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)


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)


Flickr/Iguanasan. Some rights reserved.

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


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)


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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Our editor-in-chief, Mary Fitzgerald, is on the ground in key US battleground states – follow her on Twitter @maryftz for live updates.

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Plus: get the inside scoop openDemocracy's big 'follow-the-money' investigation – breaking soon – which lifts the lid on how Trump-linked groups are going global with their culture wars.

Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 29 October, 5pm UK time/1pm EDT.

Who is bankrolling Britain's democracy? Which groups shape the stories we see in the press; which voices are silenced, and why? Sign up here to find out.


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