The Week Kick-off: From the BBC, to The Washington Post, to Condé Nast – on your marks again!

The BBC takes on China, football tackles racism, and we speak directly to two big hitters in the form of The Washington Post and Condé Nast, who update us on the latest trends from both sides of the pond. It’s all here in the Monday morning kick-off, and in the words of Will Smith reviewing The Alchemist, “It’s a quick read too!”

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The BBC vs China

We wrote recently about Twitter’s decision to censor China’s US Embassy, and the wider repercussions that these sorts of media tech actions were beginning to have on the geo-political landscape. Those tensions escalated last week when China banned BBC World – the international arm of the UK corporation – from broadcasting in the country. The move comes in retaliation to communications regulator Ofcom, taking the decision to remove the UK broadcasting license of Chinese state broadcaster, CGTN, having concluded that it is ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist party.

Last year, Ofcom fined Russian state funded television broadcaster RT GBP £200,000 (US $277,900), for a series of impartiality breaches that the channel was found to have made in 2018. This more stringent action against CGTN will raise the question as to why the one state-funded broadcaster has been allowed to continue in the UK, while the other has not. More broadly, it highlights just how strong the relationship between media and politics has become in 2021.

English football sends open letter to Twitter and Facebook

Bodies from across English football including the Premier League, FA, EFL, Women’s Super League, Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, Professional Game Match Officials Board, and the Kick It Out campaign, have penned a joint letter to Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg, calling for an end to racist abuse on their platforms. The action comes on the back of escalating racism via social media, which has been directed towards players and other individuals within the game.

The letter requests that ‘for reasons of basic human decency, you use the power of your global systems to bring this to an end’, and requests that:

  • Messages and posts should be filtered and blocked before being sent or posted if they contain racist or discriminatory material
  • You should operate robust, transparent, and swift measures to take down abusive material if it does get into circulation
  • All users should be subject to an improved verification process that (only if required by law enforcement) allows for accurate identification of the person behind the account. Steps should also be taken to stop a user that has sent abuse previously from re-registering an account
  • Your platforms should actively and expeditiously assist the investigating authorities in identifying the originators of illegal discriminatory material

It’s a timely reminder within the context of the impeachment trial of former US President, Donald Trump, of the real-world damage that media tech channels can do, and offers a few informed hints as to how these platforms could be regulated going forward. 

The Washington Post on trust in a time of turmoil

Sticking with the theme of media accountability, FIPP recently spoke to The Washington Post about how the publication has navigated both the Covid-19 pandemic and the broader drop-off in media trust over the last few years. Speaking to FIPP Journalist, Pierre de Villiers, Managing Editor, Cameron Barr said:

“There’s work to be done to restore people’s trust in news organisations, and we work at that every day,” Barr points out. “We place a high premium on accuracy, we correct our mistakes and we try and create a bond with our readers that they can indeed trust us. If you lose that trust it’s difficult to get back.”

You can read the full interview here.

Natalia Gamero del Castillo on taking the reins at Condé Nast Europe

After 20 years at Condé Nast, working in several senior positions, Natalia Gamero del Castillo was promoted to Managing Director of Europe in December last year. Last week, she told FIPP how she sees the current media landscape before Condé, and some of the brand’s plans for the future:

“Over the next four years, we will be investing 25 per cent more in our content efforts to build new digital capabilities, especially with video,” she says. “Ultimately, this is all because we know that today, our audiences have many choices regarding the information and entertainment they consume, and we want to be the best and the most important media company for them.”

You can read the full interview here.

More from FIPP

For FIPP’s part, we’ve been busy rolling out our virtual training programme recently, but did you also know that you can enrol in these courses on-demand? It’s a fast and accessible way to help hone the skills you want, in the time you have, and some of the courses on offer in this format include:

  • Pricing and Selling Virtual Events
  • Planning and executing successful virtual events
  • Applied Innovation Masterclass

To find out more about the full FIPP training programme, click here.


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