The Fourth Estate

…was produced in the UK on a zero-budget. The film makers spent two years contacting and interviewing journalists, organisers and critics of the corrupt industrial practices highlighted by, but not limited to, the Leveson Inquiry in 2011. While the phone hacking scandal illuminated the depth and breadth of the cavalier flouting of legality and integrity in British journalism, there are larger implications and connections to ideology, entertainment, and political economy at work in this crisis. The Fourth Estate is the result of an examination of these connections at work.

In the wake of the Leveson report the media’s focus has quickly diverted from a brief period of self-examination to business as usual. This opportunity for serious consideration of the true, entrenched causes and effects of the UK’s inadequate media must not go unexplored, and the recent press scandals must not be framed in terms of the “bad apple” soundbites we’re so often fed.

Examining the people and practices of the media industries, The Fourth Estate illuminates not only specific incidences of corruption by press groups, but how the wider business as a whole, including the film and entertainment industries, has a huge amount to answer for in the state of the politics and culture of the west. There’s no business like show business…

Directed by Lee Salter
Edited by Elizabeth Mizon
Runtime 80mins
UK, 2015

Cast in order of appearance:

Dr. Natalie Fenton: Professor of Media & Communications, Goldsmiths/Vice-Chair, Hacked Off​
Prof. Des Freedman: Professor of Media & Communications, Goldsmiths/Chair of Media Reform Coalition
Dr. Daya Thussu: Professor of International Communications, University of Westminster
Janet Wasko: Political economy scholar, University of Oregon
Deirdre O’Neill & Mike Wayne: Filmmakers, Inside Film
James Curran: Press historian, Professor of Communications, Goldsmiths
Dr. Matthew Green: London Historian, Tour Guide – Ghosts of Fleet Street
Dr. Steve Presence: Co-director, Bristol Radical Film Festival
Rich Peppiatt: Filmmaker and ex-tabloid reporter
Michelle Stanistreet: General Secretary, National Union of Journalists
Justin Schlosberg: Birkbeck College, University of London
Yvonne Ridley: Journalist and Author
Lila Pettifer, aged 5 and Terryl Bacon
Joseph Harker: Journalist, The Guardian
Laurie Penny: Author, Contributing editor – New Statesman
Deanna Rodger: Actor and spoken word poet
Helen Belcher: Trans Media Watch