Photo: Sophie J. Brown, Wikimedia Commons

Should election coverage be impartial?

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Television and the media have been circulating with publicised campaigns, biased interviewees and debates following Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement of a June snap election. It might seem all fine and well that the election is a main talking point on UK news, but televised media seems to have a knack for broadcasting a political bias.

Switching onto BBC’s Newsnight on the same evening of May’s announcement, I was surprised to see such an obvious party bias towards the Conservatives already. Granted, the Conservatives are the current party in power and have been since 2010, but I feel as though there should be some sense of impartial election coverage. Televised media should recognise the power they have and allow people to vote on their own informed views, as opposed to being influenced by word of mouth.

Newsnight’s interviewees consisted of people who were either Conservative, or locals saying they would back May on the premise that Jeremy Corbyn’s views would be too ‘wishy-washy’ for a Prime minister, and so only viable in a constituent leadership role. One Labour voter was even shown praising May but proclaimed that they will never vote Tory, essentially saying that the only reason they would vote Labour is out of loyalty. This just stresses the importance of people voting on the candidates’ manifestos rather than solely on the parties that they think they should vote for.

There has seemed to be a negative portrayal of Jeremy Corbyn from the word go, which can make the election seem pointless for Labour supporters.

TV should be impartial in the elections and give the rest of the parties an equal chance with their TV coverage. However, the BBC have been airing each party’s campaign videos. They started with showing the Green Party’s campaign video after Newsnight including a link where all party videos can be viewed online.

There has seemed to be a negative portrayal of Jeremy Corbyn from the word go, which can make the election seem pointless for Labour supporters. In turn, less people may go to the polls if they feel as though their vote will not make an impact. This is also an increasing problem with younger voters that are either not filled into politics or feel that their voices are not being heard.

UK politics have taken a humoured, light-mannered approach in recent years with Brexit, and Prime Ministerial scandals and this has been carried through into our treatment of voting and serial elections. Surely some sense of seriousness needs to be retained in politics to show its importance to everyone, rather than voting to be seen as something taken lightly. Videos such as ‘Brenda from Bristol’ whose reaction was one that many could relate to, is a genuine piece of appreciated light-mannered humour in the current political climate, but how far does this go? Adopting this type of attitude, or someone taking it seriously, can lead to people not prioritising voting, or worse – not bothering to vote at all. TV needs to encourage all audiences to vote by showing them why it is worth it, and why all parties stand a chance.

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