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About David Elstein

David Elstein is Chairman of openDemocracy's Board. He is also Chairman of the Broadcasting Policy Group. 

Articles by David Elstein

This week’s front page editor

“Sunny

Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Time to talk some Brexit sense

Let us have an end to fighting the referendum campaign ad infinitum and ad nauseam. Now is the time to get real.   

The Great War, and how it ended

Despite its extensive Remembrance coverage, the BBC hasn't actually tried to explain to its audience how and why Germany lost the war in 1918.

Fox/Sky, Murdoch and Comcast: winners and losers

On October 11th, the US cable giant Comcast acquires full control of Sky plc. For the first time since he launched Sky, Rupert Murdoch will have no say. But should we be careful what we wish for?

The BBC and Cliff Richard: in terms of press freedom, this is a sideshow

The BBC has dropped the idea of appealing against the award of damages to Cliff Richard for invasion of privacy, but continues to muddy the waters with fake legal arguments.

The BBC and Cliff Richard: what threat to press liberty?

Asking the Court of Appeal directly for leave to appeal could result in another opportunity to expose the dubious behaviour of the BBC news division, and at a higher judicial level.

Let battle commence! Matt Hancock approves both bidders for Sky

Sky shareholders look set for a bonanza summer – but what do the latest twists and turns in the Sky saga mean for news viewers?

Fox, Sky, Comcast, Disney: the endgame approaches

Before 2018 is out, Sky News will almost certainly be owned by one of three US media giants: Fox, Disney or Comcast. What can we learn from this protracted battle?

Darkest Hour: another film about 1940

Is this film any better at history than Dunkirk? Does it matter when you have such a multi-faceted central character as this ‘real war leader ’? Review.

Fox/Sky: story so far – how will it end?

By next year, the UK’s biggest broadcasting company, Sky (including Sky News), will be owned by a US media giant: Fox, Disney or Comcast (or perhaps two of them).

Fox/Sky: here comes the crunch

Fox acquisition of the other 61% of Sky may ‘act against the public interest, reducing media plurality’. Yet Sky shares rose when the ruling was published. What is going on?

Fox/Sky: more twists and turns

The 21st Century Fox bid to buy the 61% of Sky it doesn’t own has provoked a formidable level of opposition. Will that count when push comes to shove?

Fox/Sky: more twists and turns: news monitor

Analysis of content of the 15 weekday evening bulletins of ITV, BBC and Channel 4 October 23rd 2017-November 10th 2017

The state of Channel 4

It should be much easier for Channel 4, unburdened by the in-house inertia of other broadcasters, to address the “nations and regions deficit” that disfigures the broadcasting sector. Is it time to relocate?

The meaning of Dunkirk

David Elstein, director of three episodes of the seminal "The World At War" series, finds Dunkirk to be a powerful film but one shorn of historical context. Here he fills in the vital gaps - and finds some curious anomalies.

Fox and Sky: what happens to media plurality now?

On June 29, the UK’s Culture Secretary stated that she would submit to a full competition review the 21st Century Fox bid for 100% control of Sky plc. Will it happen?

My Three Day war: a memoir

“With so much land captured, aren’t you ideally placed to offer the Arab nations a peace deal?” “King Hussein has my number – let him call me!”

Should the law be changed to make sure the BBC does not lose out in the steadily changing world of digital viewing?

The BBC demands that all distributors of digital TV give prime slots to BBC content – but why should they have this right?

The Sky bid: battle commences

No significant business decision at Sky has ever – ever – been taken without Rupert Murdoch's approval. So what difference might 100% ownership of Sky possibly entail?

ITV News takes another backward step

The end of ITV's "News at Ten" marks a step back for its current affairs coverage, and for the media plurality key to British democracy.

Was the Richmond Park by-election really a setback for Brexit?

Was it really Brexit which swung Richmond Park to the Lib Dems?

Rupert returns

21st Century Fox – the Murdoch family’s entertainment conglomerate – is bidding for the 61% of satellite broadcaster Sky it does not own. Predictably, alarm bells are ringing. What is at stake?

How to be President, in 140 characters or (much) less

Missive from New York. Traditional US media are struggling with the most surprising turn in US politics for decades. But it’s not all bad news.

The biggest Brexit scandal of them all

The most disturbing aspect of the referendum campaign was the failure to acknowledge – on either side of the argument – the issue that has now emerged: process.

Review: The Fall, series 3

The much-praised – but also much-criticised – BBC2 drama series “The Fall” has completed its third and final run. How far did its strengths out-weigh its weaknesses?

Channel 4: a national treasure?

Channel 4 has been named Channel of the Year at the Edinburgh International Television Festival. But what does the future hold?

The Great British Bake Off defects to Channel 4 - what does it all mean?

How did a baking show become the BBC's biggest hit? And how risky is it for Channel 4 to bid £10 million a year more than the BBC was willing to pay to poach the programme?

Brexit: reflections from a Leave voter

Two months ago the EU referendum uncovered a deep split within the UK, and the passions and tensions that were released have not yet subsided. What does the future hold for an independent UK?

The fate of public service broadcasting

Uncritical defenders of public service broadcasting have turned a blind eye to its decline. This is not a time for conservatism but for long overdue transformation. 

The BBC White Paper show

The run up to last week’s government white paper was filled with scare stories about a war against the BBC. The final document could scarcely have been more pleasing for the corporation.

What is the vision behind the BBC White Paper?

Listen to a discussion about the long-term implications of this week’s government White Paper on the future of the BBC. 

The Whittingdale file: a plea for better journalism

It's a mystery as to why the national newspapers chose not to expose a juicy story about the UK culture secretary. But claiming that his policies were 'influenced' by the 'suppression' of the story is pure conjecture.

Channel 4: the case for privatisation

Privatisation may be the best way to strengthen Channel 4's public service remit.

The BBC: what is really going on?

Is the BBC spinning a big lie over the need to find cuts of between £550 and £700 million a year to fund the cost of the over-75 licences?

The BBC and the over-75s: what is the truth?

The BBC viscerally opposes subscription: it wants universal access to homes that only criminal enforcement can deliver.

Sequelitis: a dramatic affliction

All depends on plot quality - a tall order. Even the redoubtable French policier, “Spiral”, has to keep raising the stakes, personally, politically and criminally, to justify successive outings.

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