It is nearly 40 years since the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (CPBF) was first set up by the print, journalism and broadcasting unions to combat the growing power of large media corporations. Since then it has grown to be a significant actor in a broader campaign for diverse and democratic media, accountable and responsible journalism. It has been a staunch advocate for public service principles, and that audiences should be treated as “citizens with distinct communicative rights, and not merely as consumers of entertainment products”.
Sadly the CPBF has recently voted to cease campaigning, as it were, later this year after dwindling resources and lack of continued support from unions meant operations were no longer viable. The campaign for media reform in all its hues is far from over, however, and we are facing a plethora of fronts to continue this incredibly important work – securing the implementation of Leveson’s recommendations on press regulation, scrutinising (and indeed resisting) Murdoch’s attempt to merge Fox / Sky, responding to public consultations and calls for evidence to inquiries (the ‘fake news’ inquiry recently published their preliminary report, and the Cairncross Review has just called for evidence on sustainable high-quality journalism in the UK), and expanding our thinking to propose future ways of regulating a rapidly changing media landscape so that it can flourish with citizens’ best interests at its core. Whilst the CPBF is folding this year, their energy and commitment to working for media reform will continue with academics and online campaign groups. The Campaign may have ended, but the campaigning work will go on.
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