Ivan Lewis suffers Twitter repercussions following Labour conference

by Christopher Martin

After the Labour party conference in Liverpool this week, there were a lot of positive comments floating around for Ed Miliband as well as other members of the Labour party. But this wasn’t the case for shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis, whose speech prompted outrage across social media websites, including Facebook, and most notably Twitter. Mr Lewis was accused by a number of people (some journalists themselves) of wanting to set up a state register of journalists. He referred to journalists found guilty of gross malpractice, in relation to the phone hacking scandal earlier this year. He insists however that his comments were miscommunicated and that he did not have that idea in mind when using the phrase “struck off”. He said “I regret the fact there has been a response to something which I didn’t say”. And he continued to say “I don’t favour state oversight of the press”.On social media website Twitter a large amount of users tweeted to vent their dismay at Mr Lewis’s comments. There seemed to be a general feeling of outrage and anger by many, from people of all sorts of backgrounds, not only journalists. Some users made jibes at Mr Lewis; one user, ‘LewJam’, said “it would help if Ivan lewis could define journalist I think”. Another user, ‘jgmanley’ had a more substantial comment to make; he said “Labour’s Ivan Lewis wants bad journalists struck off like bad doctors, etc. With blogging everyone’s a journalist nowadays”. Furthermore ‘jberrill’ elaborated on ‘jgmanley’s’ comments by saying; “in the age of the internet and blogging, Ivan Lewis’ journalist register/plan is absurd. Is this really Labour policy?”. Opposition parties also got in on the Twitter outrage and made comments criticizing Mr Lewis’ comments.

The impact of social media (in this case primarily Twitter) has once again proven to have such a huge impact upon the news and the world we live. After all it was the public’s grievance on the web which has caused Ivan Lewis to make such a U-turn on the comments he made at the Labour conference. Perhaps if it wasn’t for the internet and the ease at which anyone can vent their opinion, Mr Lewis may not have made another comment on the matter and may very well have stuck by his words. This is just another example of the power social media has, at a time when ordinary people can set the agenda for news groups.


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