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News For Sale

d.bernstein | 02.03.2005 00:53 | Globalisation | Indymedia | London | World

Context of NEWS FOR SALE: information in the age of market-driven journalism - a conference 12 March, Camden Hall, London WC1 - Organised to highlight commodification of the media. Features 14 speakers from 6 countries and will cover Ownership, control and distribution, Impact of GATS and TRIPS agreements, internet, EU policies, Regulation vs. deregulation.

Democracy and market-led media: how it works, where it fails
Camden, D. Bernstein

“Civil Society is on the march to reclaim the media”, says Dr. Serge Halimi, writer and journalist. In effect, meetings and conferences on the state of the media have been numerous lately. During the European Social Forum in London last November a network of European groups got together with a view to linking campaigns and demands both at European and National level. Some seminars attracted hundreds of people grouping ordinary citizens, and such diverse groups as MediaWise, Indymedia, Red Pepper, Positive News and media students and activists for an in-depth look at developments in media-ownership, the self-censure of journalists and international trade agreements encouraging the corporate takeover of information.

On the continent, Ignacio Ramonet, the editor of Le Monde Diplomatique has written extensively and passionately about the degeneration of journalism and the collusion of business interests and ownership of Newspaper, in France where firms producing and selling armaments have bought up reputed newspapers (Le Figaro, Le Monde, and publisher La Hachette) and where even Libération! The newspaper founded by Jean-Paul Sartre as the voice of the ‘the people’ has been bought by a Banker, Eduard de Rothschild .

In the light of the accelerated downgrading of information and the increasing blurring of the boundary between informative documentaries and virtual reality, they might have a point. It seems that the USA will only buy docu-dramas, spurring the gradual erosion of fact in the direction of fiction.

In London a voluntary group, Friends of Le Monde Diplomatique, has joined forces with the National Union of Journalists and Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom to organise an in-depth, International one-day conference at the Camden Centre on Bidborough St. on March 12th bringing together scholars, writers and academics to discuss the state of the media in France, the UK, USA, Russia and India.

The Conference, NEWS FOR SALE, will cover media ownership and distribution, the impact of international trade agreements on news, the effect of the internet and new media, European policies and the future of Public Service Broadcasting and the BBC..

The initiative has received favourable response from a wide variety of people, and is followed soon after by a London meeting to discuss alternatives, and the need of citizens to be properly informed. The speakers all have several books to their credit and with audience participation, this should make for lively debate on the day.

Booking Information: Tel. 07984 178 193, send SAE with cheque for £15/£10 concession to : Friends of Le Monde Diplomatique, c/o NUJ 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP
For Conference Information:
For related Information:, including wonderful editorial in January by Ignacio Ramonet

Ignacio Ramonet, , "Wars in the 21st Century", Ocean Press and "La Tyrannie de la Communication", Gallimard
Serge Halimi, “Les Nouveaux chiens de garde”, Liber-Raisons d’Agir

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