Fraser Nelson on Spectator blogs: "It is tragic that local newspapers have been reduced to selling front pages to politicians, but it’s a grim reflection of the murderous market conditions. This also underlines the risk posed to press freedom. Now and again, politicians pretend take a great interest in the standards of the press (Leveson, etc) and propose a system (like Max Mosley’s ‘Impress’) that creates a regulatory hierarchy, with politicians at the top. They sense, rightly, that the press has never been weaker. Ministers also profess to be very worried about fake news. But this election shows show how their main interest is, and always will be, the manipulation of the news to their own ends. It is the job of a free press to counteract this, but a free press needs money. When the money comes from politicians, the results are hideous."
Roy Greenslade in the Guardian: "The front pages of scores of titles carried large pictures of the prime minister under the headline 'Theresa May for Britain' plus her familiar slogan about the need to strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations. Sure, it carried the line about it being an “advertiser’s announcement” and the Electoral Commission argued that did not break electoral law. If so, the law needs amending because it allows money to play a disproportionate role in election campaigning."
Dominic Ponsford in Press Gazette: "Editors are responsible for the advertising which appears in their newspapers and have to ensure that it is not misleading or in breach of the law. They aren’t making a political statement by accepting advertising and it won’t influence the admirably even-handed political coverage most local newspapers provide. While editors would undoubtedly prefer to have news, rather than ads, on the front page. In the current climate they cannot afford to turn down the business."
Readers' petition:"As regular readers of the Westmorland Gazette we are dismayed to see OUR community paper being misused for party political purposes. Whilst we would welcome balanced representation of all LOCAL candidates within the paper, we feel strongly that a front page advert for a single national party is not acceptable (especially when published on a polling day (4/5/17)!). We request that you publish a full front page apology in your next issue. Please note that many of us will be boycotting the paper until this occurs."
Séamus Dooley, acting NUJ general secretary, in a statement: “Journalists on local newspapers are gravely concerned at the blurring of lines between editorial content and advertising. There has been a strong backlash from readers as a result of wraparound advertising purchased by political parties and presented in a news format. The advertising is clearly designed to convey the impression of a news story and incorporates the paper masthead. There is a long, proud tradition of clearly differentiating between news and adverting, even in newspapers which adopt a partisan editorial line, and that principle should not be abandoned."
BuzzFeed reports: "Jeremy Corbyn's team told BuzzFeed News it was 'not invited' to campaign events on Tuesday and that access to the Labour leader would be limited for the rest of the campaign, following the publication of an interview on Monday night in which Corbyn said he intended to remain in the job even if he lost the general election....Political editor Jim Waterson, who carried out the interview, then contacted Corbyn's spokesperson to find out why we had not been invited to the campaign stops. A senior Corbyn aide told him that BuzzFeed News would now find its access limited because the interview had disrupted media coverage of Labour's launch event, that we had not informed Corbyn's team in advance of the headline we intended to run, and that we had press-released the interview to other media organisations who then chose to pick it up."
Michael Crick@MichaelLCrick on Twitter: "I was told by May aide I wasn't on list to ask May a question, & there was no point in putting my hand up to ask one....What shocks me is reporters collaborate with May press team by agreeing to reveal their questions to them in advance."
The Times [£] in a leader: "Rumours are an occupational hazard of the news business, but in the digital age, rumours based on fantasy and fabrication spread without limit. Regardless of the merits of the candidates in western elections, it is a threat to democracy when Mr Putin’s online fabulists run campaigns of defamation. The response of western governments should be uncompromising. In Britain, Russia Today has been found in breach of the regulator’s broadcasting code on multiple occasions. France is experiencing similar shameless subversion. It’s past time to crack down on the propaganda of a hostile foreign power."
Daily Mail in a leader:"As for how much more he [the European Commission’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier] hopes to extort, a few weeks ago he suggested we ‘owe’ some £50 billion. But yesterday, the EU’s slavish devotees at the Japanese-owned Financial Times — whose editor has been nominated for France’s Legion d’Honneur in recognition of his services to the European project — went further still. Plucking figures from the air, its Brussels correspondent opined that ‘new demands driven by France and Germany’ would increase our ‘upfront’ Brexit bill to some £85 billion. As any child should be able to see, such figures carry no authority whatever."