Friday, 15 March 2013

Media Quotes of the Week: From Leveson comes down to a Parly vote to Vicky Price and betrayal

David Cameron ruling out a full legislative response to Leveson and opting for a vote in Parliament, as reported by the London Evening Standard: "“Effectively this is bringing this to a head. I have chosen action over inaction. I have chosen workability against unworkability. I have chosen something that would protect the freedom of the press over something that would undermine it.”

Ed Miliband on Cameron's move, as reported by the BBC: "I told him I thought he was making a historic mistake which would not serve the victims, and that we should carry on working to serve the victims of the abuses that took place in the past and to see whether we could find a solution together." 

on Twitter: "Cameron caves in to Fleet Street bullies"
Dan Hodges on Telegraph blogs: "Next week’s vote in the Commons is now a win/win for the Prime Minister. Either the Government prevails, and Miliband is left humiliated and empty handed. Or the Opposition wins the vote, in which case David Cameron is able to frame himself as the heroic defender of press freedom; both now, and come the election in 2015."

The Daily Mail in a leader: "For deplorably cynical short-term motives, a tawdry alliance of Labour and LibDem politicians is holding Parliament to ransom in a bid to force through legislation which could seriously diminish the freedom of the Press to expose injustice, corruption and hypocrisy in public life."

The Independent in a leader: "This newspaper recently backed calls for a charter, underpinned by a short statute. With the Prime Minister still willing to talk, there is time for that compromise to be achieved. With so urgent a need for a tougher system of media regulation, a split between politicians and the press helps no one."

The Daily Telegraph in a leader: "In recent weeks, two senior police officers have been arrested for passing information to journalists even though no money was exchanged or even requested. In other words, they face prosecution for briefing reporters on their activities. This is a worrying development because maintaining a relationship between newspapers and people in public office – be they police chiefs, soldiers, civil servants or government ministers – is a central plank of democracy. Those who doubt this simply fail to understand that a function of the press in a free society is to act as a conduit between people in positions of authority and the public."

Sun investigations editor Brian Flynn, speaking at the 'Journalism in the Dock' debate at City University:"It feels like we are being frogmarched into a police state".

Lynn Barber on Piers Morgan in theSunday Times Magazine [£]: "He says he’s keenly aware that he must not come across as hectoring, but that’s exactly how it felt when he was reeling off statistics about gun deaths in America. I was impressed by his command of the subject, but also thinking: 'Can we get back to talking about Cowell soon?' Serious Morgan is all very well, but fluffy Morgan is far more fun."

Piers Morgan about his Twitter account, to Lynn Barber in the Sunday Times Magazine [£]: “I have more followers than eight British national newspapers put together have readers.”

Tom Streithorst on The Prospect blog"As industrial jobs evaporated, few of us in the news business cared. Remember that famous quote about Nazi Germany. When they came for the miners, I remained silent because I wasn’t a miner. When they came for the air traffic controllers, I remained silent because I wasn’t an air traffic controller. When they came for the middle managers, I remained silent because I wasn’t a middle manager. When they came for the journalists, only the journalists spoke out—and guess what, nobody listened."

Peter Preston in the Observer: "Ask local and regional journalists and they'll tell you the truth: journalism isn't well-paid. But where does it sit in the third division of trades and professions? Forbes, using government statistics, has just constructed a US league table around an annual mean yearly salary of $43,640. You'll be happy to learn that reporters, notebooks open, fit in the same category as airline stewards, marriage therapists, chefs – and embalmers. I know people keep saying papers are dying, but this is ridiculous."

Isabel Oakeshott on Vicky Pryce in the Sunday Times [£]: "While I was busy protecting her identity, she had been busy revealing all to a rival newspaper, The Mail on Sunday. Even worse, she had handed it a copy of the tapes. This was an extraordinary betrayal and deeply underhand after everything we had been through together. Our relationship had been based on trust. I had kept my side of the bargain; she had broken hers."

Nick Cohen on The Spectator blog: "Oakeshott does not understand that the moral obligations between a journalist and his or her sources flow in one direction only. They are putting their life and liberty in your hands not vice versa. They are free to deny the truth of the stories you print, if that's what it takes to keep them in a job or out of prison. They can speak to other journalists; they can do whatever they want. You are in their debt. They are not in yours."

[£] = paywall 

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