Occupy activists take over lobby of right-wing rag publishers News UK
THE doors of Rupert Murdoch’s London headquarters were blockaded at the weekend as a week of protests by democracy campaigners reached a dramatic climax.
Occupy activists had camped outside the News UK offices for the previous seven days in protest against the billionaire’s monopoly of the media.
And a 50-strong group swooped into the lobby of the plush offices on Saturday night, occupying the entrance for more than six hours.
The action ended a week of events aimed at raising awareness of media control and censorship in Britain and was supported by celebrities including comedians Russell Brand and the Artist Taxi Driver.
Campaigner for media freedom Donnachadh McCarthy said from the occupation: “Occupy has closed the front door of News UK, Rupert Murdoch’s HQ, due to his war crimes, attacks on the poor, political blackmail and climate denial.
“It is time to end hijacking of Britain’s democracy by the five right-wing extremist billionaires.”
Campaigners are also calling for all the parties to support their charter for a free democratic press ahead of the general election.
The charter demands that media companies be owned by “employee ownership trusts” and that trade unions are recognised at all staff levels.
It also believes that all media owners with offshore, tax-dodging accounts should be banned from publishing and that an independent press complaints commission be established immediately.
An Occupy Rupert Murdoch Week spokesperson argued that the “Leveson inquiry not only revealed the callous invasion of the privacy of grieving families, through industrial scale hacking, but equally importantly exposed the fact that Britain’s politicians have been blackmailed and bullied by these media corporations for a generation.
“The fourth estate is a crucial pillar of the UK’s democracy.
“It is time to remove these five extremist billionaires from our fourth estate and ensure the press reflects the needs of all the people and not just the 1 per cent corporate billionaire class,” he said.
“We call on Ofcom to immediately declare all five to be not fit and proper persons to hold media proprietorships.”
When approached by the Star a Sun spokesman dismissed the action, claiming: “We haven’t really noticed that there’s been a protest outside the Sun offices, most days there’s barely been more than one person outside the door with a cardboard sign.”