Friday, 11 October 2013

Quotes of the Week: From Mail and Guardian go to war to Privy Council rejects press's charter

Two titles at war: Guardian top; Mail bottom

MI5 chief Andrew Parker, as reported by the Independent, claims Edward Snowden's leaks on surveillance by security services gave terrorists: "The gift to evade us and strike at will'

Daily Mail headline over leader on the Guardian: 'The paper that helps Britain's enemies'

The Guardian in a leader: "The Mail's leading article must be read in the context of a fervent discussion about press regulation in which it is leading the charge for journalists to be both free and trusted. But yesterday's editorial argues the opposite. It is a statement of anti-journalism: editors, it says, cannot be trusted. They must defer to the state."

Alan Rusbridger on BBC Radio 4's World at One: “You would have to be a terrorist who didn’t know how to tie his shoelaces not to believe that people were watching things on the internet and scooping up telephone calls. I don’t think some of this will come as a great surprise to terrorists."

Stephen Glover in the Mail: "I don’t accuse Mr Rusbridger of any lack of patriotism. I am sure he loves his country as much as anyone. But he does stand accused of the most stupendous arrogance and presumption." 

Will Hutton in the Observer: "Tea Party-style hatred, intransigence and inconsistency has transfixed the US. The danger is that the Mail will further push Britain into the same kind of mutual loathing, misdiagnosing opponents' positions and deafening debate. Perhaps by turning on his tormentors Miliband is doing more than his father's memory a service. Democracies – and their media – depend on minimal protocols of engagement being observed. It would be to everyone's advantage if they were."

Culture secretary Maria Miller speaking in Parliament, as reported by BBC News: "The committee of the Privy Council is unable to recommend the press's proposal for a royal charter be granted. Whilst there are areas where it is acceptable, it is unable to comply with some important Leveson principles and government policy."

Press industry statement: "This proposed Royal Charter has already been universally rejected by the industry and it is even more regrettable that the industry will have no opportunity to take part in the discussions between the political parties over possible amendments."

Daily Telegraph in a leader: "This is the first time it has been proposed that an industry should be forced to sign up to a Royal Charter rather than voluntarily accede to one. Moreover, the cross-party charter – cobbled together without any discussion with the industry – would be underpinned by legislation, thereby giving it the very statutory basis that David Cameron rightly said would be 'crossing the Rubicon'. For all their protestations to the contrary, our politicians are proposing to bring back statutory press control for the first time in more than 300 years. This is unacceptable."

on Twitter: "BBC massive taxpayer funded mouthpiece for tiny circulation leftist Guardian. Meanwhile print media about to be gagged to protect toffs."

Fraser Nelson in the Telegraph: "Mr Grayling’s Bill of Rights should incorporate a clause about freedom of speech and the press, ideally giving Britons the same protection as afforded to Americans by their First Amendment to the Constitution. It would help judges such as Lord Justice Leveson to understand the importance and definition of a free press. It would help politicians see that the Leveson proposals would, in the words of the New York Times, 'chill free speech and threaten the survival of small publishers and internet sites'. And it would, moreover, put temptation out of Mr Miliband’s way."

Alex Massie on the Spectator: "Perhaps the Mail went too far (though I see nothing wrong with it despatching a reporter to a memorial service for one of Miliband’s uncles. Newspapers attend funerals and memorial services all the time. What’s different about this one?). But even if it did, so what? That’s one of the reasons for having a free press: so papers can go too far. Better that, certainly, than that they don’t go far enough."

The Telegraph in a leader "We recognise Mr Miliband’s filial sincerity in defending his father’s memory; but it should not be used to undermine one of this country’s most precious liberties. If the Left wants a moral cause worth fighting for, then let us hear it defending, unequivocally, the freedom of the press."

Ex-Trotskyist Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday: "Our politics are bland enough without the press going soft and soppy as well, and how wretched it is that this row has given aid and comfort to the Polly Toynbee tendency, who for years have longed to yank out the teeth of the conservative press. But let it be to the point, and about real live issues. Our opponents may well be wrong but it does not make them bad. Even revolutionaries sometimes have a point, and many of them – though not all of them – grow up and turn into people like me." 

on Twitter: "When Thatcher died I couldn't stop myself jumping with joy. So I can't complain that the Daily Mail mocked a dead Marxist."

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