Press freedom under political pressure | Letter

During the election it became clear that relationships with those sections of the media which Boris Johnson and his aides deem too critical would be difficult, writes MediaNorth editor Granville Williams

The changes in the lobby system of parliamentary reporting were made, without consultation, by the No 10 communications director, Lee Cain. Jane Martinson is right to predict that the leaders of the UK and US “will continue to add restrictions, and in other ways make life difficult for the media” (Press freedom: Parliament’s lobby system now at the heart of the battle, 20 January).

In the UK we saw this during the election. MediaNorth produced six issues of ElectionWatch highlighting media bias, and it became clear then that relationships with those sections of the media which Boris Johnson, his adviser Dominic Cummings and Cain deem recalcitrant or too critical would be difficult.

Two examples. When Boris Johnson was feeling the heat over his refusal to be interviewed by Andrew Neil on the BBC, he declared that he was “looking at scrapping the licence fee”.

On Channel 4, the melting ice sculptures prompted Cain to complain to Ofcom and threaten the broadcaster with a review of its licence, which runs out in this parliamentary term, “to look at whether its remit should be better focused”.

These, and many other examples, have prompted MediaNorth to organise a national conference at Leeds Art Gallery on 8 February, titled It’s The Media Stupid! Post-Election Policies for Media Reform. For more information see http://coldtype.net/MediaNorth.html
Granville Williams
Editor, MediaNorth

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

• Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition

Letters

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Cliff Richard and freedom of the press | Letters
Letters: Readers respond after Cliff Richard wins £210,000 in damages over BBC privacy case

Letters

20, Jul, 2018 @4:27 PM

Article image
BBC impartiality is under threat from all sides | Letters
Letters: The corporation is in danger of commercial censorship, writes Dr Kevin Bannon, Elizabeth Budd believes BBC TV news is increasingly cautious, while Nick Nuttgens thinks journalists are asking the wrong questions

Letters

11, Oct, 2020 @3:17 PM

Article image
Johnson’s fear and loathing of the press | Letters
Letters: Downing Street’s bid to bar some journalists from its press briefings is criticised by Ian Bartlett, while John Warburton thinks the move has already backfired

Letters

05, Feb, 2020 @6:37 PM

Article image
Freedom of the press in Indonesian-occupied West Papua | Letter
Letter: Eight members of the House of Lords call on the foreign secretary to take a strong stand against the banning of nearly all foreign media, NGOs and humanitarian agencies from entering West Papua

Letters

22, Jul, 2019 @4:46 PM

Article image
We need stronger stories to counter political lies | Letters
Letters: Worn down by the pandemic and Brexit, the public’s outrage is on a slow burner, writes Anna Ford, while Stuart Morris is more hopeful and has some suggestions, as does Paul Tattam

Letters

17, Jan, 2021 @6:41 PM

Article image
Cummings’ phone and lockdown row | Brief letters
Brief letters: Dominic Cummings | Singular verb | Shared dream | Typical reader | Early starter | Speed learning | Portillo’s pants

Letters

09, Aug, 2020 @4:56 PM

Article image
A shameful attempt to silence critics | Letters
Letters: Oliver Dowden has no proper answer to the BBC Panorama accusations on PPE and so has to resort to an ad hominem attack, writes Richard Burtle. Plus letters from Chas Critcher and Martin Cooper

Letters

08, May, 2020 @3:38 PM

Article image
The press is right to stand up to Boris Johnson and his bullyboy tactics | Gaby Hinsliff
The government wants to pick and choose who holds it to account. That’s not how democracy works, says Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff

Gaby Hinsliff

04, Feb, 2020 @2:44 PM

Article image
Pitfalls of the BBC using independent production companies | Letter
Letters: The corporation already works with independents and is highly innovative, but is hampered by government policies, writes Steve Elliot

Letters

25, Sep, 2020 @3:44 PM

Article image
How truth gets lost in the BBC’s search for balance | Letters
Letters: The broadcaster must countervail the rightwing-dominated print media, writes Dr Richard House, while Dr Richard Milne says it played into Boris Johnson’s hands, and Philip Cunningham warns against false equivalence

Letters

01, Jan, 2020 @6:13 PM