bloging, broadcasting, Trafficking, Women's Rights

As any regular readers of my blog will know, I am a dedicated campaigner against the trafficking of people. So it is music to my ears to hear that pop channel MTV have created a campaign called MTV EXIT, which stands for End Exploitation and Trafficking.

As I blogged about last week,  alternative rock band The Killers have partnered with UNICEF and USAID to produce a music video that dramatically highlights the dangers and impact of trafficking for sexual exploitation, particularly for young women.

It is now released and you can see it here:

MTV Exit say that this video is the second in a series of music video collaborations to highlight the dangers and impact of human trafficking. The campaign was launched last year with an award-winning film produced by MTV EXIT for the Radiohead single All I Need.

The Killers commented, “We are deeply shocked and appalled that women and children are forced into such exploitative situations. We hope that through MTV’s efforts and this powerful video that millions of people across the world learn about this tragic form of modern-day slavery”.

The Goodnight, Travel Well video will be released globally across all of MTV’s platforms in 168 countries. It has the potential to reach more than 500 million households worldwide.

I wholly support any efforts to make more people aware of this horrendous crime perpetrated on the weak and vulnerable in our society and exploiting them solely for the commercial gain and vicarious pleasures of others. Trafficking is truly crime that debases all of civilized society.


BNP, broadcasting, Labour Party, Racism

I have just watched Nick Griffin being interviewed by Andrew Marr.  The BBC’s caption did, in fact, call him Nick Griffin MEP.  At the risk of seeming pedantic, Griffin does not actually become an MEP until the middle of next week after the new European Paeliament has formally met.

Andrew Marr

Andrew Marr

The increasing support for the BNP is obviously a matter of concern for all of us, though I have to say I feel it particularly stongly at present as both Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons are about to make their first entrance into the European Parliament.  As many of you will be aware, I have always argued that since both both Griffin and Brons have been democratically elected, they therefore have legitimacy.  That does not, however, mean that the overwhelming majority of mainstream MEPs should either accept or recognise them.  On the other hand, the mainstream political parties need to do some very hard thinking as to why the BNP have gained seats in a national (indeed international) parliament.

Having just heard Griffin, I for one intend to give him an extremely wide bearth and take whatever action is needed to expose the BNP’s vile, racist views.  During the Marr interview, Griffin justified his earlier statement that boats carrying immigrants from Africa to Britain should be shot at and destroyed by saying this should be done near the shores of Libya so that the innocent people attacked in such a way stood some chance of being rescued.  This is takes the familiar and totally repulsive BNP theme that Britian is being overrun by non-white immigrants to a whole new level.  Griffin’s statement shows the BNP in its true colours – violent and repulsive and willing to take the lives of the people it has taken against.  

I, for one, intend to monitor the activities of the two BNP MEPs closely.  Labour MEPs should expose the views and actions of the BNP so that the truth about them becomes more widely accepted.  It is extremely unfortunate that the BNP has gained a national plarform via the European Parliament.  We in the Parliament must now do all we can to oppose the BNP at every opportunity.


bloging, broadcasting, Labour Party

I have always thought that Gordon Brown basher Tory MEP Daniel Hannan is a rather silly young man. Certainly our Prime Minister Gordon Brown seemed to think so when fresh faced Mr Hannan gave his “Devalued Prime Minister” speech in the European Parliament 24 March 2009. One look at the PM’s face during Mr Hannan’s pathetic rant showed just what he thought of the publicity seeking Tory whipper-snapper.

No surprise then that Daniel Hannan wants to abolish the National Health Service. As one of the ultra right-wing Tories, who sometimes seems to be taking the Conservative whip and sometimes does not, he is notorious for showing up his boss David Cameron. Yet Cameron himself surely has sympathies with Hannan’s ultra right brand of Conservatism. How else do you explain Cameron’s decision to take the British Conservatives out of the centre-right group in the European Parliament, the European People’s Party, which includes Nicolas Sarkozy’s and
Angela Merkel’s parties, to join forces with a rag bag of rIght-wingers which may include the anti-gay and anti-abortion Polish Law and Justice Party?

Hannan is more in line with mainstream Tory thinking than perhaps we realise. Well done to Prezzer for telling it as it is.


broadcasting, culture, London, Trade Unions

London is one of the most dynamic cities in the world for the media, film, television and broadcasting sectors. As a London MEP I have regular meetings with employees in the creative industries. On Monday I’ll be meeting with representatives of the culture trade unions.

You can read my latest briefing on culture issues in the European Parliament by clicking on the link below:

The iPlayer

bbc, broadcasting, internet, Media, Online media, spectrum

In my last blog I wrote about the digital dividend and closing the so called ‘digital divide’. Broadcasters are obviously keen to hang on to as much spectrum as possible for new channels or high definition TV. But some broadcasters are already investing in new ways of distributing their content – over the internet.

You may be interested in this article from the Guardian on how the BBC’s iPlayer is changing the way we watch television.

Digital Dividend

broadcasting, Digital Technology, Media, Online media, spectrum

The airwaves – or radio spectrum – are a finite resource. Radio spectrum is used to carry mobile phone signals, radio, analogue television, freeview, satellite signals, radar and much, much more.

A large amount of this spectrum is currently used for analogue broadcasting of the five terrestrial television channels in the UK (BBC 1 and 2, ITV, Channels 4 and 5).

Digital broadcasting, like freeview, makes more efficient use of the radio spectrum. This means more channels can be broadcast in a smaller part of the spectrum.

The Government hopes that everyone will switch over to digital television by 2012. This will free up a lot of the old spectrum for new uses. This is called the ‘digital dividend’.

The European Parliament’s Industry Committee, of which I am a member, is currently considering some of the best ways of reusing this spectrum.

I spoke in Committee on Tuesday and said that I am keen to see at least part of this spectrum used to end the so called ‘digital divide’ whereby some people have excellent access to the internet and other people struggle to get connected. This is sometimes because they are in remote areas or in older buildings which are difficult to fit with the required cabling. This is particularly important for London where it’s difficult to wire-up many older tower blocks. Wireless broadband could certainly help.

Access to the internet is becoming so important in everyday life, for access to the media, for internet banking, email and access to government services. We must make sure that no one gets left behind without proper access to the net.