Friday, 23 August 2013

Quotes of the Week: From Alan Rusbridger's chilling warning to Guardian-bashers bite back

Image of the Week: Guardian's destroyed MacBook
Alan Rusbridger in the Guardian: "The state that is building such a formidable apparatus of surveillance will do its best to prevent journalists from reporting on it. Most journalists can see that. But I wonder how many have truly understood the absolute threat to journalism implicit in the idea of total surveillance, when or if it comes – and, increasingly, it looks like 'when'. We are not there yet, but it may not be long before it will be impossible for journalists to have confidential sources. Most reporting – indeed, most human life in 2013 – leaves too much of a digital fingerprint. Those colleagues who denigrate Snowden or say reporters should trust the state to know best (many of them in the UK, oddly, on the right) may one day have a cruel awakening. One day it will be their reporting, their cause, under attack."

Glenn Greenwald on the Guardian's Comment is Free after his partner, David Miranda, was detained  by UK authorities at Heathrow: "This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It's bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It's worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they feel threatened by. But the UK puppets and their owners in the US national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples."

Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog: "Edward Snowden is an heroic whistleblower. The journalist who wrote his story, Glenn Greenwald, was responsible for breaking one of the world's greatest exclusives. Should we journalists, as a community, not be rallying to their cause rather than looking the other way?"

Simon Jenkins in the Guardian: "In a Guardian basement, officials from GCHQ gazed with satisfaction on a pile of mangled hard drives like so many book burners sent by the Spanish Inquisition."

Joel Simon, executive director of US-based Committee to Protect Journalists, in a letter to David Cameron: "We call on your government to explain the detention and aggressive interrogation of Miranda; publicly clear him of any connection to terrorist activity; and return his seized equipment as well as any copies made of its contents. Taking these steps would counter the unsettling perception that the United Kingdom has abused its anti-terrorism laws to impede legitimate journalistic activity carried out in the public interest."

on Twitter: "Quite astonished at journalists saying 'we had to give the spooks our computers cos they threatened jail'. For jail, read: GREAT STORY."

Brendan O'Neill on Spiked: "For the newspaper editors, politicians and concerned tweeters now getting het up about the state’s interference in journalistic activity, about what they call the state’s ‘war on journalism’, are the very same people – the very same – who over the past two years cheered the state harassment of tabloid journalists; watched approvingly as tabloid journalists were arrested; turned a blind eye when tabloid journalists’ effects were rifled through by the police; said nothing about the placing of tabloid journalists on limbo-like, profession-destroying bail for months on end; said ‘Well, what do you expect?’ when material garnered by tabloid journalists through illegal methods was confiscated; applauded when tabloid journalists were imprisoned for the apparently terrible crime of listening in on the conversations of our hereditary rulers."

Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail: "The Guardian, of course, is almost single-handedly responsible for Leveson because of its — later debunked — allegation that the News of the World deleted the voicemails of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. Nor can I help pointing out the newspaper that has shed copious tears for Mr Miranda, held for nine hours, had no such concerns over the interrogation of dozens of red-top journalists. Some were arrested at dawn in front of their families, deprived of their computers for months and released on bail. Charges won’t be brought against some of them. Others will end up in court. But even the most culpable among them never attempted to damage their country. With friends like Edward Snowden, and employees such as Glenn Greenwald, that is what the Guardian is in danger of doing." 

Fraser Nelson in The Spectator: "Press freedom is indeed under threat in Britain. The Guardian, for all of its proud history, has proven a rather unreliable defender of these freedoms in recent years — especially when it has spotted an opportunity to sock it to Rupert Murdoch. There is a growing case for a British Bill of Rights that would define and protect press freedom for the digital age, giving us the same protections that the Americans are afforded by the First Amendment. But there is not, and never has been, a fundamental right for newspapers to acquire and publish state secrets that weaken our national security and put the country at risk. Any ally of press freedom ought to be able to make this distinction."

Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail: "One might have hoped that the Guardian would extend the same support to Jim Davidson as they have to their own man. But while Miranda has the right credentials — gay, fashionably Brazilian, Left-wing, anti-American, anti-British — Jimbo ticks all the wrong boxes. He’s a serial heterosexual, fiercely patriotric, works tirelessly for military charities, tells the ‘wrong’ kind of jokes and, horror or horrors, was a cheerleader for Mrs Thatcher and the Tories. So, even if he isn’t guilty, as far as the Guardian is concerned it serves him right. His kind aren’t entitled to ‘human rights’." 

Other quotes of the week...

Adam Boulton in the Sunday Times [£] on Sky News' cameraman Mike Deane killed by a sniper in Egypt: "They are a rare breed, becoming rarer, partly because of compliance and commercial pressures on news organisations, partly because the collapse of the new world order means that western news gatherers are more often targeted than treated with deference. When the military went on its deadly killing spree in Cairo, the danger was overt. Yet any sniper could see that Mick, large, blond and wielding a camera, was there to do his job, not as a participant. Camera crews are inscrutable as interviewees and interviewers hold forth. But we shouldn’t be inscrutable about them. Mick’s death is a terrible reminder of how important and dangerous their work can be."

on Twitter: "If two Bulgarian women drug mules were arrested at Heathrow, how sympathetic would Fleet St be towards them?"

Dan Hodges on his Telegraph blog: "A few years ago someone pointed out the media’s habit of concentrating on white, photogenic girls, jumping for joy at the prospect of a place at Oxford or Cambridge, followed by a first-class honours degree, and eventually the opportunity to write countless blogs condemning their own privileged upbringing. Back then it was a cute and witty observation. But today it has become just another of the Left’s Mandatory Tweets, or LMTs."

[£] = paywall

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