6 July 2011

Phone-hacking debate brings speeches back to our TV screens - at least for a few hours

After years of writing and blogging about the reluctance of British television news programmes to broadcast much from speeches (e.g. HERE & HERE), I was delighted that, for today at least, we were allowed to watch the House of Commons debate on phone-hacking live, continuously and without any intervention by reporters telling us what the speakers were saying - and to be able do so simultaneously on three channels, BBC News 24, BBC Parliament and Sky News.

It's a very long time since this has happened, and I'm hoping that it could mark a significant change in the attitude of broadcasters towards speeches and doesn't merely turn out to be a rare exception that proves a rule.

Given my suggestion that interviews have taken over from speeches as the main means of political communication in the UK as a result of collusion between politicians and the media, I was particularly struck by the first 30 seconds of this clip from the opening speech by Chris Bryant, M.P., who also seems worried about our politicians colluding with the media.

Whether or not we'll get to see any more of him (or any of the other speakers in the debate) on prime-time television news programmes tonight, of course, remains to be seen...


P.S. You can now watch the whole of this 3 hour debate (and find out how much of it was shown on BBC Television's News at 10) in the next blog post HERE.

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