The Media in Today's Press 29.10.09

It has been a week since BNP leader, Nick Griffin, appeared on almost eight million television screens. And yet, not much has changed….

Second year Journalism student, Alan Robertson, of Strathclyde University, takes a look at the media stories making it into the pages of today’s papers….

The row over whether to censor the British National Party appearing on the BBC has resurfaced, after the BBC Director-General suggested the party could feature on Question Time up to once a year – after having done so last Thursday evening.

Mark Thompson told the House of Lord’s Communications Committee that the party was entitled to appear on BBC One's flagship show and any other political programmes if it maintains its current level of support.

Under the headline, ‘BNP to Have Annual Question Time Slot’, The Times quotes Thompson saying the Corporation had been considering an initial invitation for “months and years” (page 5). The Scottish Daily Mail (page 5) and The Independent (page 20) also cover proceedings of the Select Committee, while The Guardian contains the Director-General’s denial that Griffin’s appearance was linked to viewing figures. “No part of this decision-making related to a desire to increase ratings,” Thompson said (page 18).

The announcement came on a day in which the far-right leader was met with yet more protests, this time outside a radio station in Hamilton. ‘BNP leader Nick Griffin was pelted with eggs outside a Scots radio station yesterday as he arrived to take part in a phone-in show’, The Sun reports (page 18).

Yesterday, Griffin took part in a phone-in on Lanarkshire radio station, L107 – and got himself pelted with eggs by protestors, for his troubles. On the front page of the Daily Record, station manager, Derek McIntyre, was quoted, saying: “Nobody is going to benefit from having the BNP on their station but we felt it was right for our listeners to be able to put their points to him and ask questions” (see also pages 4 and 5). The Scottish Daily Express reports the hostile reception afforded to the MEP also (page 8), while The Scotsman’s Eddie Barnes describes the phone-in itself as “commercial suicide” after three advertisers withdrew their support for the station (page 3).

In other media news, Lord Mandelson has announced government plans to tackle illegal file-sharing, which could see internet users have their accounts suspended. The Guardian (page 7) describes the strategy as a “last resort” if persistent offenders continue to ignore warnings, while today’s Herald quotes the Business Secretary as saying: “We cannot sit back and do nothing” (page 11). The Scotsman warns the costs of broadband could increase as a result (page 16) and in The Times, Andrew Heaney, Carphone Warehouse’s director of strategy, voices his concern on the plans (page 31).

The Independent, meanwhile, reports tension between several sports association and broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, over plans to force BSkyB to cut prices for rivals to show matches (page 42). Competitors, including Virgin Media and BT, have urged the broadcasting regulator to enforce the rules quickly, The Daily Telegraph says (Business, page 4).

And both Christopher Brooker of the Daily Mail (page 15) and Michael Deacon of The Daily Telegraph (page 26) condemn the BBC for their 'commitment to censorship'.

Other media stories:

* A Cambridge University newspaper website has caused outrage by featuring Page Three girls – The Daily Telegraph (page 3).

* Skye-based West Highland Free Press is to become the first newspaper in the UK to be owned by its employees – The Herald (page 10).

* Google launches music service for internet users in the United States – The Guardian (page 30).

* A joint project between Facebook and the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University has been launched in an effort to create world peace – The Guardian (page 25).

* Barbara Windsor has announced she intends to leave BBC1 soap EastEnders in 2010 – The Sun (page 9), The Guardian (page 18), Daily Record (page 3), The Independent (page 19), The Times (page 11), Scottish Daily Express (page 3) and The Herald (page 5).