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 with no budget, The Fourth Estate is a documentary about the UK media, directed by Lee Salter and edited by Elizabeth Mizon. In the tradition of Third Cinema, the film makers spent two years embedded in the issues they are focusing on. The film makers spent 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 of 2011 illuminated the depth and breadth of the cavalier flouting of legality and integrity in British journalism. But there is more at work in this supposed 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. Most importantly it questions whether phone hacking illuminated a crisis or simply reflected the normal functioning of the British 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 British media industries. It illuminates not just specific incidences of corruption by media corporations, 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.