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Newspapers and YouTube want to host leaders' debate

A proposal to stage a possible 2015 General Election debate on the internet has been put forward by the Guardian, the Telegraph and YouTube.

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown after a leaders' debate in 2010. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive

The three main broadcasters - ITV, BBC and Sky - hosted one debate each in the run-up to the 2010 election.

However, the alliance between YouTube and the two newspapers wants to "break the monopoly" broadcasters hold on the debates and "allow innovative audience participation", according to the Guardian.

The consortium have also vowed to have a female moderator if they host a debate after three men - Alastair Stewart, David Dimbleby and Adam Boulton - hosted the events before the last election.

Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian editor-in-chief, said: "The digital world has become an increasingly vital democratic tool and forum for debate, and it's imperative that politicians understand and embrace the opportunities afforded to them by it."


Ex-BBC boss Byford denies 'greed' in near-£1m pay-off

Former BBC deputy director-general Mark Byford has defended his near-£1 million pay-off, saying that he had not been greedy and the broadcaster had offered him that amount.

Former BBC deputy director-general Mark Byford. Credit: PA

Mr Byford, whose salary was £475,000, received a total of £949,000 when he was made redundant by the corporation - leading to widespread criticism of the BBC.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I have done nothing wrong. I appreciate obviously and understand that it was a lot of money. I appreciate the concern and criticism about the executive payoffs."

But he added: "I absolutely don't think it was greed on my part at all."

Mr Byford, who was on the radio show to talk about his new book, a war story, said: "I lost my job. I was made redundant. I was given the terms I was given by the BBC. I left when I was told to leave by the BBC.

"After 32 years of working there, where I was devoted to the corporation, the last thing that I would ever think or feel was that I would want to have greed."

Final plans for independent press standards body revealed

  • The contract which will bind publishers to IPSO and give the regulator tough powers of investigation, enforcement and sanction.
  • Regulations under which it will operate, investigate complaints and undertake standards investigations.
  • Details which set out the governance of the regulator and guarantee its independence.
  • Financial sanctions guidance under which fines of up to £1 million will be imposed.
  • Details of a new Regulatory Funding Company setting out transparently how IPSO will be funded.

Press industry: 'Issues at stake so extraordinarily high'

The decision by the Government and the Privy Council on this matter has enormous ramifications for free speech both here in the UK, and – because of our leadership role in the Commonwealth and developing world – across the globe.

The Government and the Privy Council should have applied the most rigorous standards of consultation and examination of the Royal Charter proposed by the industry, which would have enshrined tough regulatory standards at the same time as protecting press freedom. They singularly failed to do so, and that is why – as the issues at stake are so extraordinarily high - we are having to take this course of action.

– Lord Black of Brentwood, Chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance

Press apply to High Court over rejected regulation plans

The self-regulation press proposal's were rejected by the Privy Council on 8th October Credit: Press Association

The newspaper and magazine industry has applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the Privy Council's decision to reject its self-regulation proposals for a Royal Charter.

A statement said "it is the clear view" of the industry’s trade associations that the application "was not dealt with fairly".

"We believe that the decision and the Order were therefore unlawful, and the industry’s associations through PressBof [ the industry body which funds the regulatory system] are applying to the High Court for judicial review and to have the decision quashed".


New press watchdog plans attacked by campaigners

Newspapers and magazines have begun to set up a new press watchdog in the wake of the phone hacking scandal - but have been instantly criticised by campaigners.

Plans for the Independent Press Standards Organisation, which will have the power to impose fines of up to £1m, will go out to consultation.

But Hacked Off, which represents some of the victims of phone hacking, claimed the move was a "cynical rebranding exercise" that showed the industry was "determined to hold on to the power to bully the public without facing any consequences".

Presenter: Where have all the older women gone?

New figures released Labour reveal that only 7% of the total TV workforce (on and off-screen) are women over the age of 50.

Meanwhile, the majority of TV presenters who are over 50 are men (82%).

Miriam O'Reilly, who won an employment tribunal against the BBC on the grounds of ageism, said:

These figures raise the obvious questions of where have all the older women gone and why did they go? Was it their choice to leave their jobs or was it a decision forced upon them?

The broadcasters say they are committed to the fair representation of older women, but the figures don't bear that out.

I'd like to know the reasons why so many talented women have disappeared, while their male counterparts have grown older and still have their jobs.

Older women 'disappear from TV' - Labour survey

Women on television are affected by a "combination of ageism and sexism" that does not apply to men, according to new figures released by Labour.

Harriet Harman, shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport, asked the six main UK broadcasters how many older women they employ on screen and behind the camera.

The findings were that while the majority of over 50s in the UK are women (53.1%), the overwhelming majority of TV presenters who are over 50 are men (82%).

Former Countryfile presenter Miriam O'Reilly won an employment tribunal against the BBC on the ground of ageism. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

It was discovered that only 7% of the total TV workforce (on and off-screen) are women over the age of 50.

Ms Harman said: "The figures provided by broadcasters show clearly that once female presenters hit 50, their days on-screen are numbered.

"It is an encouraging first step that broadcasters have been open in providing these statistics. Their response shows that they all recognise that this is an important issue that needs to be addressed.

"I will be publishing these figures annually so we are able to monitor progress."

Ms Harman will also be holding a roundtable with broadcasters in the House of Commons today to challenge them to take action.

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