By Lauren Shull
From the Author: One of the central pillars of American democracy is a free press; it has been called the fourth branch of government and is the only business protected in the Constitution.
Protection in the most sacrosanct American document does not necessarily create an uncensored media. Many nations do better at preventing government interference in their media. One such nation is Great Britain, which obstructs the media’s functioning, including its partisan newspapers, far less often. But even Great Britain is not completely innocent; various Governments (we would call them administrations) use their political muscle to have a story told their way. Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair have both done what they could to protect their policies and images on screen and in print. Both have attempted to gain control over some of the output of the BBC, which is reputedly a bastion of democracy, balance and truth.
As an aspiring journalist and professed Anglophile, I was intrigued to research levels of government censorship in the BBC, my favorite source of news and information. When I was studying at the London School of Economics through the Hansard Programme I decided to investigate. I focused on Mrs Thatcher and Mr Blair as two incredibly influential and widely divergent politicians. As different as their policies were their ways of handling the media. New Labour was not constrained by the Conservative Government that came before it, and so Mr Blair reinvented how Westminster interacted with the media, as well as the policies therein.
Read: Censorship of the BBC under Prime Ministers Thatcher and Blair
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