'MONITORING WORKS'

Daily Telegraph – 3 July 1999

Let me reassure Mrs Betty McKeggie, who is worried that the Conservative Party might spend large sums of money on a media-monitoring operation (letter, June 30).

I was co-founder (with Lord Chalfont) of the only media-monitoring unit ever to have produced effective, regular and comprehensive reports of the extent to which whole series of BBC and ITV programmes failed or succeeded in maintaining due impartiality on politically controversial subjects. I can therefore assure her that the job can be done at a very modest level of expenditure.

All it requires are one or two experienced analysts to produce clear results, based on substantial evidence. We did this repeatedly between 1985 and 1990 for an outlay equivalent to the salary of a typical party research officer.

The measure of our success was to be seen in the marked improvement in fairness shown by such programmes as Panorama during that period.

Dr JULIAN LEWIS MP
Cadnam, Hampshire