Friday, 23 September 2011

Quotes of the Week: From the Met vs the Guardian to a proprietor who doesn't pull his punches

Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail backs the Guardian in its battle with the Met:
"Attempting to use the Official Secrets Act to interfere with a legitimate journalistic investigation is outrageous. How dare the Yard claim that this information was not in the public interest? How dare they try to put the frighteners on reporters?"

Guido Fawkes on Twitter: "Beginning to worry about Richard Littlejohn's continuing drift leftwards."

The Sunday Times in a leader: "The Met’s behaviour should be of concern to everybody in the media. It will set a dangerous legal precedent which could be used against investigative journalists everywhere. If sources know they risk exposure, they will stop providing information, strangling investigative journalism at birth. Furthermore, journalists have a duty to protect confidential sources and many would go to prison rather than reveal their contacts."

Former Sunday Times editor Harold Evans writing in the Observer about the Guardian case: "I cannot believe that the attorney general will let this case of uniformed bullying go forward. It would be clearly a breach of the Human Rights Act and the precedent set in Goodwin v UK, as noted by Geoffrey Robertson, QC. Without the ability and determination of the press to protect sources, many wrongs would go undetected and unpunished, as they were in the hacking case. And when I say the press, I mean all the media, including broadcasting."

The Guardian after the Met dropped its action: "The statement put out by the Met announcing its retreat left open the possibility that the production order could be applied for again, but the Guardian's lawyers have been told that the police have dropped the application."

Stephen Glover in the Independent on the closure of the News of the World and possible launch of The Sun on Sunday: "The Murdochs were able to represent themselves as acting decisively and almost altruistically – rather as a farmer might regretfully shoot a rabid dog that has been a cherished family pet. Now it turns out that the dog was old, unloved and expensive to keep, and there is a young puppy waiting in the wings which will be a much better proposition. The whole process has been a cynical charade."

Nick Cohen in the Observer on WikiLeaks' Julian Assange: "The grass or squealer usually blabs because he wants to settle scores or ingratiate himself with the authorities. Assange represents a new breed, which technology has enabled: the nark as show-off. The web made Assange famous. It allows him to monitor his celebrity – I am told that even the smallest blogpost about him rarely escapes his attention. When he sees that the audience is tiring, the web provides him with the means to publish new secrets and generate new headlines. Under the cover of holding power to account, Assange can revel in the power the web gives to put lives in danger and ensure he can be what he always wanted: the centre of attention."

Sienna Miller in the Independent: "The tabloid media culture in this country had got to a point where it was completely immoral. There was no consideration for you as a human being. You were successful, you were making money, therefore you deserved it and it was a very medieval way of behaving. I realised I couldn't continue living in this country and do my job, which I loved. You want to feel that you can do something creative that you love without being picked apart and mutilated for other people's pleasure."

Roy Greenslade at the Thomson Reuters debate on the future of the press: "There hasn't been self-regulation. The strings of the PCC have been pulled by News International and Associated."

Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger, at the same debate: "Roy is right. Before we abolish press regulation let's try it. It's not so much a failure of regulation but no regulation."

PCC chair Peta Buscombe responds: "I've never had my personal strings pulled."

Alexander Lebedev, owner of the Independent and London Evening Standard, after thumping a guest on a Russian talkshow: "In a critical situation, there is no choice. I see no reason to be hit with the first shot. I neutralised him."

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