Monday, November 24, 2008

Iceland protests disappear from view

BBC News yesterday was headlining an item on a demonstration outside the Icelandic Parliament calling for the resignation of the Government and a new election. Part of the crowd split off to demand the release of a protester who had been arrested. Police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

Normally, you would expect a TV story to be carried in the newspapers. Today, it is in the UK newspapers. You have to search "Iceland protest" to find the item on the BBC site. The Guardian - nothing on headlines or search. Annanova - nothing. Times on Line, Independent, Telegraph - nothing on search.

However, the news is carried in the Scotsman, CNN, and news in NZ and OZ.

So, it would appear that a certain amount of news management has been taking place. Iceland is a stable, mature democracy ranking in the top group of the PTS scale for 2006., so it is a matter of more significance than if it had occurred in a more backward country like the UK.

Who, how, when &c does this news management take place in the UK? I take a desultory look at the D-notice website, but cannot be bothered to look for anything specifically preventing reporting of Icelandic riots, because it would be naive to expect that kind of transparency.

Governments rightly fear that economic dissatisfaction will lead to loss of control, and I suppose they fear that reports of disturbances in Iceland may give other people the same idea. So they manage the media, and would like to manage the web also.

The Memory Hole is a website that caches material that the rulers would prefer that you forgot.


Andrew said...

Doc Richard,

Although you would expect TV news stories to often be carried over to newspapers, but this is not always the case, particularly in the case of things like protests, which can be dramatized more easily on television than in the newspaper.

I certainly hope nothing untoward is going on in terms of media management. However, I would certainly not imagine that government interference would have been a hugely significant factor in terms of the reasons for lack of newspaper coverage from the British media - the media often reports on one topic one day and moves to another topic the next.

DocRichard said...


Thanks for commenting. I also hope that no untoward media management is happening. However, it was an item of interest, so much so that it was reported on CNN, New Zealand &c., so it was not trivial.


Red Green Nick said...

Heard there were 10,000 there which is huge for a country like Iceland!

Anonymous said...

Another thing - there is not much mention in the mainstream media of Gordon Brown's Mansion House speeches of 2006 and 2007 where he praised the City for inventing wonderful new financial instrumnts, and praised himself for resisting calls for greater regulation and for not being complacent.
The mainstrean media works in a way that amounts to self manipulation (?!?).

DocRichard said...

Hi JMac
Too true. But it is sickening to hear the Tories ranting about Labour's problems, when they would have done exactly the same. Would the Tories have put a tax on house price increases or taken other measures to cap them? Would they have tried to damp down the boom in the stock market? Would crowds gather outside the Vatican Palace to watch a bear shaking its paw at them? I do not think so. Fair play to Vince Cable who did warn about the consequences of Brown's boom.