The Fourth Estate: A documentary about the British media

The Fourth Estate is a documentary about the UK news media by Lee Salter and Elizabeth Mizon, This zero-budget, Third Cinema film tackles the big questions about news and media in the UK.

“A brilliant film take on ‘Everything You Wanted to Know About the Media but Were Afraid to Ask” – Ivor Gabor, Professor of Journalism, University of Sussex

In fact, The Fourth Estate is the only recent documentary about the British media!

As a documentary on media and journalism in the UK, it starts with the hacking scandal to look at the how news really works. We see how propaganda and ethics, television news, Hollywood films, tabloids and tabloidization work. The film is framed by showing ways race, gender and class are portrayed in the media.

You can watch the full documentary online for free here.

Wondering why we made a film about the media?

Watch a trailer here, or read our blog for more information.

The Documentary Explained.

The Fourth Estate assembles a cast of academics, researchers, former and current journalists, activists and victims of the media. They tell the stories the media don’t want you to know about.

We see How Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch secured an agreement to seize power. We see how the First World War led to US dominance in film and media distribution. The film also shows what happens to journalists who speak out.

Media from the Inside

We hear from Lila, a little girl who tells us how Disney and Harry Potter make her think about herself. Her conclusions are unexpected! Spoken word poet, Deanna Roger tells us why Lily Allen’s video for It’s Hard Out Here raises problems of race and racism.

We hear from Dr Deirdre O’Neill how class frames everything we see in the media, especially who gets to produce it. Professor James Curran explains how the economy of the media affects what we see. Curran then shows how the dodgy deals connect politicians and media corporations.

Janet Wasco delves into the murky world of Hollywood and Disney. Richard Peppiatt reflects on his time as a tabloid journalist and how he helped to destroy people’s lives before he turned his around.

Yvonne Ridley tells us about how her imprisonment by the Taliban was framed by the papers, and how different it was to her own experience. Her life as a journalist was turned around when she was kidnapped. It opened her eyes to the difference between reality and media myths.

Radical media activists show us how different things can be with community-based media projects. We ask what changes, if any, might occur. Can politicians change anything, or do they simply not want to? Who has the ultimate power – politicians or media barons?

The Fourth Estate is directed by Lee Salter and edited by Elizabeth Mizon.
Runtime 80 mins
UK, 2015

The Fourth Estate is a Sambiki Saru production.

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