Thursday, 5 November 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From police must understand journalists are not criminals to why the Daily Mail backed release of Guantanamo prisoner

Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors on the draft Investigatory Powers Bill: “This does not appear to be much of an improvement on the interim measures that were put in place after the RIPA scandal. The police need to understand that journalists are not criminals and that they need to think very carefully before they do anything to search their records. Accessing journalists’ call records should be a rare exception for police rather that the rule it seems to have become in recent years. There also needs to be a clear rule that media organisations get fair warning so that they can challenge any requests if required.”

David Davis in the Mail on Sunday on Freedom of Information: "Government already holds all the cards. As it stands they use every trick to avoid disclosing information, even resorting to writing comments on post-it notes, so they can be removed before documentation is made public. They should not be allowed to take away one of the few defences the public has for discovering and preventing incompetence, corruption and misconduct amongst the most powerful people in the land."

The Telegraph in a leader defending Freedom of Information: "Ultimately, easy access to political information will breed a culture change. If councils know that the public are watching their spending then they will spend less, and publish full accounts that show how well they are behaving. If politicians understand that mistakes, disasters and backfiring initiatives are likely to wind up on a front page then they will be quick to correct errors, or be honest about what went wrong. If politicians recognise this change and embrace it, they can make it work for them. Transparency will help re-establish trust in British politics."

Colin Myler, interviewed in the Guardian: “We really do beat the crap out of each other too much as an industry. We’re not very good at talking each other up. How many times can people write about the decline in circulation? It’s been in decline for 50 years! The Buzzfeeds of this world have realised that piggybacking off good journalism is going be their legacy. And yet we are the founders of it, and we’re so negative.”

Paul Hayward in the Telegraph on the way sport helped him as he was treated for cancer: "Sport is my living, and a passion, too. But I understand it better now, nearly 30 years into the job. Much of the best sports writing is about the life stories that underpin the winning and losing. ‘Adversity overcome’ is a default mode for reporting and broadcasting. A corollary is that sport can help people in the most profound ways, on the field and up in the stands. It can help make sense of life and connect people in difficulty to a world they have fallen out of and to which they fear they may never return."

Jurgen Kloop on Jose Mourhino, as reported by the BBC: "I am full of respect for his work. I think if you are not a journalist or a referee he is a nice guy."

The BBC after police used special counter-terrorism powers to seize a laptop computer belonging to Newsnight reporter Secunder Kermani: “The BBC does everything it can to protect its reporters’ communication and materials and sought independent expert legal advice in the case of Secunder Kermani. It did not resist Thames Valley’s application for an order under the Terrorism Act in court because the Act does not afford grounds under which it could be opposed. It is troubling that this legislation does not provide the opportunity for the media to mount a freedom of speech defence.”

Nick Cohen in the Observer"There are many long-established institutions we could live without. If the Times or the Home Office were to vanish tomorrow, we would survive. For all its glaring faults, the majority of people know that a diminished BBC, like a diminished NHS, would diminish them. The majority of people don’t set policy, however. In times of crisis, the activists with simple, sweeping solutions take over. Whether they are English nationalists, who want independence from Brussels, Scottish nationalists, who want independence from London, rightwingers, who hate the public sector or leftwingers who hate liberal freedoms, they all want to see the BBC beaten into submission."

The Times [£] in a leader after the conviction of Mark Dorling was referred to the Court of Appeal following a Times investigation: "The initial verdict will in due course be examined by the appropriate judicial authority. Whatever the appellate court decides, this outcome is as it should be in a functioning democracy. As and when the formal, constitutionally orthodox and — some might argue — more respectable branches of the state fall short, the fourth estate has a duty to step in."

Alan Bennett, interviewed in the Guardian: “The lies on the front page of the Mail are so vulgar and glaring. Occasionally people say they like my work and then I see they have a copy of the Mail, and you think, ‘Well, how can you?’”

The Daily Mail in a leader: "This paper is proud of the leading role we played in securing the return home of the last British resident in Guantanamo Bay after his 14 years’ captivity. For the release of Shaker Aamer begins what we hope will be the end of a truly shameful period in our history, when a Labour Government colluded with the Americans in torturing suspects and incarcerating them without trial, in inhuman conditions, for years on end. Yes, many have asked why a paper that abhors Islamist terrorism has campaigned so tenaciously to free a man suspected of close links with Osama bin Laden. Our answer is simple. Though we hold no brief for Mr Aamer, who may indeed have been an enemy of the West (and could still be), we believe with a burning passion in justice and the rule of law."


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