Manifestos 2024: what do they say about the media?

Posted on: June 13, 2024 by Claire Meadows

Ahead of the General Election on 4 July, the major political parties have now released their manifestos. Scroll down below to see the media policies put forward by each party as well as a link to the full manifestos. 

Labour Party

The Labour Party manifesto contains no explicit media policies except a pledge to ‘work constructively with the BBC and other public service broadcasters so they continue to inform, educate and entertain people’. 

Although not specifically included in its manifesto, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy told the i newspaper on Monday 3 June that his party intends to ban SLAPPs as part of a six-part plan to shut down the “London laundromat” of dirty money in the UK.

Read the Labour Party Manifesto in full here.

Conservative Party

The Conservative Party 2024 Manifesto has reiterated its opposition to state regulation of the press and vowed not to bring forward Leveson 2. 

The manifesto described the party as ‘a strong defender of freedom of speech and freedom of the press’ and, as such, the Conservatives remain opposed to any state regulation or control of the press, it said.

Alongside a pledge to ‘promote international media freedom’, the party also said that it would introduce a new complaints process for the BBC as well as look to ensure that the Corporation represented the ‘perspectives of the entire nation’.

It said: ‘The Conservative Party is a strong defender of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. We oppose state regulation and control of the press, including any attempt to bring forward Leveson 2 or re-open the Royal Charter on self-regulation of the press. We were proud to deliver the Freedom of Speech Act to protect free speech and open debate in our universities.’

‘The BBC should represent the perspectives of the entire nation with diversity of thought, accuracy and impartiality as its guiding principles. We will carefully consider the findings of the Funding Review ahead of the next Royal Charter and ensure it upholds these principles. We will introduce a new complaints process for the BBC so the BBC does not mark its own homework.’

Read the Conservative Party Manifesto in full here

Liberal Democrat Party

The Liberal Democrat Manifesto has pledged its support for ‘independent, Leveson-compliant regulation’ as well as proceeding with Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry. The party has also pledged to pass a comprehensive ‘Anti-SLAPP Law’ to provide additional protections for free speech as well as protecting the BBC, S4C, BBC Alba and Channel 4 as independent, publicly owned, public service broadcasters’. 

The Party will:

Support independent, Leveson-compliant regulation to ensure privacy, quality, diversity and choice in both print and online media, and proceed with Part Two of the Leveson Inquiry.

Pass a comprehensive ‘Anti-SLAPP Law’ to provide robust protection for free speech, whistleblowers and media scrutiny against Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.

Support the BBC both to provide impartial news and information, and to take a leading role in increasing media literacy and educating all generations in tackling the impact of fake news.

Increase the Digital Services Tax on social media firms and other tech firms from 2% to 6%. 

Push for a global treaty or convention to combat disinformation and electoral interference supplemented by an annual conference and Global Counter-Disinformation Fund. 

Read the Liberal Democrat Manifesto in full here

The Green Party

The Green Party has pledged to change the law so that no one person or company can own more than 1 in 5 news outlets as well as making sure that recommendations in the Leveson report are implemented. 

Read the Green Party Manifesto in full here

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