openDemocracyUK

8 things you might have missed during the UK election

(And how free is our press?)

Oliver Huitson
7 May 2015

During the Leveson inquiry, media figures were quick to praise the UK's rigorous, thriving, challenging press. It's the envy of the world, we were told. But how has the UK media actually performed this election? How has it held power to account, and reported on the issues that affect voters?

In partnership with Avaaz, we surveyed the Telegraph, the Mail, the Sun and the Times for the period April 6th to May 6th. Here are some trends we noticed:

  • 1) Mentions of food banks (10) vs mentions of Miliband's bacon sandwich (18)


  • bacon.jpg Flickr/Andy Lamb. Some rights reserved.

2) Mentions of the Health and Social Care Act (8) vs calling Miliband a "backstabber" (24)

nhs4.jpg

Flickr/The Weekly Bull. Some rights reserved.

  • 3) Mentions of lobbying reform (1) vs mentions of Mr Cameron's children (9)

  • straw.jpg Jack Straw was suspended from his party over "cash for access". Flickr/Chatham House, London. Some rights reserved.
  • 4) Mentions of the coalition's failure to reform banking (1) vs mentions of Miliband's kitchens (17)


  • hsbc_0.jpg Flickr/gyverchangphotos. Some rights reserved.
  • 5) Articles mentioning the coalition's NHS reforms and privatisation (8) vs mentions of Samantha Cameron (25)

Oliver Huitson. All rights reserved.

  • 6) Mentions of the coalition's record on excessive pay in the banking sector (1) vs articles on the royal family (185)

charles.jpg

Flickr/Iguanasan. Some rights reserved.

  • 7) Mentions of the bedroom tax (12) vs Miliband insults (71)

bedroom.jpg

Flickr/Ant Smith. Some rights reserved.

  • 8) Discussion of electoral reform (1) vs the false assertion that the party with most seats "wins" and should form the government (47)

pr5.jpg

Flickr/TiggerT. Some rights reserved.

Does Britain have a free press? Not quite. Here's one thing you can do about it.

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