The Media in the Press 19.2.10

Second-year journalism student, Sian Lower, from Edinburgh Napier University, takes a look at the media in today’s press.

Tory leader, David Cameron, is making headlines today after his comments on advertising and the sexualisation of children. Says Francis Elliot, on page 4 of The Times: “Advertisers who improperly target children and sexualise the young would be banned from bidding for official contracts for three years under a Conservative government. Stealth sales techniques that recruit children to push brands on social networking websites would also be banned. David Cameron announced yesterday.”

Martin McLaughlin of The Scotsman (page 14), meanwhile, writes: “Companies using irresponsible marketing which encourages the sexualisation of children would be banned for three years from bidding for Government advertising contracts.” 

Patrick Wintour (political editor of The Guardian) also covers the story: “The debate over how to protect children from sexualisation intensified yesterday as David Cameron promised to clamp down on irresponsible advertising agencies.” Andrew Woodcock echoes this on page 2 of The Herald, as he quotes Mr. Cameron: “We will ban the most irresponsible marketing techniques and introduce penalties for agencies caught flouting the rules.”

Also today, the Press Complaints Commission continues to come under the spotlight for its decision not to uphold a complaint about a Daily Mail column, by Jan Moir, criticising the lifestyle of the late pop singer, Stephen Gately. On page 11 of The Guardian, Chris Tryhorn writes: “The chief executive of Stonewall, the gay rights group, said yesterday it would be ‘very difficult to recommend’ that anyone from a minority community complain to the Press Complaints Commission, after its ruling on Jan Moir’s Stephen Gately column in the Daily Mail.”

Meanwhile, Frances Gibb (The Times’ legal editor), writes, on page 8: “Tough powers for the Press Complaints Commission and an end to the right of companies to sue for libel will be proposed next week in a long-awaited report by MPs. But the much criticised press watchdog will escape calls for its abolition or for any form of state regulation of the press.”

The BBC is also a recurring negative theme in the news. Ian Burrell – media editor for The Independent – writes on page 14: “Britain’s national newspaper companies, which are already experiencing severe financial difficulties from the growth of the internet and the downturn in advertising during the recession, are furious that the BBC is prepared to compete with them by launching new applications for mobile phones.”

On page 8 of The Guardian, Polly Curtis and Jason Deans write: “The BBC’s head of corporate affairs, Tina Stowell, is attempting to become a Conservative candidate in the general election, prompting Labour calls for her to resign to avoid a conflict of interest.” Page 11 of The Herald reads: “The BBC Trust has been urged to block the corporations’ plans to launch a smartphone news service because it is claimed that it will ‘distort’ the market.”

Other media stories in today’s newspapers:

* “The future of long-running detective series Taggart has been secured, providing a welcome boost for STV executives and staff.” – page 10, The Scotsman

* “Denise Van Outen yesterday vented her anger over losing her judging job on a BBC show, saying, ‘I’m not ill, I am just having a baby’.” – page 9, Scottish Daily Mail