Thursday, 11 December 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: From police vs press battle rages on to Alan Rusbridger stands down

Keith Vaz MP, chair of the the Home Affairs Select Committee: "RIPA is not fit for purpose. We were astonished that law enforcement agencies failed to routinely record the professions of individuals who have had their communications data accessed under the legislation. Using RIPA to access telephone records of journalists is wrong and this practice must cease. The inevitable consequence is that this deters whistleblowers from coming forward."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary: "The NUJ welcomes the Home Affairs Select Committee report and agrees that RIPA is not fit for purpose but we are urging political leaders and the Interception of Communications Commissioner to go further and agree there must be judicial oversight before journalists' records and data can be obtained by the police and other authorities."

Press Gazette: "A new draft Code of Practice on government spying powers has finally been published and states that police should continue to access journalists’ phone records without any outside approval. Not only does it make clear that police forces can continue to sign off their own RIPA requests for journalists' telecoms data, but it emphasises that such records are not privileged. The new code merely requires police forces to make a note of the fact they have accessed a journalists’ phone records."

Daily Mail: "The Home Office was embroiled in a fresh row over Press freedom last night after sneaking out proposals that would still allow police to sign off their own snooping into journalists’ phone records."

Lord Black of Brentwood in a letter to the Home Secretary requesting changes to the primary legislation to safeguard journalistic sources: “The industry is united in its concern about the threat to journalism, journalists themselves and to their sources from unwarranted use of state surveillance and enforcement powers. RIPA, counter terrorism and public order legislation are particularly open to abuse. These draconian legislative powers are being used without proper regard to the protection of freedom of expression and press freedom, an intrinsic part of which is the fundamental principle of protection of sources.”

Sun managing editor Stig Abell @StigAbell on Twitter: "Sun runs good story about MP playing Candy Crush. Parliamentary response: hunt the whistleblower. What is wrong with these people?"

The Sun in an editorial: "This is Britain since the Leveson Inquiry, that declaration of war on the Press by the elite we are here to hold to account. Leveson’s biased witch-hunt empowered them to try to stop the Press revealing inconvenient truths the public has a right to know.  One MP playing Candy Crush isn’t the biggest scandal ever — and we welcome that Mr Mills had the good grace to own up and swiftly apologise. The authorities’ reaction, though, is of graver significance."

James Harding, BBC director, news and current affairs, on the BBC blog"The BBC’s job is to keep reporting and analysing the news, questioning politicians, investigating the issues, and pressing for the real story. The election campaign has begun. The BBC will, undeterred, do its job. A meek BBC wouldn’t be fulfilling its role for the public.

The Guardian in an editorial: "In an era of digital revolution, the future shape of the BBC is of huge importance to every British citizen and its audience overseas. Narrow political squabbles must not be allowed to interfere with a mature discussion of what the BBC brings to Britain and its civic life."

The Sunday Times in an editorial [£]: "Do we need a reimagining of the role of the state? Yes, we do. And we need more imagination and realism in thinking about these things. As Mr Blair put it in another context, the talents of the British people need to be liberated “from the forces of conservatism” in Labour — and the BBC."

Roy Greenslade on his Media Guardian blog: "The very fact that a title has been around for more than a century and has archives containing the intimate records of cities, towns and communities stretching back several generations is no longer a selling point. It’s history. It’s not tomorrow."

Grey Cardigan on The Spin Alley"I keep hearing a suggestion that some kind of subsidy or central funding of the local press might be a good idea. Frankly, that’s bollocks. The fat cats in charge would just run off with the cash and continue to leave local papers under-staffed and under-resourced. And what would happen if one of these government-funded newspapers managed to upset the government – as we all should be striving to do on a daily basis? You could see that grant suddenly disappearing faster than any remaining talent at the Daily Telegraph."

Alan Rusbridger announcing his retirement after 20 years as editor of the Guardian: “It’s been quite an extraordinary period in the life of the Guardian. In February 1995 newspaper websites were, if they existed at all, exotic things: we were still four years off launching Guardian Unlimited. Since 1999 we’ve grown to overtake all others to become the most-read serious English language digital newspaper in the world."


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