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tv   Review 2021  BBC News  December 23, 2021 2:30pm-3:01pm GMT

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hello. i hope the year has been kind to you. the media industry is defining a new normal, and coming to terms with the second year of a global pandemic. print and distribution costs are growing pretty much everywhere. but so too are online subscriptions and targeted advertising. big tech is more dominant than ever, but governments and regulators around the world, including here in the uk, are waking up to new ways to shape these giants of global media. or at least squaring up for a fight with them. nevertheless, many of the biggest headlines this year came from more traditional media. presenter piers morgan left itv�*s good morning britain after saying that he didn't believe a word that meghan said in that interview with oprah winfrey. concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he is born.
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..what? from race to mental health, progressive californian values to the british monarchy, every element of oprah's interview with prince harry and meghan has been catnip for the frenzy and fury of today's culture wars, in which all of us are pitched against each other. has she said anything about... sometimes, it boils over. but yet you continue to trash her. ok, i'm done with this! broadcaster piers morgan left itv, unwilling to apologise for saying he didn't believe meghan�*s claims. the next morning, morgan was bullish. no, i believe in freedom of speech. i believe in the right to be allowed to have an opinion. if people want to believe meghan markle, that's entirely their right. into this heady brew, britain launched a new experiment, partly inspired by america. and while piers was busy throwing a fit before he quit, the all—white teenybopper trump fan club was getting equally hysterical about the interview. in the us, cable news is no longer regulated.
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it prioritises personality and opinion in prime time slots, from the liberal msnbc, to the right—wing fox news. britain still has a broadcast regulator, ofcom, but is moving in the same direction. more than 30 years after he was the launch chairman of sky, former sunday times editor and ex—bbc broadcaster andrew neil played the same role for the new gb news, pitched as a centre—right antidote to established broadcasters. will we be different from the existing networks? yes! because they all do the same thing. so what's the point of doing what they do? will we cover stories a different way? yes! will we give voices to people outside the metropolitan consensus? yes! do we have an interest in fox news? no! disinformation? no! conspiracy theories? no! oh, man alive, why would you argue... gb news will exploit the subtle but significant distinction between impartiality within programmes, and balance across a network that the likes
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of radio station lbc have navigated. in an age of super—abundant information, our attention becomes the most precious resource. and the momentum within our news culture is with those who can best grab that attention. but generating noise is easy. generating news is hard and expensive. gb news will galvanise british broadcasting, but it will do so mainly by accelerating trends that we are already seeing, online and in america, towards big personalities. we do not need further division by creating a system of broadcasting where people only see the opinions that they like. i must listen to opinions i don't agree with, and i don't like. that's how i come to know the truth. morgan wasn't out of a job for long. he signed a deal with rupert murdoch's newscorp and fox news to launch a global tv show, and become a columnist.
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but andrew neil left his role at gb news after presenting just a few programmes. he told question time why. the differences were such that the direction they were going in was not the direction that i had outlined, was not the direction i had envisaged for the channel. but i was in a minority of one. despite initial technical challenges, gb news is steadily building an audience, both on digital platforms and on linear tv. its star presenter is nigel farage, who brought in a global exclusive interview with donald trump. gb news will need continued steady growth if it is to flourish financially. another product which is flourishing is times radio. to launch any new business is hard. to do so in a pandemic is harder still. and to do so in a pandemic, in a market dominated by the mighty bbc and to achieve a solid audience is a remarkable achievement. he said no rules have been broken.
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if that turns out not to be... the first official audience figures for times radio in october showed a weekly reach of 637,000. it's vindicated rebekah brooks's decision as leader of news uk to pivot to radio. the station has extended the time brand and could yet be a healthy earner for the company. 25 years after the panorama interview with princess diana, the report written by lord dyson and commissioned by the new director—general of the bbc had some scathing criticism, lord dyson condemned both the way that the bbc secured that interview and its failure to investigate its own journalists, as my colleague david sillitoe reported. the story that's emerged — that landmark interview with princess diana was based on a deceit. the dyson report concludes that fake documents were used to win the trust of princess diana's brother, that martin bashir was devious and dishonest.
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the bbc investigation was declared woefully ineffective. prince william says the deception fueled his mother's paranoia and distrust. it is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said. the interview was a major contribution to making my parents relationship worse and has since hurt countless others. the bbc knew back in 1996 about the fake bank statements. lord dyson said the bbc knew martin bashir had lied when he said he had not shown them to earl spencer. the defense was this note from princess diana, saying she had not seen the offending documents, but there were people in the bbc who had concerns. the problem, they say, was the corporation's culture. very late 1995, i bought the documents to the attention
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of the bbc management, as i was asked to do by a bbc lawyer, and was told within 24 hours of doing that that effectively i would no longer be part of the programme. i had been "disloyal". that's what happened to whistle—blowers at that time at the bbc. the bbc has handed back the bafta won by the programme, but lord dyson says the evidence suggests an interview would have taken place, come what may. the issue is the methods that were use to coax and persuade. in prince harry's statement, he says, "this is the first step towards justice and truth, yet what deeply concerns me is that practices like these and even worse are still widespread today." this is, he says, "bigger than one outlet, one network or one publication." the bbc and the graphic designer matt wiessler have since agreed a settlement. this year, tensions between china and the west have escalated over media coverage. the english language satellite news station china global television network
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had its license revoked by the uk regulator. and, in retaliation, bbc world news was banned in beijing. there have also been tit for tat expulsions ofjournalists in both the us and in china. beijing, it seems, still wants to try to control public information. take a look at how low bbc would go to speak ill of china by giving up objectivity and why that... one of the world's oldest known civilizations is using the world's newest technology to propagate its message and curtail that of rivals. this is what the media want you to believe. in february, the uk's independent broadcast regulator, ofcom, removed the licence of china's state—controlled network, cgtn. the station had failed to prove its independence from china's leadership. they immediately struck back, banning the bbc�*s world news channel in a tit—for—tat measure. it was merely an escalation of tension.
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the chinese authorities have long been unhappy about the bbc�*s coverage of detention camps for uigher muslims in xinjiang province, but were particularly angry about reports that have led to an international outcry and won awards. we are constantly followed and turned back at makeshift barriers and roadblocks. the bbc team in beijing often face hostility. filming around the country is often difficult, with a heavy state presence never far away. when i arrived in china about four years ago... the new york times bureau chief has been doing hisjob from seoul, having been thrown out at a few days' notice. if you're covering topics that are deemed sensitive, you know, you will be met by the police or the secret service and you'll be harassed by the local authorities who will tell you you don't have permission to be in the region. which isn't true. we do have permission to be anywhere in china — except tibet, where we are forbidden to go. and that includes not just blocking our work, but also blocking the work of our chinese colleagues.
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china claims it only expelled american journalists after expulsions from the usa. the wall streetjournal team has been down to just four after ten were expelled in the last two years. it's never been easy to be a foreign correspondent in china, but over the last year or so, it's gotten much more difficult. part of that, of course, is the coronavirus. it's difficult everywhere, but especially in china. we feel so much more pressure here from the authorities, and from the public, and from the media here in terms of what we write and how we report on china. a report from the foreign correspondents club of china argue journalists faced growing harassment, weaponising of visas and seeing their work distorted, misrepresented or attacked with fabricated charges. global conflicts used to be mostly about natural resources, such as land or water. today, they are increasingly about public information — that is, media. in this, the too much information age, knowledge is power as never before. in a long statement,
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the chinese government said it opposes ideological bias against china, fake news under the cover of freedom of the press and violation of professional ethics. it also says it does not recognize the correspondents club and says its "so—called report" is fraught with ideological bias and slander. in february, the world plans to descend on beijing for the 2022 winter olympics, but which china would the world be allowed to see? but these tensions haven'tjust been between the west and china. in august, the bbc�*s moscow correspondent, sarah rainsford, left russia. she was expelled by the authorities there after being accused of being a threat to national security. they said that the move was in response to the expulsion of a russian journalist from the uk two years ago. this was sarah's last report from moscow. this was the moment i discovered i was being expelled from russia. according to a specific law, i've been designated a threat to national security and,
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as such, i'm not allowed into the country. pulled aside at passport control, i was told the fsb security service had banned me for life. i recorded the conversation. i was returning from belarus, where i'd confronted alexander lukashenko on the mass repression and torture of peaceful protesters. his loyal supporters rounded on me in a coordinated attack. vladimir putin is presenting this as just another working visit. .. i've reported from russia for two decades, the whole span of vladimir putin's presidency. there have been highs, like the world cup. but i've also charted the slow erosion of freedoms here — the crackdown on dissent.
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a year ago, the government put me on short term visas. then, i became the news, as state television announced i had to leave. after tense negotiations i had been allowed to enter russia, but only to pack. i was then told my visa wouldn't be renewed. supposedly what happened to a russian reporter in london, though that was two years ago. it's happening as the pressure on russian journalists who don't toe the kremlin line is intensifying. dozhd tv has just been added to a growing blacklist of media labelled "foreign agents" for getting funds from abroad. the status of foreign agents means that we — dozhd — we are enemies of the state. the pretending of being a democracy is over. it is very bad and it could become much worse any time.
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so i'm leaving a country i first came to as the soviet union fell apart, when free speech — all freedoms — were new and precious. it feels like today's russia is moving in reverse. the bbc continues to press the authorities in moscow to reverse the expulsion. and, meanwhile, sarah is due to take up a new posting as eastern europe correspondent. injuly, i met up with the boss of google. sundar pichai said that he believes that the western model of a free and open internet is under attack. google is under huge pressure from regulators around the world for its approach to privacy, data, market dominance and tax. for the past two decades, one californian company, more than any other, has designed and built the internet with a dominance in digital advertising. now google is journeying
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into the unknown with two big bets — unimaginably powerful quantum computers and, above all, artificial intelligence. i viewed it as the most profound technology that humanity will ever develop and work on. and we have to make sure we do it in a way that we can harness it to society's benefit. sundar pichai is the man leading google into this new era. be it health care, education, be it how we manufacture things and how we consume information. if you think about fire, or electricity or the internet, you know, it's like that. but i think even even more profound. born of humble roots in tamil nadu in south east india, sundar pichai trained as an engineer. he moved to the us to pursue his dream and joined google's founders, larry page and sergey brin, when the company was just six years old in 200a. now he's the boss of both google and its parent company, alphabet, which includes youtube. and he faces unrelenting scrutiny.
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raise your right hand. you swear that the testimony... from us lawmakers, to most recently at the g7 and g20 summits, where tax was in focus. historically, has google paid enough tax in the right places? we are one of the world's largest tax payers. you know, if you look at on an average, over the past decade, we have paid over 20% in taxes. we do pay the majority of our share of taxes in the us, where we originate and where our products are developed. i think there are good conversations and we support the global oecd conversations, figuring out what is the right way to allocate taxes. and, you know, this is beyond a single company to solve. you've got two teenagers, i understand? what's your policy on screen time for kids? i think this generation needs to learn to adapt to technology. it's going to be a big part of their life. so i've encouraged them to develop boundaries on their own. but, you know, i've approached it as a journey of personal responsibility.
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how worried are you that today the internet seems to be splitting into different domains, where we have a kind of californian internet, and increasingly a chinese one and the chinese one might be in the ascendant? the free and open internet has been a tremendous force for good. and i think we take it for granted a bit. but i do think the model is being attacked and, you know... so i think it's something we take for granted. but i hope we can stand up, particularly in countries with strong democratic traditions and values. sundar pichai is clear. it's up to democracies, as much as any tech giant, to shape our digital future. and you can catch my full interview with sundar pichai on the bbc iplayer or listen to it as a podcast on bbc sounds. facebook made headlines earlier this year when it blocked news content in australia in a row over proposals to make it pay for news on its platform. here in the uk, the boss of the competition and markets authority described australia's proposals as sensible and said maybe the uk should consider
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following a similar route. dr andrea coscell also described google and facebook�*s dominance of online advertising as "a problem". the western web today is based on free and open access. you don't pay for links. but the price of that freedom is that we leave personal data trails that are monetised by the likes of google and facebook, giant advertising companies. in a rare broadcast interview, the boss of the competition and markets authority said that google's 90% share of the uk's search advertising market is a problem. and then he turned to facebook. there's a £5.5 billion, according to your own cma figures £5.5 billion display advertising market in the uk. facebook has more than 50% of that. is that too much? er, yes. why? when companies have too much economic power, that creates a number of distortions, first for competitors, secondly for consumers.
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some level potentially in terms of the political process as well, in some cases. overnight, australia and facebook reached a compromise over a new law to force it and google to pay news publishers more for their content. facebook had blocked news content in the row, but that's now being restored. under a new deal, there will be mediation to agree payments before any final arbitration kicks in. i think that the australian approach is a sensible one, which is to try to force the companies into proper commercial negotiations, with the backstop of a possible intervention by a regulator. the tech giants argue that publishers choose to be on their platform because they derive value from it. they can build an audience to whom they can sell adverts. we don't ask car makers to pay radio stations each time they play on a car radio. so why ask tech platforms to payjournalists? the answer, at least according to an emerging consensus,
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is that our public information system, the media, is too precious and too damaged to be left to a californian duopoly. but what if britain did follow the route that australia's taken and facebook pulled new services from uk users? and facebook pulled news services from uk users? i think it would be pretty serious, i think would be unlikely that facebook would do it, given what's happened in australia and the aftermath of that. and i think potentially the uk should introduce regulation to potentially prevent this type of action by facebook as part of the legislation. what does that reveal about the imbalance in power between individual global organisations — companies — and democratic sovereign nations? yeah, i think it's a very worrisome development and i think it really shows that we need to urgently do something to reduce this imbalance of power. dr andrea coscelli, the boss of a uk competition and markets authority. a few weeks ago, a former facebook
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employee, frances haugen, turned whistle—blower to express her concern about the company's strategy. frances haugen handed over internal documents to us law makers, which she claimed were evidence the trillion dollar company harms children's mental health, stokes division, and puts profits before people. the company intentionally hides vital information from the public, from the us government and from governments around the world. in a statement on his facebook page, mark zuckerberg said of the allegations by his former employee, "most of us just don't recognise the false picture of the company that is being painted." he went on to say, "at the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritise profit over safety and well—being. that's just not true." one of the criticisms of facebook is it is just growing too big. when that happened to google, google created a parent company — alphabet. and that's what facebook has done.
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it's created meta, an umbrella organization for facebook, instagram, whatsapp and all its other businesses, which takes its name from the metaverse, the virtual reality domain that mark zuckerberg believes is the future of digital life. and it's all change at twitter, which has a new boss. a few weeks ago, jack dorsey announced — or rather tweeted — he is to resign from the company he created 16 years ago. chief technical officer parag agrawal has taken over. here in the uk, the regulator ofcom introduced the children's code to protect children's data online. its focus will be gaming, social media and video streaming. companies, even those who are based abroad, will have to adhere to a series of standards. if they don't, they could face heavy sanctions. today's teenagers have never known the world before the internet. life online has massively expanded. ijust wondered if i could talk to you guys for a little while about whether or not you worry about sharing too much
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personal information online. when it asks for location, i don't really trust it because it's giving information away to people. i can see, like, 18—plus adverts, which aren't exactly appropriate for my age group. well, i see game adverts- about people killing each other, which i don't think is appropriate for my age as well. _ they ask to collect my data. i don't know what it's being used for. sometimes that scares me a little bit. the new children's code is now enforced by the information commissioner's office. there are 15 standards which will govern how children's data is protected online. these include strict rules on data collection and sharing, making high privacy settings, the default and switching location tracking off by default too. a key figure behind this new code is the film director and now campaigner baroness beeban kidron.
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personal data is the mechanism by which the companies make money. so it's follow the money. it's designed to grab the data. and in doing so, a lot of things, unintended consequences happen to our children. and that by actually saying, no, don't take kids today to take and that by actually saying, no, don't take kids' data, take the kids out the business model, make your profits after you've taken care of young people, we change the system itself. most big technology companies insist children's safety is a priority and say they welcome smarter regulation.
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what sort of legal and financial power will you have to sanction those who fall foul of this new children's code? the change we've seen already in large platforms around the world is actually because they want to do the right thing. but we do have the power to charge 4% of their global turnover, which is a material amount for those who are the most persistent offenders. how do you feel about the fact that your personal information is being used online to make a few people very rich? i feel like they shouldn't do that, cos they shouldn't make money from other people's personal information. it's my information to start| with and even if i did give it to them, the fact that they're - making money out of my personal information quite annoys me a lot. guys, you're brilliant. thank you so much for doing this. well, that was one of the more fun video calls of the year. we're nearly at the end of our review. butjust before we go... oh, i love this! ..we've got a new culture secretary, nadine dorries. she's the tenth in ten years. and one of her key decisions is whether or not to privatise channel 4. # three is a magic number...# and bbc three is going to return as a linear channel in the new year. well, it's been an intense 2021. there's plenty more
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to come next year. i hope you get a chance to relax over christmas. thank you for watching. good afternoon. wow, what a difference a day makes. we started to date mild but quite murky out there, with outbreaks of rain. these weather fronts are pushing steadily northwards through the night, behind it, to introduce this milder air with this southerly flow. that mild area is going to gradually displace the cold air across much of england and wales. the exception, it will always sit across the far north of scotland. that means that there is potential, as we go through the day to day, of having a little bit of snow, as you can see from the tops of the mountains. behind it, we will see some heavier rain later today into northern ireland, north—west england and the scottish borders, to the south of that we keep quite a
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lot of cloud and may be thick enough for some light, drizzly rain in places. but it will stay mild, ten or 12 degrees is the high here. further north, we keep the cold air. temperature is around five or seven celsius. moving out of thursday, towards christmas eve, as that weather front continues to push dudley north, bumping into the cold air, we could see some significant snow to higher ground, above 200 metres in the highlands, before it peters out through the night. further south, peters out through the night. furthersouth, it's peters out through the night. further south, it's going to be a misty and foggy start. a milder start, but that is certainly worth bearing in mind if you are up and travelling to see friends and family first thing on christmas eve. the fog will gradually turn into low crowd. the rain easing into scotland. the same time, down into the south—west, northern ireland, wales and south—west england, we will see wetter and increasingly windy weather developing by the end of christmas eve afternoon. mild to the south, the greatest chance of seeing some brightness, some sunshine. but cool into the far
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north—east of scotland. as we move out of christmas eve and into christmas day, as the weather front continues to push its way steadily northwards, once again we have still got the cold air sitting across the far north of scotland. on the leading edge, there could be a wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow early on christmas day. that will ease away. it's going to be a pretty nondescript christmas day for most of us. a lot of cloud around, yet again some rain into the northern ireland, wales and south—west england areas. yeah, it stays on the mild side, further north and east we keep the cooler air. that rain has got to sweep its way steadily northwards. so it will be hanging around for some of us for some of us. again, relatively mild.
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this is bbc news broadacsting to viewers in the uk and around the world. i'm martine croxall. our top stories... scientists cautiously welcome uk studies suggesting that the highly—contagious omicron covid variant is milder than previous versions. britain's health secretary warns that the sheer number of infections could still lead to hospitals being overwhelmed. we do know with omicron that it does spread a lot more quickly, it's more infectious than delta, so any advantage gained from reduced risk of hospitalisation needs to be set against that. new south wales proposes to charge unvaccinated people for covid medical costs — the doctors' union says it's unethical. president putin again insists the west must give russia guarantees that nato won't expand eastwards to admit ukraine
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and says he's initiated high—level talks with the us.


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