Friday, 19 June 2009

Quotes of the Week

BBC report on Suzanne Breen's court victory to defend her sources: "His Honour Judge Burgess, the Recorder of Belfast, said that (to hand over sources material) would be a breach of Ms Breen's right to life under the European Convention on Human Rights. He acknowledged that there was a great public interest in catching the killers but said the journalist's right to life outweighs that. The Recorder said he was satisfied that the concept of confidentiality for journalists protecting their sources is recognised in law, and specifically under the Terrorism Act 2000 and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights."

NUJ general secretary, Jeremy Dear on Suzanne Breen's victory: “We now hope that the security forces will concentrate on tracking down criminals and those responsible for murder rather than targeting journalists. The use of anti-terror legislation to target journalists is a worrying international trend and this case is a welcome development in halting the erosion of civil liberties.”

Journalist Heather Brooke, whose Freedom of Information fight led to MPs' expenses being published, on their final publication: "The mechanics of this publication have been characterised by the usual chaos, confusion and obfuscation we’ve come to expect from the House of Commons and the Members Estimates Committee. No official statement was given as to the final date, time and format. Just rumour and speculation. There was a complete lack of leadership, no identifiable person responsible for the publication – just the usual phalanx of faceless bureaucrats avoiding accountability."

Daniel Finkelstein of The Times on outing policeman blogger NightJack : "When a public servant decides to reveal the confidences of their colleagues and details of their work, especially on police cases, then their identity becomes a legitimate matter of interest. And other journalists might reasonably investigate the matter.
"What, say, if it turned out that NightJack wasn't actually a detective at all? Or that he was Sir Ian Blair? Are we really saying that his identity isn't a public matter?"

Policeman blogger NightJack: "One morning I heard a rumour that The Times had sent a photographer to my home. Later in the afternoon came the inevitable phone calls from The Times, first to me and then to Lancashire Constabulary asking for confirmation that I was the author of the NightJack blog. That was easily the worst afternoon of my life.
"I knew that it was serious and quite rightly my employers have investigated it as a matter of misconduct. With that under way, I went to court to stop The Times from publishing my name, my photograph or any personal details about my home and my family."

The Guardian on Digital Britain report: "a big, bland policy stew"

BBC News website editor Steve Hermann on Iran: "So why are we also monitoring social media like the microblogging service Twitter and linking to its search results for the Iran elections? Simply put, it's because among the various impediments to reporting, there's a huge ongoing, informed and informative discussion in Iran between people who care deeply about what is happening there and who are themselves monitoring everything they can, then circulating the most useful information and links."

BBC political editor Nick Robinson on Simon Lewis being appointed Gordon Brown's head of communications: "The next time the Telegraph runs a story about the prime minster's expenses could be interesting. Gordon Brown's new official spokesman will call the editor of the paper. They will speak on first name terms. No wonder, the two men are brothers.
"Simon Lewis, who once worked for the Queen, is taking over as director of communications at No 10 at the end of July. His main task: to repair the dreadful damage done to his boss's reputation, in part by the actions of brother Will over at the Telegraph."

Newsquest Sussex to a reporter asking about possible job cuts at The Argus, Brighton: “We do not comment on our business.”

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