The not-so-free press

George Orwell famously said journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations. In a world festooned with PR exercises and reputation management, was Mr Orwell overly cynical, or was he well ahead of his time? With print media’s business model in free fall, newspaper proprietors are increasingly desperate to find ways to ensure financial viability. The problem with this approach is that corporate interests can and often do trump the interests of readers. Joining us to discuss how free the UK press really is are the lecturer in journalism and media studies at Birkbeck College, Justin Schlosberg, and the editor of Open Media at openDemocracy, James Cusick.

Democracy in crisis: Where front is back, white is black and lies are truth

Almost half of the UK’s combined print and online press is owned by just two billionaires – which confirms renowned American journalist, A J Liebling’s adage that “freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” We ask what this has meant for the recent coverage of local elections.