Nicholas Jones - Blog and Archive Website

Fresh claims have been made about government manipulation of the BBC’scoverage of the 1984-5 miners’ strike.  It is now alleged that specific instructions were issued from the “highest level of government” to ensure that the BBC’s camera crews focused on the miners’ violence and not on “the police smashing heads”.  The allegation has been made by the former Daily Mirror industrial editor Geoffrey Goodman, chairman of the editorial board of British Journalism Review, who insisted he has an “impeccable source”.  But in a speech on the Untold History of the Miners’ Strike, former BBC industrial correspondent Nicholas Jones said he did not believe that such instruction was issued. However, he acknowledged that towards the end of the year long strike the balance of coverage tipped firmly in favour of Margaret Thatcher and the National Coal Board.     

Whatever reservations there might be over the way the leaked information was obtained, the publication of hitherto secret details about the endemic abuse of MPs’ expenses was without doubt in the public interest.  

Whether it was cash for questions or dodgy donations for peerages, politicians have all too regularly shown an almost suicidal disregard for the proper management of their financial affairs.  What has proved so damaging about the latest scandal over claims for second homes, furnishings and food was the systematic way in which so many MPs were prepared to abuse the taxpayers’ generosity.

Campaign managers for the general elections of 2001 and 2005 were forced to take account of the impact which the 24-hour television news channels began to exercise over the daily political agenda, a process of readjustment which looks like speeding up yet again due to the influence of bloggers and the expanding audio-visual output of newspaper websites.

 London, May 1, 2009
Andrew Gilliagn (l) and Jamie SheaA chilling insight into the military mindset -- as explained by Nato’s leading media strategist Jamie Shea -- provided an unexpected but revealing talking point at UNESCO’s annual world press freedom day debate on the international media’s role at times of war. Shea spoke in support of the motion that “governments at war are winning the battle of controlling the international media” – a motion that carried the day by a majority of more than two to one.