Saturday, 23 March 2013

Please consider knee jerk reactions to press regulation...

RIP Lucy Meadows:

I think the press have behaved so disgustingly but it's too easy to just blame them (though they should take in on their conscience, especially Littlejohn). We have a society afraid of difference and unwilling to approach people with empathy. That is something we all must work on. I include myself in this, as we all should.

All of the above said, whilst we can of course tighten up laws against intrusion, and put social and economic pressure on the organisations that control what news we see and how it is reported, I still don't think that "press regulation" is the answer. I don't think you deal with prejudice by silencing it by law and whether I am wrong about that or not I definitely don't think state regulation of what the media can say (and we are the media , blogs, social media, etc... will get caught up in the regulation) is ever a good idea. In fact I think it is yet another step towards a very bad political situation. We already have no real difference between the options of who rules us, we have laws that are giving us less and less freedom, we have a surveillance society, we have a state that suppresses protest, we have increasing pressures on the poorest and more and more laws designed  to protect the position of the richest.

I see so many people who I consider fellow travellers, who are opposed as I am to inequality, who believe in empathy and in a fairer and more sustainable society embracing the idea of state regulation. I can't emphasise enough that the state is not your friend, that there is already too much closeness between press and state, there is already too much focus on the interests of the status quo in our media.

This terrible tragedy does tell us that things need to change. That we need to try and forge a situation where it wouldn't happen again. But press regulation is not the way to do it. Worse than that I am not convinced that press regulation will get rid of transphobia from our media at all. But it will almost certainly silence some descenting voices.

I hate the media and their practices, they hound and mock the vulnerable whilst not challenging the powerful anywhere near enough. But as Amanda Palmer says "we are the media" we can share and focus on different narratives, we can share unreported facts, we can gather together with likeminded people, we can change what sells and by changing what sells we change what is said, because the mass media only publish stories that will make money for the people who back them.

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