Mainstream Media And Public Health

When I had set out on my career in TV, British television was an elitist world of three channels (C4 started in 1982) in some ways it still is elitist, but access has been revolutionised by technology, and technology has given rise to growth and opportunity in community media.

I am appalled sometimes at the quality of material broadcast on mainstream media. Not all of it of course, but the infatuation with celebrity rages on, as does the tendency towards negativity.

News is seduced by the availability of pictures, by celebrity, by shock and awe, by death, killing, violence and tragedy. Government ministers herald the public service value of TV inventions like Big Brother.

In absolute terms this may be right, but that is not where we are at. Would you talk to your child at breakfast each day about such bloody aspects of humanity’s approach to life when there are golden stories plain to see and ready to share ?

I believe that mainstream news is creating a public health issue by its relentless pursuit of negative content. This is not an argument for censoring the nasty bits, but let there be balance.