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.

Should we allow artificial intelligence to manage migration?

How is artificial intelligence being used in governing migration? What are the risks and opportunities that the emerging technology raises for both the state and the individual crossing a country’s borders?

Ryerson University’s Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration and openDemocracy have teamed up to host this free live discussion on 15 April at 5pm UK time/12pm EDT.

Hear from:

Ana Beduschi Associate professor of law, University of Exeter

Hilary Evans Cameron Assistant professor, faculty of law, Ryerson University

Patrick McEvenue Senior director, Strategic Policy Branch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Chair: Lucia Nalbandian Researcher, CERC Migration, Ryerson University

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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