Sunday, 13 February 2011

Media Watch: Our Democracy Needs the Morning Star

For the last few weeks Early Day Motion 1334 – condemning the BBC boycott of the Morning Star – has been steadily accruing signatures in parliament. EDM 1334 notes that the Star is “the only socialist daily newspaper in the English language worldwide” and “welcomes the different light it shines on news and current affairs from that of other daily newspapers”.

Labour MP Ian Lavery states that "There is a strong view among parliamentarians of different political persuasions that the Morning Star provides news stories which other newspapers for whatever reason fail to print.” As such EDM 1334 has attracted support from Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, SNP, SDLP and the Green Party.

EDM 1334 represents an important challenge to a narrow and centralised media. North Ayrshire MP Katy Clark has called for “a far wider range of views in our national media" and has denounced “the same people arguing the same position, which is basically the position of the Establishment again and again".

The Morning Star – unlike many of its mainstream equivalents – does not serve an individual media mogul. It is owned by its readers and the management committee – because it consists of trade unionists and activists – represents millions of ordinary working people.

In order to have a fully functioning democracy, we need a plurality of views in the media. If the media is dominated by one voice or one viewpoint then our democracy is compromised. But when there is a consensus of cuts, the Morning Star’s role is more important than ever to provide detailed information from the left of the labour movement.

Maximising support for EDM 1334 is important not just in fighting the cuts and championing socialism; it is important for our democracy. In the General Election last year, it was only the Daily Mirror and Morning Star which threw their weight behind Labour. When it comes to the May local elections it will be the Star that will be campaigning for Labour victory against the Tories. Therefore, all Labour supporters should urge their MPs to support the motion.

Please email your MP and ask them to sign EDM 1334 because, regardless of what party they are in, our democracy relies on hearing a plurality of voices so citizens can make informed decisions. Please post any responses you receive below.

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