Journalism in the UK is under threat from a repressive, authoritarian government

media networks on Twitter

Media network community, from The University of Exeter’s study – Different News for Different Views: Political News-sharing Communities on Social Media Through the UK General Election in 2015

In the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, an annual report produced by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Britain was judged to have been in 40th place. This compared to Norway and Sweden at the top of the index, with the UK placed below Trinidad and Tobago and only just ahead of Taiwan. The United States is also trailing, to the dismay of US media organisations, at 45 on the list (with North Korea in bottom place, at 180). 

The Index is based on an evaluation of media freedom that measures pluralism, media independence, the quality of the legal framework and the safety of journalists in 180 countries. It is compiled by means of a survey questionnaire in 20 languages that is completed by experts all over the world. This qualitative analysis is combined with quantitative data on abuses and acts of violence against journalists during the period evaluated.

Last year, the World Press Freedom Index report said“The election of the 45th president of the United States set off a witchhunt against journalists. Donald Trump’s repeated diatribes against the Fourth Estate and its representatives – accusing them of being “among the most dishonest human beings on earth” and of deliberately spreading “fake news” – compromise a long US tradition of defending freedom of expression. The hate speech used by the new boss in the White House and his accusations of lying also helped to disinhibit attacks on the media almost everywhere in the world, including in democratic countries.”


Britain’s ranking, from the World Press Freedom Index 2018

The recent report has drawn attention to several issues that may have contributed to the UK’s place in the ranking. It says: “A continued heavy-handed approach towards the press (often in the name of national security) has resulted in the UK keeping its status as one of the worst-ranked Western European countries in the World Press Freedom Index.” 



The erosion of democracy and the repression of mainstream media in the UK

The BBC’s ‘churnalism’ and the government’s PR and strategic communications crib sheet 

Inverted totalitarianism and neoliberism 

Dishonest ways of being dishonest: an exploration of Conservative euphemisms

Once you hear the jackboots, it’s too late



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16 thoughts on “Journalism in the UK is under threat from a repressive, authoritarian government

    1. No. I’m only in that study by chance, as at the time, my site was ranked among the 20 most influential political sites just before the GE. Clearly not as influential as I’d have liked on the GE outcome.

      It was a study conducted on Twitter, and it explored the links shared between “communities”. I can’t understand why my blog, the Conversation, BBC, and the flippin’ Standard are all in the same grouping, as both my site and the Conversation’s (mostly) don’t really touch mainstream “news” without what would be seen as fairly radical criticism, so not sure on the criteria for the communities’ associations. But no-one could accuse that group of being in a political allegiance bubble. I need to re-read the methodology and aims of the research again.


  1. “Amber Rudd has repeatedly threatening to restrict encryption software and announcing plans for other disturbing measures.”

    “The government released the proposals citing the “new reality” of the 21st-century internet and national security dangers as justification for a more “robust” system of prosecution.”

    Matt Hancock, DCMS Secretary of State said:
    People increasingly live their lives through online platforms so it’s more important than ever that people are safe and parents can have confidence they can keep their children from harm. The measures we’re taking forward today will help make sure children are protected online and balance the need for safety with the great freedoms the internet brings just as we have to strike this balance offline.

    One would suppose from reading this that there is genuine governmental concern regarding our children. But then we read that they don’t care at all:-

    Child poverty in UK at highest level since 2010, official figures show
    About 30% of Britain’s children are now classified as poor, of whom two-thirds are from working families…
    About 100,000 children fell into relative poverty in 2015-16, a year on year increase of one percentage point, according to household data published by the government on Thursday. About 4 million, or around 30%, are now classed as poor.
    Children in UK’s poorest areas 10 times more likely to go into care…

    The latest annual rise was relatively modest, but analysts said planned cuts to working-age benefits were likely to dramatically increase poverty rates over the next three years.

    Campbell Robb, the chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “These troubling figures are warning signs we could be at the beginning of a sharp rise in poverty, with forecasts suggesting child poverty could rise further by 2021.”

    The truth is they don’t give a damn about children and having disabled the mainstream press the government will now turn it’s attention to to doing the same to the Internet. Online news outlets, bloggers and RT will be next for the chop. The Tories are using the usual dirty tricks, the emotions as a leaver to control the Internet.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The Loughborough University image uses the word weighing when it should be weighting.
    Is there any way to get the image changed?
    I think THE major problem these days is that any commitment to real journalism – if it ever existed – in the mass media has been replaced by primping “personalities” who put their own careers first.
    BBC 2’s Newsnight is a good example of a programme offering analysis which now dwells largely in sensation and cheap provocation.
    I hardly ever watch it these days as it is mainly junk and manipulative junk at that.


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