All-Party Parliamentary Media Group

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The All-Party Parliamentary Media Group is said to exist 'To provide a forum for the discussion of public policy on the media.'[1]

The Group is run by a lobbying firm called the Whitehouse Consultancy, which also runs a number of other parliamentary policy discussion groups the aim of which is to get lobbyists and their clients face and schmooze time with politicians and to constrain the policy views that they hear. 'The work of the Media Group', notes Whitehouse, 'also gave rise to the now independent Westminster Media Forum which organises regular keynote national seminars on important developments in media policy.'[2]

History

Whitehouse gives a potted history of its work for the APPMG on its website:

The All-Party Parliamentary Media Group was formed in 1992 to be a forum for discussion within Parliament on public policy as it affects the media sector. Its membership is drawn from all political parties and both Houses of Parliament. It meets regularly to receive an address and have a short discussion with key players from the media industry, its regulatory agencies, and Government Ministers. It is an impartial, efficiently run organisation, which provides a useful interface between Parliament, the industry and other key stakeholders.[3]

Note the discussion is between regulatory agencies, ministers and the industry; little role for citizens, or even pressure groups or unions. The story continues:

Our approach was to position the Media Group from the outset as the pre-eminent forum within Parliament for the discussion of public policy on the media. We provide an efficient and professional secretariat that is completely impartial to all party political considerations and all interests within the industry. We organise a programme of regular meetings for the Group as well as a series of policy breakfasts and an Annual Reception attended and addressed by the Secretary of State for Culture Media And Sport. The Chair of the Group is a former journalist and TV presenter and its other officers bring substantial credibility from a wide range of backgrounds in the media and policy-making community.[4]

The claim that it is impartial in relation to party politics and 'all interests' in the industry is debatable given that all citizen interests are excluded from their own description. The story continues with an explanation for their industry funding:

The Media Group is now acknowledged as a leading forum for discussion in Parliament and its work is sponsored, at arms length, by the BBC, Sky, ITV, Channel 4 Television, Time Warner and Walt Disney. It makes a valuable contribution to raising the quality of debate on media policy in Parliament and is greatly valued both by Ministers and by industry.[5]

In the end the 'arms length' relationship seems not to matter all that much as both ministers and industry 'greatly value' the group. Perhaps this is true of ministers, it certainly seems to be true of industry who support the group precisely so they can get 'value' from it.

People

Officers, 2015

2007

Chair: Austin Mitchell | Lord Lipsey | Derek Wyatt | Don Foster | Peter Bottomley | Roger Gale | John Greenway

20 Qualifying Members

Austin Mitchell | Derek Wyatt | Lord Lipsey | Lord Bragg | Lord Gordon of Strathblane | Lord Macdonald of Tradeston | Lord Grocott | Lord Dubs | Chris Bryant | Phil Woolas | Roger Gale | John Greenway | Peter Bottomley | Sir Nicholas Winterton | John Whittingdale | David Cameron | Damian Green | Don Foster | Lord McNally | Baroness Howe of Idlicote

Secretariat

The Whitehouse Consultancy Ltd acts as the group's secretariat, helping to perform day-to-day administrative tasks and event management.

Benefits registered

On 18 January 2016 the APPG registered that Whitehouse had been paid (in bands of £1,500): £12,001-£13,500 by BT, TimeWarner, Channel 4 TV, Telegraph Media Group, Arqiva, News UK, UKTV, Global Group and Camelot to perform its secretariat function. The same organisations also paid £12,001-£13,500 to help fund a reception due to be held in July 2016. [8]

On 22 March 2016 the APPG registered that Whitehouse had been paid (in bands of £1,500) £13,501-£15,000 by the aforementioned organisations to provide secretariat services to the group. [7]

Staff payments

The group's clerk, Christopher Whitehouse (who does not hold a parliamentary pass) is director of Westminster Forum Projects Ltd, The Whitehouse Consultancy Ltd, and Whitehouse Europe Ltd, according to the Whitehouse Consultancy, which does PR/lobbying work for the group.[9]

Contact

The public enquiry point is Chris Whitehouse of The Whitehouse Consultancy Ltd.

Address: 305 The Metal Box Factory, 30 Great Guildford Street, London SE1 0HS

Tel: 020 7463 0692

Email: chris.whitehouse@whitehouseconsulting.co.uk

Notes

  1. Register of All-Party Groups Contents, Section 2: Subject Groups [All-Party Parliamentary Media Group http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/memi352.htm] accessed 15 November 2007
  2. All-Party Parliamentary Media Group Case Study accessed 15 November 2007
  3. All-Party Parliamentary Media Group Case Study, accessed 16 November 2007
  4. All-Party Parliamentary Media Group Case Study, accessed 16 November 2007
  5. All-Party Parliamentary Media Group Case Study, accessed 16 November 2007
  6. Media APPG, www.parliament.uk, accessed 19 November 2015
  7. 7.0 7.1 Media APPG, Register 28 April 2016, parliament.uk, accessed 11 May 2016
  8. Media APPG Register Feb 2016, www.parliament.uk, accessed 16 February 2016
  9. Register of All-Party Groups Contents, Section 2: Subject Groups All-Party Parliamentary Media Group accessed 15 November 2007