Media Watch 8/3/15

By Rowan Williams

On the first anniversary of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Australia have reiterated their commitment to finding the vanished aircraft. Flight MH370 vanished en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. A report released by Malaysian authorities today has revealed that the battery of the plane’s underwater locator beacon had expired one year before the aircraft’s final flight. The beacon on the cockpit voice recorder was still functioning, however. The report goes into minute details for the background of the aircraft and its crew, but reveals little information regarding the plane’s disappearance. Remembrance ceremonies are being held in various locations by the families of the 239 victims.

Plans for the government’s new anti-extremism strategy will include banning Islamic extremists from working with children and young people, The Sunday Telegraph has revealed. While the Home Office document outlining the strategy is not yet believed to have been signed off, highlighted areas of concern in the document include Sharia courts. Under the strategy, job centre staff could be required to identify benefit claimants they believe to be at risk of radicalisation. The document also includes proposals to ensure the embracing of ‘British values’ by immigrants to the UK.

China has said it will welcome all international leaders to a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in what some have noted is a strong sign that former wartime enemy Japan will be invited to proceedings. Observers had feared that following the recent trend of strained ties between the two countries and China’s growing military assertiveness, the memorial parade could further escalate tensions between China and Japan. China has often expressed its frustration over what it feels to be insufficient Japanese acknowledgement and atonement for crimes committed during the War.

The Papers

Television appears to be a theme in a couple of headlines today. The Observer leads with news that Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband will pass a law “to guarantee TV election debates” should Labour win at the general election. The law would make appearance at TV election debates mandatory for leaders. The Independent on Sunday, meanwhile, writes that Prime Minister David Cameron is “to get his own TV show”. Should the Prime Minister not appear in the televised election debates he has already specified, the BBC may give the Prime Minister his own election interview in order to follow its own rules of impartiality and fair coverage. The Sunday Telegraph leads with news that “Now the crackdown is launched” on extremism in Britain. The paper states it has seen documents on a planned crackdown on Islamic extremism in the UK. Action taken could include preventing extremists working with children and young people, and working against Sharia courts.

British Media on China

On the censorship of Under the Dome: Under the Dome, a Chinese environmental documentary hailed as ‘China’s “Inconvenient Truth”‘, has been removed from streaming websites over the past few days after racking up hundreds of millions of views. The film’s success drew coverage from most major UK media outlets, as has its censorship, with articles from the BBC, Guardian, Independent and Daily Telegraph on the story. The BBC reports that the film’s sudden popularity “appears to have made the communist authorities nervous”. The Daily Telegraph’s article highlights China’s vow to be open about the environment at the same time that it erased the film. The Guardian notes that before its deletion, “the film was even promoted in state media”. The Independent writes that the film had been viewed by many “as a potential watershed moment” in sparking national debate on pollution.

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