Friday, 20 January 2012

Quotes of the Week: From Sly Bailey on regional press ads to comparing MacKenzie to Shipman

Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey on regional press advertising at the Leveson Inquiry: "At the peak, we had around £150m recruitment advertising supporting our titles, and last year we had less than £20m."

Spencer Feeney, editor of the South Wales Evening Post, at Leveson: “The local press is in a fragile financial state. Please don't make any recommendations ... to exacerbate that."

Daily Mirror editor Richard Wallace at Leveson: "Just after I was appointed editor of the Daily Mirror, the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, asked me to 10 Downing Street. One of the first things he asked me was when was I going to sack one of my journalists who had been a constant critic of the Government and Mr Blair in particular. Of course, I did not react to it."

Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger at Leveson on the newspaper industry: "We've been under-regulated and over legislated."

Brian Cathcart in the Independent on Leveson: "This is not a case of the press fighting an unending battle for its liberties. It long ago accepted the need for effective regulation and indeed it has long insisted that such regulation existed. It just cynically would not allow it to happen. If, after all that has happened in recent months, Leveson, or parliament, or the public, accepted the industry's latest promises, that would be to run an unacceptably high risk of joining a line of history's suckers – and of failing to learn from all that experience. This time we should ensure change is real and lasting."

The Times in a leader: "We make two points above all. The first is that we believe in the freedom of the press and argue that preserving this freedom requires resisting any form of statutory regulation. The second is a more ambitious, optimistic argument. The report of the Leveson inquiry, for all the inauspicious circumstances of its establishment, can prove to be a positive moment, one where Britain gains both a better and a freer press."

Nick Cohen in the Observer on the British libel laws (from his book You Can't Read This Book): "With an aristocratic prejudice against freedom of speech, the judges imposed costs and sanctions on investigative journalism that would have been hard to endure in the best of times, but were unbearable after the internet had undermined the media's business models. Instead of aiming its guns at the worst of British writing, the law of libel aimed at the bravest."

Andrew Neil, interviewed in the Independent on Sunday, on Rod Liddle's article about the Stephen Lawrence case which is under investigation for possible contempt of court: "It's quite clear it shouldn't have been published, but if you are going to be a magazine like The Spectator, and take strong positions and be controversial, every now and then you may do something stupid."

Chris Horrie, quoted in the Independent, on Leveson: "Kelvin MacKenzie is a national treasure and he's very funny, but asking him for advice on the ethics of journalism is like asking Harold Shipman for advice on medical ethics. This thing is just a circus."

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