The BBC and other British media outlets give Nigel Farage undue prominence. Although UKIP have a number of seats in the European Parliament, they have no presence in the House of Commons and only a few council seats.
I can only imagine that the reason we see him so often on our televisions is that he’s entertaining. It would, however, be very worrying to think that editorial decisions about serious subjects could be taken on such trivial grounds.
The underlying question is whether people critical enough of the media they consume. What’s the best way of making people more aware of the potential biases and agendas that lay behind the news reporting?
These were some of the questions that were being asked at a meeting yesterday with the European Broadcasting Union where I took part in a panel discussion on media literacy.
I was joined by Ulrika Alert, Head of Youth and Language at UR, the Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company, who have made a series of incredible documentaries on the subject of media literacy. They were designed for use in secondary schools, but have ended up being used in university classes, and broadcast on prime time television. If you want you can watch some of these excellent programmes here.
There was also Philippe van Meerbeeck from Belgian Flemish public broadcaster, VRT, who is heading up a project called EU Screen which is looking to archive news footage from across Europe from the last 100 years. It’s an ambitious project and I look froward to seeing some of the results. You can go and see what they’ve done so far here.
It was an interesting and lively event which raised a number of pertinent questions. It’s good these issues are being raised at European level, though sadly there is little in the way of such discussion back home in the UK.