Thursday, 3 March 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: FoI saved, is journalism a trade or profession? and last word from Hugh McIlvanney as he retires from the Sunday Times

Cabinet Office Minister Matt Hancock, quoted by Press Gazette: "After 10 years, we took the decision to review the Freedom of Information Act and we have found it is working well. We will not make any legal changes to FoI. We will spread transparency throughout public services, making sure all public bodies routinely publish details of senior pay and perks. After all, taxpayers should know if their money is funding a company car or a big pay off."

Met Police Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan announcing the end to Operation Elvedon, as reported by BBC News: "It is right that they faced prosecution. These were not whistle-blowers but people working in some of the most trusted positions in the police, prisons and healthcare, who were only seeking to profit...The decision to arrest journalists for conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office was not one taken lightly. Elveden was certainly not an attack on journalists or a free media."

Gavin Millar QC, quoted by Press Gazette: "You can question the ethics of whether a journalist or news organisation were justified in paying for information, or whether it was in the public interest. But what makes this different is that the Met took journalists into the criminal justice system.These cases could have been taken up in civil complaints, but I think this has set a bad precedent for democracy. If you look at the countries with the worst press freedoms in the world, Russia, China, these are the nations where criminal proceedings are taken out against journalists."

Roy Greenslade on MediaGuardian: "It has been a sorry tale for the Met police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). It was sorrier still for the journalistic sources who ended up in jail and for the journalists who spent years on bail and faced the threat of prison."

Mick Hume on Spiked: "Elveden is over at last, but the lessons should not be forgotten. Anybody who wants to see more state involvement in the regulation of the media should be reminded of what the state has tried to do to press freedom over the past five years. Anybody who wants to take a stand for free speech today, in our universities or elsewhere, should be reminded that it is an indivisible liberty that must be defended for tabloid hacks as seriously as for high-minded academics. And any UK politician who tries to pose as a friend of freedom should be put on the spot about their support for press freedom."

Sun editor Tony Gallagher, quoted by Press Gazette"You become a journalist by practising it not by learning it in a classroom. I think one of the mistakes the media industry has made over the last 20 years is it has become that you have to have a degree and then a post-graduate MA in journalism and I think it is a shame that we seem to have cut off that route of coming into the trade at the age of 18, without necessarily going into the third tier of education and it something we are looking at very closely at News UK."

The Boston Globe@BostonGlobe on Twitter: "A win for @Spotlightmovie, and for every journalist in the tireless pursuit of the truth."

Sir David Clementi who led the review on how the BBC should be regulated and governed: “Regulatory oversight should pass wholly to Ofcom, which is already the public service regulator for the UK’s broadcasting industry and has the ability to look at the BBC in the context of the market as a whole. Ofcom would be a strong regulator to match a strong BBC.”

The Society of Editors in a statement: “The Society shares the concern about gender imbalance in this year’s Press Awards and will consult the newspaper industry to examine ways of ensuring the awards reflect gender and other diversity in newsrooms."

Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail: "Forget Leave v Remain or Boris v Cameron. This small-screen ding-dong makes other Westminster battles look tame. Welcome, grapple fans, to the brawl between Laura 'One Take' Kuenssberg of the BBC and that arm-whirling dervish of the diphthongs, the ITV's Robert Peston!"

Sean O'Neill and Sam Coates in The Times [£] on Jeremy Corbyn and the media:"Media attention upsets Mr Corbyn even more than the scheming of his enemies. Although an MP since 1983, he has never experienced the kind of personal scrutiny that comes with being leader of the opposition.The Labour leader has decided not to respond to stories about his private life and usually tries not to read them, preferring the Morning Star and Irish Post."

The great Hugh McIlvanney in his last column for the Sunday Times [£]: "Technology has delivered many a boon to the working reporter but in sport, especially, there are penalties. The demand for instant information and comment for the internet in addition to the copy transmitted to the newspaper must eat into the opportunities for the ferreting around that I always found productive in the immediate aftermath of an event...I envy the present generation of sportswriters their youth but not their operating conditions. I know how important favourable circumstances were to me."

McIlvanney also quoted Peter Dobereiner's definition of what columnists do: "A columnist is someone who hides up in the hills until the battle is over and then comes down and bayonets the wounded.”


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