The panel had deemed him “not appointable”. Now let’s find out how he described his rejection:

He said he had been judged inappropriate to head Ofcom the first time because his “strong convictions” were not compatible with the role.

That would be true enough – Ofcom needs to be impartial so any bias should indeed rule any candidate out of taking the chair.

Dacre – formerly the editor of the Daily Mail – couldn’t resist taking a swipe at the civil service as he announced his withdrawal in The Times:

Dacre described the process of civil service recruitment as an “infelicitous dalliance with the blob”, and suggested it was Whitehall workers rather than politicians “who really run this country”.

No, it’s definitely Tory politicians who have corrupted public life. Ofcom is a prime example; they corrupted the selection process in Dacre’s favour – but you notice he didn’t have anything to say about that!

“The civil service will control (and leak) everything; the process could take a year in which your life will be put on hold; and if you are possessed of an independent mind and are unassociated with the liberal/left, you will have more chance of winning the lottery than getting the job.”

In a final attack on the civil service, Dacre said he was taking up “an exciting new job” in the private sector that “struggles to create the wealth to pay for all those senior civil servants working from home so they can spend more time exercising on their Peloton bikes and polishing their political correctness”.

And good riddance to him. It will be interesting to find out who ends up employing him, and to look up their tax details to ensure they aren’t operating from a tax haven and cheating the Treasury.

The government will now face the task of cleaning up the appointment process that it shamelessly compromised in its bid to shoehorn Dacre in. According to The Guardian,

Concerns were raised about the transparency of the recruitment process.

When the Guardian revealed a lobbyist at a company with close connections to the Conservative party was picked to help select which candidates should be approved, Dacre announced he would not proceed with an application again despite being urged to “by many senior members of the government”.

The government had spent more than a year trying to ease Dacre’s application for the job. After he failed the first interview process the government spent the summer trying to find people willing to sit on a fresh interview panel for the job, with many individuals reluctant to put their name to the process. The job description was also rewritten to favour a more confrontational candidate, in another move seen as favouring Dacre.

The government now has just 10 days to find another preferred candidate, with applications due by 29 November.

Do any of you fancy it?

Strangely, the Guardian article doesn’t provide a link to an online application form, and all the gov.uk web pages concerning Ofcom chairmanship applications are out of date.

It’s as if they only want to take applications from the people they choose, don’t you think?

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Join the campaign to keep Tory choice Paul Dacre from running ‘independent’ Ofcom

Paul Dacre: if he’s the Tory choice, then he certainly shouldn’t get the job.

The Conservatives are trying to rig the selection of a new chairman for communications regulator Ofcom.

They want to install former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre, even though he has already been through the selection process and was rejected.

The interview panel deemed him “not appointable” a few months ago – so the Tories have taken time out to appoint a new panel member: Michael Simmonds, a former Conservative Party advisor who is married to Conservative MP Nick Gibb (and therefore brother-in-law to BBC board member Sir Robbie Gibb, himself a former Downing Street comms chief under Theresa May).

In fact, the interview panel’s connections with the Conservatives are multiple (and therefore extremely suspicious). See the Guardian article (link below) for further details.

They have also rewritten the job description.

The intention seems clear – as the Good Law Project states in its article (link below): “When Boris Johnson doesn’t like the outcome of an official process, he tries to rip up the rules and start again.

“Ministers… are now shamelessly pushing to appoint Mr Dacre by adjusting the requirements of the role and re-running the recruitment process with a different interview panel.”

Lawyers acting for the Good Law Project have written to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who has the ultimate say over the appointment, stating that this “second competition raises very serious concerns, in particular as to whether it has been held, and designed, in order to favour Mr Dacre’s candidacy”. And they have a point.

Ofcom should be independent of both the Government and the services it regulates. The appointment process must follow the rules of the Governance Code for Public Appointments: whoever is hired should be selected on merit, through an open and fair process.

The Governance Code for Public Appointments does allow for Ministers to appoint someone who is not deemed “appointable” by the Assessment Panel. But there are safeguards built into the Governance Code: they must first consult the Commissioner for Public Appointments, and they are required to explain their reasons and justify their decision publicly.

“The reason why Ofcom must remain independent of Government is the same reason the media must remain independent of Government: neither can do their job if they are in the Government’s pocket,” states the GLP in its article.

“We’re asking the Secretary of State to explain why the competition for Chair is being rerun and why Mr Dacre is being allowed to reapply.”

Unfortunately, the Culture Secretary is Nadine Dorries.

The GLP says it wants proper answers but is hardly likely to get any from her.

It is threatening court action if it doesn’t get them.

You can help… try… to change Dorries’s mind – by signing a petition calling on Dorries not to appoint Dacre.

Also the video is worth watching.

In honesty, this will probably end up in court. The Tories want to dismantle the BBC – despite having stuffed it with their own people – and they know Dacre will help them do it.

But this would be blatant government interference in an organisation that should be independent.

And it needs to be fought.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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If Johnson makes Dacre chair of Ofcom he’ll be betraying the BBC – and the facts

As editor of the Daily Heil, Paul Dacre spent decades misleading the general public with an increasingly right-wing slant on the news, for a sadly increasing proportion of the public with increasingly stiff right arms.

That’s This Writer’s opinion. If Boris Johnson appoints him to chair Ofcom, the communications watchdog organisation, then he will have an opportunity to impose his bias across all of the UK’s media organisations.

I know. Ofcom is supposed to be impartial. But that’s in a properly-run United Kingdom and ours is being run by Boris Johnson. A majority of people wanted it and the rest of us have to just get used to it while we wait for the chance to get rid of it.

According to The Guardian, his first task – handed down by Johnson – will be to target the BBC, despite the fact that Auntie has bent over backwards for him and the Conservative Party since it slithered back into public office in 2010.

It will be a betrayal of the public service broadcaster. But what did anybody at the BBC – even its new Tory-donating chairman – expect? A news organisation with even the briefest brief to actually inform the public impartially is anathema to a political party that survives on propaganda and outright lies.

Remember: seven-eighths of the Conservatives’ election campaign in 2019 was found to be lies.

There is a lot wrong with the BBC, it’s true – but that is mostly caused by the overt Tory influence exerted at its highest levels. Impose impartiality and these problems may disappear.

But that will never happen under a Conservative administration.

Instead, your BBC is likely to be dismantled; your licence fee divided between Tory-donating businesspeople.

That is what appointed Dacre to chair Ofcom means. To me.

And I don’t think I’m alone:

There is only one way to stop this – and all the other elements that mark out Boris Johnsons wholesale corruption of public life.

He hates adverse publicity.

If you think this should be stopped, then get on the social media and say so. Write to your local (and national) newspapers and say so.

You could even try to get yourself on Points of View, Any Answers or Question Time – Richard Sharp (he’s the Tory-donating BBC chair I mentioned above) will hate you for doing it but you have every right to!

Or you could just sit back and sink into lockdown-derived depression. It’s up to you but personally I’d rather try to do something than be blamed for apathy by the future.

Source: Johnson poised to appoint Paul Dacre chair of Ofcom | Ofcom | The Guardian

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The Johnson age of corruption and patronage: he appoints Dacre to run Ofcom and Moore to the BBC

Charles Moore and Paul Dacre: One doesn’t believe in public-service broadcasting, so he has been put in charge of the BBC; the other doesn’t believe in impartial, statutorily-regulated media so he has been given the media regulator Ofcom.

There was no process about these appointments; they are a gift from Boris Johnson to flunkies he wants to do his will.

He knows Dacre will ensure that far-right propaganda gets an easy ride from the broadcasting watchdog because Dacre published far-right propaganda every day in the Daily Heil and gave it an easy ride when he was in charge at the Press Complaints Commission (now IPSO).

This Writer is less familiar with Charles Moore, which tends to indicate that I had a taste of his work and turned away in disgust. From the words of others, I understand there will be no attempt at political balance while he has any say in what goes on at Broadcasting House.

Here‘s the story:

Paul Dacre, former editor of the Daily Mail, has been asked to run the national broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, while Lord Moore, the former editor of the Daily Telegraph and biographer of Margaret Thatcher, is believed to be considering accepting the role of chairman of the BBC.

The provocative choice of two such hardline anti-BBC voices has prompted anger and dismay across the broadcasting and entertainment industry. Speaking to the Observer on Saturday evening the Labour peer Andrew Adonis summed up the response of many to the news. “If true this is Cummings operating straight out of the Trump playbook with the intent to undermine our democratic institutions.”

The former government minister continued: “These would be really disgraceful appointments. Neither Paul Dacre at Ofcom nor Charles Moore at the BBC would believe in the mission of the institution they are running. Dacre demonstrably doesn’t believe in impartially and statutorily regulated media and Moore doesn’t believe in public service broadcasting, as his refusal to pay the licence fee demonstrates.”

This man refuses to pay the TV licence fee and Boris Johnson puts him in charge of the BBC!

If you’re still wondering why it’s a big deal, it means Johnson will control the media through these two puppets – and will get away with more of this:

And here are the responses:

An oligarchy is a small group of people running an entire country. That’s what Johnson wants and that is what he is getting. See this, also:

This last one is ironic:

All the organs mentioned in the tweet are indeed now in right-wing hands.

In related news…

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Is Ofcom reading? Euro economist Bregman’s Twitter takedown of This Week is a revelation

“Worst experience”: Mr Bregman said Davos was “bewildering” but This Week “beats everything”.

Dutch historian Rutger Bregman could be heading for notoriety for a second time this year after he tweeted a damning account of his experiences on BBC political discussion programme This Week.

Mr Bregman, who is best-known for a viral video telling the economic elites in Davos to pay their taxes, explained what happened in this Twitter thread:

This Writer sincerely hopes that Ofcom, which is currently investigating whether the BBC is honouring its obligation to be impartial in its news reporting, has been paying attention. If not, I would encourage Mr Bregman to get in touch with that organisation.

Oh, and his book? It’s called Utopia for Realists – and how we can get there and is available at Amazon and Waterstones.


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BBC defends decision to put Islamophobic white-nationalists on discussion of Christchurch massacre

Impartial? The far-right group Generation Identity was given a platform for its racism on the BBC’s Newsnight programme, where its UK leader was apparently allowed to present his views unchallenged.

Who can keep up with the proliferation of racist, far-right political organisations since the Conservatives slithered back into office in 2010 and started spreading divisive propaganda everywhere?

Political austerity tends to give fascism an opportunity to take root in a society and the UK may well become a textbook example of the phenomenon for historians of the future.

The Tories themselves have encouraged this rise, with their acts of hate against people who are sick and/or disabled, job seekers, immigrants – and descendants of immigrants, and foreigners in general.

Now representatives of these – let’s be honest and call them – fascists are being invited onto our TV screens by the BBC, which should know better.

It’s justification? Apparently it is important to challenge hateful ideologies.

That’s all very well, but is that what happened?

According to the i website, viewers were incensed that the BBC would “give an essentially unchallenged platform to Generation Identity, letting their UK leader spread their ideas and hate”.

The BBC can only claim to have “examined and challenged ideologies that drive hate crimes” if it can show that it actually did so. It seems clear that this did not happen.

This Writer hopes that Ofcom, which is carrying out an inquiry into the BBC’s claims of impartiality, takes note of this latest stain on the corporation’s character.

“BBC has defended its decision to feature the group claiming it was ‘important’ to challenge hateful ideologies.

“A spokesperson for Newsnight told i: ‘It is important we examine and challenge ideologies that drive hate crimes in a wider context, whether they have been distorted, and the connection they may have with any European or UK groups.’”

Source: BBC Newsnight defends inviting far-right Generation Identity to discuss the New Zealand terror attack


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Ofcom is investigating the BBC for bias – and it’s looking bad for Auntie

Not my image: Somebody else made this – indicating that concerns over the BBC’s claim to impartiality are well-founded.

Only on Tuesday this week, I was berating Jo Coburn, presenter of the BBC’s Politics Live, for misrepresenting the assault against Jeremy Corbyn on Sunday.

Now Ofcom is investigating the BBC’s claims to impartiality, after members of the public raised concerns over bias.

I wrote:

Soon after, I was forced to write the following tweet. Note the response I received:

Then yesterday (Wednesday), I noticed a strange attitude towards the Labour anti-Semitism row:

It seems that Ofcom agrees that the BBC’s impartiality has become debatable.

On its website, the regulator announced:

“Our research has revealed many people are generally concerned about both the reliability of content in an era of ‘fake news’, and the negative consequences of disinformation for public trust and democratic processes. Nearly a third (29%) of adult internet users express concerns about disinformation online.

“The BBC has a central role to play in providing trusted, impartial news. Yet our research has shown that audiences consistently rate the impartiality of the BBC’s TV and radio news less highly than many other aspects of BBC’s news output.

“For these reasons we consider it is appropriate to undertake a review, to examine in detail the BBC’s delivery of the first Public Purpose.”

Mention of “the first Public Purpose” is a reference to the BBC’s Royal Charter, under which it has five such purposes.

They are all listed here. The first is “to provide impartial news and information to help people understand and engage with the world around them. The BBC will provide accurate and impartial news, current affairs and factual programming of the highest editorial standards so that all audiences can engage fully with issues across the UK and the world.”

Judging by the behaviour of the Politics Live crew, Auntie will have her work cut out if she wants to avoid a negative report.

(For another perspective on this, please enjoy the Skwawkbox article here.)


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Ofcom report on Rifkind and Straw is more proof Parliament’s standards commission must be scrapped


Tamasin Cave, campaigner for the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency, is right to state that the standards regime is “not fit for purpose and not doing what the public expect of it”.

Cave added that David Cameron had failed in his promise to clean up politics when it comes to MPs being lobbied by corporate interests, and this is also correct.

The current Ofcom report came after Standards Commissioner Kathryn Hudson’s decision on the Rifkind and Straw case was challenged by Labour MP Paul Flynn – and shows he was right to do so.

Furthermore, it has emerged that Rifkind was a member of the panel that helped appoint Hudson as Standards Commissioner, three years ago. Corruption?

The parliamentary standards commissioner Kathryn Hudson is facing questions for criticising the media sting on Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw, after regulator Ofcom found the reporting was of significant public interest and did not unfairly represent the MPs.

Ofcom opened an investigation into the programme in question, a joint operation between Channel 4 and the Daily Telegraph, after Rifkind and Straw were cleared of cash-for-access allegations by Hudson and the standards committee of MPs in September.

The programme used secret filming to allege that the MPs offered their political connections to earn money from commercial companies.

After exonerating the MPs of breaching parliamentary standards, Hudson said the damage done to the former MPs could have been avoided if Channel 4’s Dispatches and the Daily Telegraph had accurately reported the exchanges they had filmed.

The House of Commons standards committee was even more critical of the journalism, saying it was “very concerned that the matter should have been reported in this fashion”.

But Ofcom took a different view on Monday, saying there was a “significant public interest” in exploring the conduct of the MPs and that in the circumstances undercover filming was “proportionate and warranted”.

In its 38-page ruling, Ofcom also said that the filming was an “accurate representation” of the discussions the MPs held.

Source: Parliamentary commissioner faces questions over Rifkind and Straw sting | Media | The Guardian

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‘Sanctions, starvation and evictions are not entertainment. People are dying’

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Are you as utterly sick of televised ‘poverty porn’ as you should be?

Night after night, main offenders Channel 4, Channel 5 – and even the BBC – flood their schedules with nonsense films designed to misinform the public about the lives of the deprived and enlist your collusion in their demonization and destruction.

It’s time somebody put a stop to it, and the United Disability Resistance Movement (UDRM) wants your help to achieve this.

“Some of us have recently been looking at asking our members to write a … letter to the individual members of OFCOM about the media portrayal of benefits ‘scroungers’,” wrote a UDRM representative in a message to This Blog yesterday.

“We think all should unite, able and disabled against the media rhetoric and narrative.

“At UDRM we are convinced that, if all protest groups worked together, we would stand a much better chance of changing things because we all want the same thing in the end. We believe there’s strength in numbers and we are already working with some other groups under the banner of ‘Unite and Fight’.”

The group is asking for anyone who agrees that ‘poverty porn’ should be stopped to send a copy of the following letter to one, many or all of the Ofcom members listed below, indicating their support for the points it makes, in a short campaign over two days between Saturday and Sunday (August 8-9).

It’s up to you.

Here’s the letter. Please consider joining this campaign.

Dear [insert name],

I am writing to complain about the number of programmes on mainstream British television and radio and in British print media at the moment which vilify, target and demonise people who are claiming welfare benefits.

People are being mocked and their struggles are being seen as entertainment when, in fact, it is day-to-day existence for many and not a fictitious variation of shows such as ‘Big Brother’. Sanctions, starvation and evictions are not ‘amusing’ or a joke, they are a reality for many and are horrifying in their brutality. People have died.

Programmes such as ‘Benefits Street’ and ‘Benefits Britain, Life on the Dole’ perpetuate the myth that claiming welfare benefits is a lifestyle choice. Vitriolic articles by so-called commentators such as Katie Hopkins incite hatred. Benefit claimants, migrants and job seekers are being portrayed as scroungers who have chosen a lifestyle of inactivity and modern-day begging. This is not the case. People claim benefits because there is nothing else they can do. People claim benefits because they were born disabled or have become sick later in life. People claim benefits because they have lost their jobs and have been unable to secure a new role. People claim benefits because employers are paying minimum, starvation wages and they cannot afford to feed and clothe their families. People claim benefits because they need help. People claim benefits because they have no choice. This is not entertainment, this is disgusting, this is frightening; this is tragedy.

Further to this, ‘Poverty Porn’ has alarming knock-on effects on the way people who have no choice but to claim benefits to survive are viewed. The result of this misinformation is the alarming increase in hate crime against those who are claiming benefits. Spying on friends and neighbours is encouraged. covert filming and recording is rife. According to the Crown Prosecution Service in 2014 there was a 213 percent increase in the number of prosecutions for hate crime against disabled people. In 2011 the report, ‘Ready Willing and Able’ highlighted the fact that 38 percent of the general public perceived disabled people to be a burden on society. On 24 April 2015 the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein compared British print media’s attitude to migrants to propaganda in 1930s Nazi Germany.

The TUC has stated that “The government’s austerity programme is reshaping the welfare State through cuts in benefits and the privatisation of public services, including health, education and drastically reduced state support. The impact of benefits cuts and of the associated campaign of demonisation of disabled people, the unemployed, migrants, asylum seekers and other vulnerable groups has been catastrophic. Crimes motivated by hate have wider and deeper roots, but austerity has made the problems worse.” This is not healthy. This is frightening. This can only lead to the further disintegration of our society.

I am asking OFCOM to look into this trend in the British media to publicise non-stop ‘poverty porn’ in print, on the radio and on television. I am asking OFCOM to do the right thing. I am asking OFCOM to have the courage to say ‘No More’. The public should be shown the true stories of the struggling majority, not the glamorisation of the extreme minority. Over many years the British press has been lauded for its fairness and unbiased reporting. Please do not allow this to change.

Yours sincerely,

[insert your name]

Here is the list of possible recipients:

[email protected], Mehmuda Mian, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected],
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected],
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

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Media propaganda exposed: Support this complaint against Channel 5

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Well done Carole Ford, who has complained to Ofcom about Channel 5’s misuse of the word “skiver” when referring to people convicted of benefit fraud in the programme Sick Note Skivers Exposed.

In the programme, broadcast at 8pm on July 15, she explains: “All the cases referred to in the programme were cases of criminal fraud. Despite this, the show continually used the term ‘skiver’ interchangeably with ‘fraudster’.

“In one case, the narrator said that the ‘skiver’ was found guilty of seven counts of fraud by the court and the judge told him he was a ‘common criminal’.

“The show had nothing to do with monitoring sick absence, which was only occasionally referred to.

“On the Department [for] Work and Pensions’ own figures, benefit fraud is a negligible 0.7 per cent. The effect will be to encourage public animosity to sick/disabled people. I contend that this is a misrepresentation of the subject of sick absence from work and/or fraudulent claiming of disability benefits.”

If you wish to support Carole’s complaint, Ofcom can be contacted via this link.

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