Statement by academics on research published by Media Reform Coalition on media coverage of anti-semitism in the Labour Party
We have reviewed the Media Reform Coalition’s analysis of the mainstream reporting of antisemitism in the Labour Party. We are writing as a group of academics from related fields and relevant specialisms, and from a range of international institutions, who were not involved directly in the research. We nevertheless consider the approach taken in this study to be appropriately cautious and rigorous, and the findings as reliable as they are damning.
This is an issue that transcends party politics: whilst no one should expect antisemitism or any form of racism to be tolerated by a major political party, we should be equally concerned about myriad and systematic distortions in the coverage of such issues, especially against the backdrop of considerable political instability and national crisis.
It is imperative that news institutions — especially the BBC and those newspapers who pride themselves on fair and accurate reporting — answer to these findings. It is not enough to simply dismiss the research on the basis of presumed bias without engaging constructively with the research, including the notably cautious approach adopted by the researchers.
Silence or blanket dismissal will only speak volumes about the widely sensed malaise in our free press and public service media. A functioning democracy depends on a functioning fourth estate.
Professor Colin Leys, Queens University, Canada
Professor Lynne Segal, Birkbeck, University of London
Professor Bob McChesney, University of Illinois
Professor Graham Murdock, Loughborough University
Professor David Graeber, London School of Economics
Professor María Lamuedra, University of Seville
Professor Phil Scraton, Queens University, Belfast
Professor Peter Golding, Northumbria University
Professor James Curran, Goldsmiths, University of London
Professor Justin Lewis, Cardiff University
Professor Victor Pickard, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania
Professor Greg Philo, University of Glasgow
Professor David Miller, University of Bristol
Professor Annabelle Sreberny, SOAS, University of London
Professor Jeremy Gilbert, University of East London
Dr Stephen Cushion, Cardiff University
Dr Mike Berry, Cardiff University
Dr Einar Thorsen, Bournemouth University
Dr Tom Mills, Aston University