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Dissident Island Radio

Aug 5, 2011

In January 1986, Rupert Murdoch moved his printing operation, News International, from Fleet St to Wapping in East London. Over 5,000 print workers, clerical staff, cleaners and secretaries were sacked in one day. He broke the traditionally strong printers union and banned the NUJ â the results of which we can see today.

Despite the Sun is an investigation into the year-long dispute, which shook the print industry. Produced from the point of view of the residents and print workers, the camera records the effects on residents harassed by the police and Murdochâs lorries alike and cavalry-like charges of police horses on the picket lines. Vital questions are raised on the ownership and control of the media, access to it, the organisation of work and impact of the so-called ânew technologyâ. Get the DVD.

One of the first camcorder activist tapes, Despite the Sun sold over 400 copies and was (thankfully) âbootleggedâ by the picketers and sold on the picket lines. An important historical account of a dispute that will resonate for many years to come and one that was almost totally ignored by the media.

During the three month production of this video Despite TV had equipment damaged, many light bulbs truncheoned and three members were assaulted by police.

Sean Cubitt: âthatâs I think one of the most gripping pieces of political documentary to be made in this country in the last 50 years, itâs a phenomenal piece of work.â
âthey all went scooting round through peopleâs houses and so on to get stories that the national media werenât getting, and itâs a fabulous piece of workâ
âSo it was very important aesthetically as well as in terms of its politics.â

The following audio is the recording of the panel discussion that followed the screening of Despite TV’s ‘Despite the Sun’ at the London College of Communication on 3 August, 2011.