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The power of the people December 16, 2009

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This weeks crazy Christmas chart battle is great fodder for something that we like to call “We Media.” We – that’s you and I – have the power, through social networking sites such as facebook and myspace to make a difference. Ok, it would be nice to see this tool being used to maybe overthrow the banking system or deport John and Edward rather than in a contentious battle in order to piss Simon Cowell off. But I digress…

The campaign, mounted by one Jon Morter and his wife, urged members of a facebook group to download a Rage Against The Machine track ‘Killing In The Name’ in order to stop Cowell’s massive empire from securing the Chirstmas number one slot for the fifth consecutive year. And they’re currently in the lead on digital downloads, although Joe McElderry’s ‘The Climb’ gets its physical release tomorrow which is expected to provide a huge boost to sales.

Check the Guardian’s extensive covereage here and watch how this battle unfolds at the weekend. Whilst we’re on the subject of Mr McElderry however, today’s papers ran a front page story whereby McElderry professesed to be a chick-loving-but-way-too-busy-to-date-girls kinda guy. Don’t be fooled. This is a prime example of Simon Cowell and Max Clifford’s media manipulation playing out right before your eyes.


Barry George – commit this name to your memory! December 16, 2009

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Falsely convicted for the murder of Jill Dando in 2001, Barry George was acquitted back in August 2008 and after clearing his name through an appeal through the courts, George began his onslaught on the newspapers who wrongly accused him of being a stalker and responsible for Dando’s death. The phrase innocent until proven guilty was not one that was prevalent in the minds of the journalists who reported the case.

Today, George won a huge libel battle against The Sun and News of the World and was awarded an undisclosed sum for the damage these papers had done to his reputation. How much is an undisclosed sum? Put it this way, if it’s below a couple of million it wouldn’t have been undisclosed…

Fantastic example of contemporary media regulation which raises a number of questions. Should the media have handled the case more carefully prior to the original sentencing? Will George be able to regain any kind of “normal” life? Read more about this story here.

The faux pas that could cost Bruno £70 million December 9, 2009

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Once again, thank you to Kieran for highlighting a story about Sacha Baron Cohen being sued for over the portrayal of Palestinian grocer and peace activist Ayman Abu Aita in his hit film Bruno.

Abu Aita was labeled a terrorist in the mockumentary and Baron Cohen told a wonderful yarn to David Letterman back in June when the film was released. Check out the interview below.

It turns out that Abu Aita is in fact a peace activist, who thought he was meeting with a German filmaker about producing a film about the Palestinian cause. Not exactly close to being a terrorist but it got a few laughs on Letterman. Unfortunately, those laughs could cost Baron Cohen up to $70 million in libel damages – half of the films profits as Abu Aita is claiming that the film created a slur on his character and his grocery business is now ruined. Check out the full story and excerpts of the interview here.

Misfits? Hardly. E4’s new teen drama ticks all the digital convergence boxes December 9, 2009

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Here’s a great example of digital convergence if ever there was one. E4’s new teen drama (think Skins meets Heroes) is pushing its new media product through means of a pretty impressive website. At http://www.e4.com/misfits/, not only can you re watch episodes, get character profiles and see trailers, but you can also interact with the show on a whole new level.

There’s a specially designed online computer game which you can indulge in. You’ve got an online comic which you can view in high quality page by page (and there’s a lot of pages!). In addition, there’s a comments feed whereby viewers can post their views on the latest episode (but only if you register, meaning they get to add your e-mail address to their ever growing database). Add to that links to each characters Twitter page, youtube accounts and Facebook and Bob’s your uncle – digital convergence in the bag.

But wait! There’s more. You can also download a Misfits App for your mobile phone which can send you updates through a form of an RSS feed and include you in competitions.

What a concept. Shame about the show.

Libel case for you to commit to your memories December 8, 2009

Posted by snjones1980 in Uncategorized.

Thank you to Kieran for highlighting this story about actor Ron Livingston who is suing Wikipedia after the page about him wrongly claimed that he was gay.

This is a great story to bear in mind when thinking about regulation, as Livingston is suing on the basis of libel and invasion of privacy. If it had been printed in a newspaper, then the PCC would be able to uphold the complaint fairly easily, but as this was published in an online website where everybody is free to change the content of the pages, this does present Mr Livingston’s lawyers with a bit of a problem.

For Livingston’s career, claims such as these can damage his ability to get work, he could easily be typecast in future roles. But is it really an invasion of privacy considering he’s a public figure?