Media Activism: Media Change?

Fenton, Natalie. 2018. Media Activism: Media Change? In: Graham Meikle, ed. Routledge Companion to Media and Activism. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781138202030 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Every once in a while something happens that causes such outrage and public consternation that it makes it impossible for politicians to avoid acting. Such events rarely occur in isolation but speak to a history that has been accumulating over time – rubbish that has been gathering in the streets until finally the stench is too overbearing to ignore and something has to be done to clean up the yard and made it habitable once more. The phone hacking scandal in the UK was one such event (Davies, 2014).

In the summer of 2011 the national daily newspaper, News Of the World, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News International, stood accused of illegal, unethical behaviour through the systematic phone hacking of politicians, members of the royal family, celebrities, murder victims and their families. Murdoch subsequently closed down the News of the World and several ex-editors and journalists found themselves under criminal investigation. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, publicly embarrassed by his employment of Andy Coulson (a former editor of News of the World), as his director of communications, who was arrested by the Metropolitan Police Service in July 2011 for allegations of corruption and phone hacking, called for a public inquiry chaired by Lord Justice Leveson to investigate the issues involved. This very public shaming of certain sections of the media, combined with political circumstances, brought about a very public response from the prime minister, and sparked a reinvigorated approach to media reform in the UK led by two campaign groups: Hacked Off and the Media Reform Coalition (MRC). This chapter reflects on the author’s involvement in the Hacked Off Campaign (as vice-chair of the Board of Directors) and the MRC (as a founding member), and considers what we can learn from them practically as media activists, and how they can inform our thinking theoretically as media scholars.

Item Type:

Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies
Media, Communications and Cultural Studies > Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre


30 March 2018Published

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Date Deposited:

16 Oct 2017 12:18

Last Modified:

27 Feb 2019 12:16


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