Has media made the world a better or worst place?

That was the title of an event I went to in Cheltenham this evening, part of their literature festival. The panel were a Clare Short, Libby Pervis, Jeremy Paxman, Tony Benn, a print journalist called Daniel something, a Radio 4 presenter called Nick something, and the chair was also a Radio 4 presenter but I can’t remember his name either. It was quite an interesting debate bit also quite frustrating, as I had my hand up for ages but still didn’t get to ask a question.

It’s probably a good job I didn’t get pointed at by the chair as I wanted to have a rant rather than ask a question, (they were quite strict on the audience only asking questions and being concise)!

I wanted to rant at Libby Pervis as she said – when prompted by a question – that she thinks all sections of society are adequetly represented in the media and there are enough channels now for everyone to find their voice somewhere. She didn’t see representation as a problem in today’s media. It’s easy for her to say that, but go to any white working class estate, amongst black and Asian communities, young people, and many many others they will tell you how they are misrepresented in the mainstream media. That’s why alternative media exist at all – to try and make a space for different voices. Grrrrr….

I wanted to rant at Tony Benn as he thought he was being very radical on stage by saying he respects it when people fight to have their voice heard by any means, and go against the flow. But it was him who the major force in getting pirate radio stations outlawed in 1966. I wanted to know whether he had now chyanged his mind, and if he now thought pirate station were now a good idea. Grrrrrr…..

I was also going to ask a question what the panel thought about the idea of having Media Literacy taught in schools. They would probably have scoffed at the idea no doubt, thus pubilically tainting the notion in the minds of the 500 or so audience, and being a negative effect on the media literacy campaign. Good job then then the chair didn’t point at me.

Clouds/silver linings……

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