"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Propaganda and the BBC

by Alex Doherty

In a speech given at the Enviromedia conference in Johannesburg in October of last year George Monbiot, one of Britain's best journalists offered an explanation for the general subservience of mainstream reporting in the UK. During his speech he remarked that thankfully there are a few British media institutions which we can be somewhat proud of:

"there is a very limited number of outlets that I would broadly describe as "free". By free I don't mean that the product is given away. I mean that it is free from the direct influence of private proprietors...
The most famous is the BBC. It is not free of all influence, by any means. It is run by the state and financed by a tax on the ownership of televisions, called the licence fee. From time to time it is spectacularly and disastrously disciplined by the government, generally acting in concert with the right-wing press. It operates in a hostile environment, and the perspectives of its enemies - the enemies of free speech - often inform its coverage of the world's affairs. But there is no proprietor to tell it "you cannot do such and such because that offends the interests of my shareholders"."