Media Quotes of the Week: Wanted a Fleet Street champion, fear at the BBC and the most significant invention for journalism since the telephone
Ian Burrell in the Independent: "Since the Leveson inquiry was announced, the press has lacked a credible
figurehead who can connect with the public in a similar way to Hugh
Grant of the media-reform group Hacked Off. Fleet Street lacks a
Respect at Work Review on the BBC: “Throughout our conversations we heard a strong undercurrent of fear;
fear of speaking out, fear of reprisal, fear of losing your job, being
made redundant, fear of becoming a victim, fear of getting a reputation
as a troublemaker and not getting promoted if an employee, or further
work if a freelancer, supplier or contractor."
Torin Douglas, the BBC's media correspondent who leaves the Corporation this month after 24 years, in a Press Gazetteinterview:
“The fact is, morale within the BBC is not good – particularly with
the strikes and everything. A lot of BBC staff are unhappy about the pay
of their managers, the way the BBC is managed and so on.”
Downing Street source quoted by the Independent: “The Royal
Charter put forward by the three parties and agreed after 22 weeks of
consultation with the newspaper industry is the one we think should go
A statement from Stuart Hall's solicitor, when he was first charged in December, as reported by the Daily Mail: 'Stuart
Hall is innocent of these charges. He is unable to comment further at
this stage. It is a matter of concern that in the week following
publication of the Leveson Report there appears to have been systematic,
measured leaks to the media which have given a misleading impression of
what this case is about."
Joel Simon, executive director of New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, responds to Hacked Off's Brian Cathcart: "Of course, it is natural that Cathcart would come to a
different conclusion, since he has a very different role. His brief is to
advocate on behalf of the victims of media abuses, who unquestionably deserve
our support and sympathy. Our role is to defend the basic principles of press
freedom and the rights of journalists to report the news. I have no doubt that
Cathcart believes a Royal Charter supported by statute is the best solution for
Britain. But it is not the best solution for journalists around the world, and
that is why we oppose it."
Oxford Mail group editor Simon O'Neil, quoted by the Newspaper Society on the Government's draft Royal Charter on press regulation: "I am disappointed, but not surprised, that despite fine words from MPs
of all parties, including the three leaders, the impact this would have
on the regional press has been completely ignored, or at best viewed as
collateral damage. They clearly believed that if they patted us on the
head we’d just go away. They were wrong."
The Daily Telegraphafter being banned by Newcastle United for claiming there was a 'split' in the dressing room: "We regret the club's decision to ban the Telegraph from attending
matches and press conferences, but will not allow it to prevent us providing
the most incisive, trustworthy Newcastle coverage, rather than pandering to
what the club want you to read."
Southern Daily Echo editor Ian Murray after revelations in the paper (above) forced the leader of Southampton City Council to quit, as reported by HoldTheFrontPage: “It was shocking in the end that the council’s legal department
attempted to silence us with threats before we published our
investigations based on their own report. This was a clear matter of public interest. If we had not lifted the
lid on this issue then no one else would have revealed what was going
on. As a lesson in why a free and vibrant local press is needed to scrutinise local democracy I can think of no better example.”
Martin Kettle in the Guardian: "In the course of the post-Leveson debate, a great principle – the free
press – has been shamelessly hijacked by vested interests. Freedom has
been elided with press self-interest. Press opposition to reform has
been brash, heavy-handed and single-minded. Even the extraordinary all-party agreement in March to put significant parts of Leveson under the umbrella of a royal
charter caused only momentary hesitation. In the end, not even the fact
that no single MP voted against the agreement counted for anything. The
press ignored parliament's verdict."
Steve Hewlett in the Observer: "With the moonlight flit to Wapping, Murdoch moved to take on the print unions who had supported his purchase of the Sun.
And difficult and brutal as it was, there is now a consensus, more or
less, that change had to happen and that, by acting in a way no other
press owner dared to do, Murdoch has extended the commercial life of
Britain's press by at least 20 years."
Janet Street Porter in the Mail on Rachel Johnson: "Pushy Rachel has talked up editing a minor magazine (The Lady) into a major journalistic achievement - at least I've edited a national newspaper."
Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog: "Journalism is too important to our democracy to be permitted to wither
on the vine because rapacious bankers are squeezing companies that put
profit before public service."
I am a freelance journalist based in the UK and was deputy editor of Press Gazette, the journalists' magazine, from 1993 until 2006. I want to give an independent view on media matters.
You can contact me with stories, ideas and comments by email at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also follow me on Twitter @jonslattery