Comprehensive and critical, The Fourth Estate should be compulsory viewing for students and practitioners of journalism. – Daya Thussu, Professor of International Communication, University of Westminster
Produced in the UK on a zero-budget, The Fourth Estate is directed by Lee Salter and edited by Elizabeth Mizon. The documentary was made in the tradition of Third Cinema, with the film makers spent two years embedded in the issues they are focusing on. Two years reaching out and interviewing journalists, organisers and critics of the corrupt industrial practices highlighted by, but not limited to, the Leveson Inquiry in 2011.
The phone hacking scandal certainly illuminated the depth and breadth of the cavalier flouting of legality and integrity in British journalism. However, there is more at work in this crisis. Larger larger implications and connections to ideology, entertainment, and political economy can not be overlooked. The Fourth Estate is the result of an examination of these connections at work.
After the publication of the Leveson report, the media quickly shifted its focus from a brief period of self-examination to business as usual. This was a crucial time and opportunity to seriously consider the true, entrenched causes and effects of the UK’s inadequate media. The recent press scandals must not go unexplored, and neither should they be framed in terms of the “bad apple” soundbites we’re so often fed.
The Fourth Estate takes a deep look at the people and practices of the media industries. Doing so, it 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…