Culture Secretary And Shadow Culture Secretary pay tribute to journalists covering Middle East conflict

Posted on: October 30, 2023 by Claire Meadows

Both the Culture Secretary and Shadow Culture Secretary have paid tribute to reporters covering the crisis in the Middle East while highlighting the importance of “trusted journalism” as part of Journalism Matters Week.

In separate op eds, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer MP paid tribute to the “brave reporters” that “in the past fortnight” had shone “the brightest possible spotlight on the horrific terrorist acts committed by Hamas” while the Shadow Culture Secretary Thangam Debbonaire MP, paid tribute to the more than 20 journalists killed since the start of the conflict adding that “in these dark and dangerous times”, “quality journalists” were needed more than ever.

Writing to mark the start of Journalism Matters Week which takes place from Monday 30 October 2023, the Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer MP said that, amid “social media platforms awash with individuals who are happy to exchange misinformation for influence”, the UK’s media and broadcasters are “places where people can consistently find quality reporting, grounded in facts”.

Setting out the government’s plans to prioritise media freedom, she said: “My priority, and that of this Government, will always be standing right behind our media and protecting freedom of the press at every turn. That means helping our media organisations tackle the challenges of today. To support them, we have published a draft Media Bill. That Bill will not only level the playing field for our public service broadcasters with streaming giants, it will repeal Section 40, an arcane rule which could threaten media freedom and risk financial ruin for any publisher.”

Shadow Culture Secretary Thangam Debbonaire also highlighted the urgent need to level the playing field between news publishers which she called “the main investors in journalism” and big tech platforms.

She added: “We must maintain robust copyright protections for content creators, and they must be fairly rewarded for their work. Labour has called for the Government to require platforms to pay newspapers for their content. If negotiations fail, we believe an independent arbitrator would set a fair price. Newspapers and publishers should also have greater control of their data and content.”

Coordinated by the News Media Association, the weeklong Journalism Matters campaign focusses this year on the rise of AI and the critical importance of trusted journalism to combat misinformation as political parties gear up for a likely general election next year. On Monday morning, the Making a Difference public online vote for the best local and national campaigns of the past year will go live and run until Wednesday.  Journalism Matters is the news media industry’s campaign to highlight the vital importance of trusted journalism to society, last year receiving the backing of Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and then Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan, among others.   

The full op-ed by the Culture Secretary can be read here. 

The full of-ed by the Shadow Culture Secretary can be read here