Thursday, 17 December 2015

Media Quotes of the Week: From it's all over for hacking prosecutions to is battle to save FoI won?

Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, in a statement"The CPS has looked in great detail at the comprehensive files submitted to us by the police, both in relation to corporate liability at News Group Newspapers and against 10 individuals at Mirror Group Newspapers for alleged phone hacking. After a thorough analysis, we have decided there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction and therefore no further action will be taken in any of these cases. There has been considerable public concern about phone hacking and invasion of privacy. Over the past three years, we have brought 12 prosecutions and secured nine convictions for these serious offences. These decisions bring the CPS's involvement in current investigations into phone hacking to a close."

Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog on the DPP's decision: "Less surprising, however, will be the abandonment of Leveson 2, because that’s a political, as distinct from legal, decision. And we surely know that David Cameron’s government is not going to want to get on the wrong side of Rupert Murdoch all over again. All in all, the hacking saga is ending with a whimper rather than a bang. Then again, I guess it was always going to be the case."

The Times [£] in a leader: "It is right that the CPS has at last drawn a line under these investigations. They have been far from successful, securing nine convictions from 12 prosecutions under Operation Weeting, the investigation into hacking, but a mere two against journalists from 30 arrests under operations related to payments to police and public officials. Many have spent years in legal limbo after being arrested but not charged. The legal basis for further investigations, and the public appetite for them, has long since worn thin."

The Telegraph in a leader: "The Left saw an opportunity to settle old scores with newspapers they believed had long agitated against them. There was an element of snobbery in this: distaste for those who made their living reporting on celebrity and show business, but also a hope that isolated examples of wrongdoing could be used to make a case for control of an entire industry."

Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan on Twitter: "As I’ve said since the investigation began four years ago, I’ve never hacked a phone and nor have I ever told anybody to hack a phone."

Kelvin MacKenzie in the Sun: "Time after time juries came back with not guilty verdicts against Sun journalists accused of paying public figures.  Finally, the Lord Chief Justice ran up the white flag, saying they were only doing their jobs and weren’t guilty of anything. But if it hadn’t been for the deep pockets of News Corp, for the brilliance of the defence QCs and the sheer will of Rupert Murdoch, there could have been a very different outcome.  So I ask you never to forget this Labour conspiracy. This time it was Sun journalists, next time it could be YOU."

Jane Martinson in the Guardian"Journalists, like everyone else, can still lie and cheat and do bad things. But after the phone-hacking scandal they will not be able to do so with impunity. News UK may return to throwing an enormous summer party next year, and the guest list is likely to include ministers, executives and chief constables. It will seem as though the British press has gone full circle; it is up to all of us to prove it has not."

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal in a ruling on RIPA being used to identify Sun journalists' sources"The Metropolitan Police cannot be criticised for its decision to use the power granted under s 22 of RIPA in aid of the investigation into a serious criminal offence affecting public confidence in the police. The discovery of serious misconduct by a number of police officers in the DPG shows that it was entirely right to pursue the Operation Alice investigation very thoroughly. We have held that the use of the s 22 power in this investigation was indeed both necessary and proportionate in respect of three out of the four authorisations challenged, but are compelled to hold that the legal regime in place at the relevant time did not adequately safeguard the important public interest in the right of a journalist to protect the identity of his source."

Shaker Aamer and David Rose
David Rose in the Mail on Sunday on Shaker Aamer: "It is fitting that his interviews are appearing in this newspaper, for it was The Mail on Sunday that first drew the world’s attention to what was really going on at Guantanamo. Back in January 2002 – three weeks before Aamer arrived there – we published the first notorious photographs of detainees at the Camp X-ray, kneeling blindfolded and shackled in the dust, beneath a one-word headline: TORTURED. Since then, we have returned to Guantanamo time and again."

Owen Jones in the Guardian: "Such is the unrelenting nature of the media attack,  any balanced discussion on the Corbyn leadership risks being shut down. That the media can be so dominated by one opinion – and so aggressive about it – is a damning indictment of the so-called free press."

Jeremy Corbyn, in a speech to Lobby journalists: "I'm a member of the NUJ because I believe in freedom of speech, believe we should support journalists around the world and  believe it's our duty to ensure political debate is fair, open and just and not rely solely on personal attacks."

The Mail on Sunday:"The publisher of the Guardian newspaper is drawing up plans to axe jobs and slash spending as it heads for another annual loss of about £40million...The losses expected in the year to the end of March next year are due to heavy investment in digital media operations and a sharp fall in advertising income which has affected the title, said sources close to the company."

The Sun: "MINISTERS are getting cold feet over a controversial attempt to limit Freedom of Information requests after a bitter public backlash. A review into the transparency policy was launched in July in a bid to shield sensitive government conversations.  But the move has been met by a tidal wave of protest and senior ministers say they are 'decidedly unenthusiastic' about making changes. The Sun has discovered the Government has not submitted any evidence for the need for change to an independent commission doing a review."


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