Simon Shaps: The question is, what he would do with all this freedom?


Related Topics

James Murdoch last night out-gunned his father, Rupert, in a speech significant not for its core credo – the clan has previous form in arguing for super-light regulation – but in its boldness and its language.

His father, 20 years ago in his own MacTaggart lecture, couched his assault on the broadcasting establishment in relatively gentle terms, seeking to persuade a sceptical audience, rather than to bludgeon it.

James Murdoch, in his dismissal of much public policy on media as a version of "Creationism", suggests that we are entering a new era, where there no longer appears to be any need to meet the prevailing political consensus half way.

His implicit argument that the impartiality rules which have governed TV news for more than half a century should be swept away, takes the fight right to the heart of the enemy camp. In his analysis, ITN could be replaced by the rightist Fox News without any democratic deficit. He went further still: "The only reliable, durable and perpetual guarantor of independence is profit," a sentiment that might have come out of Gordon Gekko's mouth in Wall Street.

When James Murdoch claimed that the "defining characteristic" of UK broadcasting was the "absence of trust" he wasn't – mercifully –talking about rigged game-shows and premium-rate phone lines. This time round, the trust issue was the regulatory and political myopia that failed to allow consumers free reign to determine what appears on screen, and in print.

So, while James Murdoch had some sport in weighing the sheer quantity of regulatory intervention, his uncompromising message was that the media, and television in particular, could only survive in a radically different environment, with consumers in the driving seat.

The question James Murdoch doesn't answer is what he would do with the freedoms this world would offer. For that, we are clearly going to need to stay tuned.

Simon Shaps is a former Director of Television at ITV

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Read Next
Former N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos gives a statement outside Southwark Crown Court after her trial  

It would be wrong to compare brave Tulisa’s ordeal with phone hacking. It’s much worse than that

Matthew Norman
The Big Society Network was assessed as  

What became of Cameron's Big Society Network?

Oliver Wright
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn