It is not strange in some climes that politicians engage in electoral malpractices to win elections by hook-or-crooks, but it beats one’s imagination to suspect respected media outfits in the United Kingdom of being involved in manipulations of their readers and viewers through excessive partisanship.
Few days to British election, The Independent sends a daily free copy of its newspaper to householders in London. As a student I do not find the gesture as being generous because I read the online version apart from getting free copies of Metro and Evening Standard newspapers in the morning and afternoon respectively while on my way to- and-fro University of Westminster.
The freely distributed and low-priced newspapers like the Sun owned by the Australian media baron, Rupert Murdoch, have the large chunk of the British readership. This is evidence by commuters who take delight reading the papers in trains, buses and taxis.
It must be emphasised that The Independent always claims it is the only newspaper in Britain that’s free from proprietorial influence and political allegiance. That superior argument could not be claimed by other publishers and editorial teams of the major national newspapers. It is observed that the Labour Party and its leaders, Gordon Brown received editorial sympathy from The Mirror and the Guardian; the Conservative Party and its Leader, David Cameron received supports of Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Time and the Sun, while Nick Clegg of Liberal Democrat has no major newspaper’s official backing except for public goodwill and sincerity of some reporters.
The unbiased Independent newspaper, in its story on Friday April 23, 2010, with a title: “‘Sun’ censored poll that showed support for Lib Dems,” reports an allegation that the Sun failed to publish a credible and authoritative YouGov poll that “voters fear a Liberal Democrat government less than a Conservative or Labour.”
The Liberal Democrats and other electorates have accused the Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the Sun for suppressing the finding. The development further confirms how the Sun has nakedly and excessively exposes itself by campaigning for the Conservative Party against others in the past and for the forthcoming May elections.
Does media have the right to condemn countries like Nigeria where politicians are notorious in stage-managing electoral processes, when the British media deliberately manipulate consciousness of voters for certain political parties to satisfy the agenda of their respective proprietors?
The media may protect business and political interests of their patrons, as the Fourth Estate of the Realm, they should be cautious in their public endorsements of politicians for electoral offices since they are not newsletters of the political parties.
As a PR student in UK, I am baffled by the antic of British media towards the election and doubt if they are influenced by hidden persuaders, the Political Public Relations people