Thursday, 19 April 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From 45 journalists working to finish investigations by murdered Daphne Caruana Galizia to why the BBC must win against Cliff Richard or police will act in secrecy

Laurent Richard, founder of the Forbidden Stories platform, in the Guardian: "You killed the messenger. But you won’t kill the message. Over the past six months 45 journalists from 15 different countries have been working in secret to complete and publish investigations by the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed on 16 October 2017. Cooperation is without a doubt the best protection. What is the point of killing a journalist if 10, 20 or 30 others are waiting to carry on their work?"

Peter Caruana Galizia interviewed in the Guardian about the police investigation into his wife's murder in a car bombing: “It is clear to us that the three men arraigned so far are simply contractors commissioned by a third party. My sons and I are not convinced that our government really wants to establish who sent them, for fear such persons are in fact very close to our government. For this reason we may never know the truth.”

John Sweeney‏ @johnsweeneyroar on Twitter: "Did he fall? Or was he pushed? Maxim Borodin was a Russian journalist who broke the story about Wagner hiring Russian mercenaries to fight in Syria. Now he’s dead. People who equate Russia with the West need to get this. In Russia if you oppose power, you may die."

Committee to Protect Journalists Europe and Central Asia program co-ordinator Nina Ognianova: "We call on Russian authorities to launch an effective, fair, and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Maksim Borodin's death and not to rule out foul play. Russia has a record of brushing aside suspicious deaths of members of the press. We urge authorities on both the regional and federal level to consider that Borodin may have been attacked and that his investigative journalism was the motive."

BuzzFeed UK's Heidi Blake @HeidilBlake on Twitter:"Utterly blown away that our From Russia With Blood series is a Pulitzer finalist. Working with @SchoofsFeed, @TomBWarren, @JasonLeopold, @Richard_AHolmes,  @jane__bradley &  @alexcampbell on this story (and many others) at @BuzzFeedNews has been the greatest privilege of my career."

Caroline Lucas @CarolineLucas on Twitter on the Windrush scandal: "Let us be very clear about what's happening. The Govt wants to create a hostile environment for migrants. This isn't a design flaw, it's central to their programme. Only perseverance from journalists like @ameliagentleman & MPs like @DavidLammy that caused Govt to think again."

Alan Travis, the Guardian's home affairs editor, who is leaving the paper after 34 years reflecting on the changes he's seen: "Whitehall departments, including the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, have completely closed down, with very limited access to briefings with ministers or even senior officials. All but the most routine press inquiries are now channelled through a ministerial special adviser, which means it can take hours to receive even the blandest replies. There are a few gems left in Whitehall press offices who take the trouble to really make sure they know about their subject and have the confidence to discuss them with a specialist journalist in a non-confrontational way. But they are few and far between."

Mick Hume on Spiked: "Rod Liddle of The Sunday Times, the Sun and the Spectator has been reported to police and press regulators for making a ‘morally repugnant’ joke about Wales and its native tongue, with Welsh officials demanding new laws to ‘stop these comments… and to prevent language hate’. Meanwhile, the moral guardians of theatreland want Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail banned from writing reviews for his ‘blatantly racist attitude’, after the critic criticised a black actor in a Royal Shakespeare Company play...attacks on these very different columnists reveal the underlying truth about the campaign to curb press freedom further in Britain. Whatever those leading it may claim, that campaign is not about upholding the rule of law, protecting the public interest or any other apparently high-minded principle. It is about silencing dissenting voices and thought-policing an increasingly conformist intellectual climate."

The Times [£] in a leader: "No traditional publisher is allowed to merely shrug its shoulders when accused of plagiarism, or copyright theft, or facilitating hate, violence, self-harm, stalking, paedophilia or terrorism. Successes in combating online child pornography show that, when properly motivated, tech giants are well-placed to solve the problems they themselves have exacerbated. While there is a balance to be struck between the privacy of users and the transparency of social media platforms, it should not be the platforms’ choice where to strike it. It is no longer enough for technology companies to smirk behind algorithms and claim that there is nothing they can do. Where their inventions are ravaging the norms of law, culture and society, they must come up with solutions. If they will not, they must expect governments to tame them with the full force of the law. If that hits their vast profits, that, too, is their problem."

Roy Greenslade in the Guardian on Cliff Richard's privacy case against the BBC: "If Richard’s action were to succeed, the ramifications for press freedom and, as a corollary, for open justice, are awful to contemplate. It could create a situation in which the media would be unable to report the early stages of police investigations, such as revealing the identity of arrested people. They would enjoy anonymity until and unless they were charged. This would be a fundamental change to custom and practice. It would have the effect of allowing police officers to operate in secrecy and would deny journalists the right to scrutinise the activities of the police. The media’s role as a public watchdog, holding power to account and acting on behalf of the public interest, would be fatally compromised."


Thursday, 12 April 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From panic as Jon Snow doorsteps Facebook to you haven't made it until the Whitstable Times reveals your sex secrets

Channel 4's Jon Snow attempting to get an interview at Facebook's headquarters in London over the data scandal: "They've actually locked the building and are not letting me in. Oh dear, there's panic stations in here. There are a lot of guards about. They definitely don't want to talk today. We've given Facebook many opportunities to talk to us, since we broke this story, not once have they agreed to do so...One wonders what they are now running scared of."

Carole Cadwalladr @carolecadwalla on Twitter on Mark Zuckerberg's appearance before Congress in Washington:"Remember this. #Zuckerberg only here because: #journalism. But #journalism broken because: @facebook."

Mark Zuckerberg interviewed in The Atlantic: “I think there’s just been a very basic shift in how we view our responsibility. We used to view our role as building tools for people and saying, ‘Hey we’re going to put this power in your hands.’ And we think people are basically good, and we think that that can have a net positive effect. Now I just think we understand—both because of the ability for us to develop these things and because of the scale at which we operate—that it’s also our responsibility to make sure that all these tools are used well, not just to put them in people's hands.You know, you can’t just give people a voice. You need to also make sure that that voice is not used for foreign interference in elections or disseminating fake news.”

Lionel Barber‏ @lionelbarber on Twitter: "Days after Boris Johnson congratulates Viktor Orban on his election victory, Magyar Nemzet, Hungary’s major opposition newspaper (and online op) announces it is closing after 80 years in print. A light goes out in central EUrope ....."

The Times [£] reports: "Two out of every three stories shared on social media on the attempted assassination of Sergei and Yulia Skripal are from Kremlin-backed media outlets. The discovery came as officials said information warfare was four times more significant a factor than military force in today’s standoff with Russia — in a reversal of the Cold War years. Moscow has flooded pro-Russia news channels and social media platforms with more than 20 conspiracy theories about the Salisbury attack to deflect attention from Britain’s assertion that Moscow is to blame.”

Spokesman for Salisbury District Hospital, which is treating Sergei Skripal, condemning the behaviour of a Russian tv crew, as reported by SKY News"This footage shows appalling behaviour on the part of these Russian journalists - approaching staff in the middle of the night with no warning and without asking for any permission. Our staff, who have been rightly lauded for their recent efforts, working tirelessly to give all of our patients high quality care, deserved better. We would like to reiterate that any attempt to harass, intimidate or cause distress to any of our staff or patients is absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

The Guardian reports: "The Assad regime “assassinated” the Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin as part of its campaign targeting journalists covering the Syrian civil war, according to a claim filed in a Washington court on Monday. The legal action over the 2012 killing is the first war crimes-related case against the Syrian government to reach court. It includes evidence from high-placed defectors who testify that reporters were tracked via their satellite phone signals. Colvin, an American reporter who operated out of London, and Remi Ochlik, a French photographer, were killed “in a targeted rocket attack” on a makeshift media centre in the rebel-held city of Homs, the papers allege."

Repoters Sans Frontiers secretary-general Christophe Deloire, after Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in Gaza: “We condemn the disproportionate reaction by Israeli forces, who killed or wounded several civilians including journalists. We urge the Israeli government to adhere strictly to UN Security Council Resolution 2222 on protecting journalists, adopted in 2015, and we call for an independent investigation leading to the conviction of those responsible for this crime against press freedom.”

BBC's Nick Robinson in the New Statesman: "Impartiality is difficult. Perhaps never more so than in recent years when deep divides have opened up over Brexit, Scottish independence and inside both our major parties. We don’t always get it right. However, there is still a powerful case for impartial broadcast journalism that seeks to inform rather than influence, or sway, or respond to commercial imperatives, staffed by people who – regardless of their personal background or private views – are committed to delivering what Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein calls 'the best obtainable version of the truth' and offering their audience a free, open and broad debate. The alternative is news that largely broadcasts people you like saying things you agree with. I say as gently as I can to people on both sides of the Brexit argument – be careful what you wish for."

Natasha Morris, NUJ legal & equality officer, on the gender pay gap in the media: “It is clear from the latest figures that more needs to be done to support women into senior positions within the workplace, ensuring that maternity leave does not mean the end of career progression. Employers must cultivate a culture where shared parental responsibility is the norm and not the exception and part-time roles are better paid. It is vital that companies are transparent about pay and where inequality is identified that robust and immediate measures are taken to address these issues.”

Illustrator Mick Hill in a BBC interview on how he added "naughty" images to his artwork on biscuit tins: "I knew I made it when I got into the Whitstable Times."


Thursday, 5 April 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From journalists have adapted to change but where's the fun gone? to many staff on Brexit-backing papers are Remainers

NUJ organiser Chris Morley, interviewed by Steve Dyson in InPublishing: “There can be few other professions where workers have done as much to accommodate change and got so little reward for it. When you consider the new technologies and techniques journalists have had to embrace and be proficient at with minimal training, it’s incredible that the love of the job still shines through. [But] the one thing I never hear now is how the work is fun, and rarely that it’s a joy to be given free rein to carry out investigations. The problem is that as no-one has found the answer to making a sustainable media future online, my members are still serving two worlds: analogue and digital. The more they see of what appears to work online, generally and professionally, the less they like it.”

Martin Shipton on WalesOnline: "If Theresa May wanted to convince me that she’d cracked Brexit, she could hardly have gone about it in a more inept way. A day before she arrived in Wales as part of her four-nation Brexit tour of the UK – which was taking place exactly 12 months in advance of our departure from the EU – I was asked by a Number 10 press officer to send in the single question I would be allowed to ask her. This I did – knowing that if I failed to do so, I wouldn’t get a question at all.Surely this made New Labour control freakery – which I also experienced – appear positively benign. What faith can one have in a political leader who wants to know all the questions they will face in advance?"

Media academics in a letter to the Guardian"It is not “whataboutery” to suggest that the debate on antisemitism has been framed in such a way as to mystify the real sources of anti-Jewish bigotry and instead to weaponise it against a single political figure just ahead of important elections. We condemn antisemitism wherever it exists. We also condemn journalism that so blatantly lacks context, perspective and a meaningful range of voices in its determination to condemn Jeremy Corbyn."

Sun political correspondent Matt Dathan @matt_dathan on Twitter: "Jeremy Corbyn's senior policy adviser Andrew Fisher told a meeting of Labour Shadow Cabinet political advisers today that people who continue to leak would be sacked. And that threat has now been leaked to me."

Channel 4 head of news Ben de Pear, interviewed by Ian Burrell for The Drum: “The question we have had over the past year is: is Facebook too toxic a platform to actually appear on as news?” he says. “All the news organisations need to talk to each other and maybe we can come up with a separate platform – I don’t know, call it Newsbook? – where we can be funded.”

Scott Rosenberg on Axios: "Outrage over Facebook’s misuse of user data and failure to rein in election fraud is real. But the zeal that media outlets bring to their Facebook coverage is personal, too. It’s turbocharged because journalists, individually and collectively, blame Facebook — along with other tech giants, like Google, and the internet itself — for seducing their readers, impoverishing their employers, and killing off their jobs. This blame war is the latest phase of a decades-long grudge match between traditional media companies and new technology giants."

Jane Martinson in the Guardian on criticism of the way journalists behaved covering the Manchester Arena terror attack: "What’s needed more than anything is a new mindset. Codes and panels have their place but too many journalists, desperate for a fresh story or a new line, appear more afraid of disappointing editors and scuppering careers than upsetting already traumatised human beings. Editors, however innocent they think themselves to be, should act to change this culture."

Peter Habara, an editor at murdered Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak’s website, quoted in the Washington Post: “If it was 1918, when journalism was done only on paper, it would be a ‘good’ precaution to silence a journalist. After the murder … the story would die as well. But not in this era. Even if they kill us all, the story and truth will prevail.”

The Times [£] reports: "A newsagent will be buried with a copy of the local newspaper he had delivered for 60 years. Peter Field had walked the rounds since he was 12, eventually owning the shop, Hedgers, in East Preston, West Sussex, where he made sure that his 370 customers received their papers each day. Mr Field, 72, who rarely had a day off, provided a vital function for his community and hundreds of mourners are expected to attend his funeral on Wednesday following his death from leukaemia. The cortège will pass his newsagents and a copy of the Littlehampton Gazette and a delivery bag will be buried with him as a mark of respect."

Simon Kuper in the Financial Times on Brexit: "In the media, the BBC curtails the instincts of its mostly Remainer journalists. A colleague at one big Brexit-supporting newspaper told me “95 per cent” of its journalists oppose Brexit. Another friend puts the figure at his pro-Brexit paper at “80 to 90 per cent”. He tries to switch his mind off Brexit. At least Remoaners like me believe the stuff we write, pointless as it is."


Thursday, 29 March 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From shock and dismay at media behaviour over Manchester Arena attack to how to beat the data bandits - buy a newspaper!

Lord Kerslake's report into the Manchester Arena terrorist attack: "Families felt "hounded" by the media, with reports of a "scrum" of journalists outside hospitals; Children from two families - who lost a mother and brother, respectively - were offered condolences by reporters at their homes before the deaths had been officially confirmed; Hospital staff were offered £2,000 to speak to the press by way of a note hidden in a tin of biscuits."

Kerslake Report: "The Panel was shocked and dismayed by the accounts of the families of their experience with some of the media. To have experienced such intrusive and overbearing behaviour at a time of enormous vulnerability seemed to us to be completely unacceptable."

Kerslake Report: "There is a positive role that the press can play in communicating on behalf of families and in fundraising. The Manchester Evening News, for example, raised a million pounds for the emergency appeal in 24 hours."

Kerslake Report recommendation"The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) should review the operation of its code in the light of the experiences described by contributors to the Review and consider developing a new code specifically to cover such events."

Kerslake Report recommendation"Statutory Responders should engage with local trusted press and broadcasters as key participants in planning and rehearsing responses to major incidents to anticipate and test out ways in which families and victims can be best protected from inappropriate press approaches, whilst recognising the legitimate desire of journalists to report on the human impact of such events."

Jon Snow in the Guardian: "As a journalist, I am grateful every waking day for what I am able to do thanks to the internet. But I loathe the idea that a company such as Cambridge Analytica has the capacity to work out whether I am susceptible to covert messaging that will affect the way I vote. Facebook has enabled us to secure literally billions of viewings of the news clips we post on our site. But in doing so we provide material around which it can sell advertising. Channel 4 News gets no revenue for this... We have been arguing fiercely with Facebook, and Google, that they owe us a fairer share...Unless the tech giants start to take notice, there is a real danger that next time there might be no “old media” left to call them out."

Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships at Facebook, addressing the FT Future of News conference: “If it were me I would have probably not threatened to sue the Guardian,” adding it was “not our wisest move."

Boris Johnson‏@BorisJohnson on Twitter:  "Observer/C4 story utterly ludicrous, #VoteLeave won fair & square - and legally. We are leaving the EU in a year and going global "

Culture secretary Matt Hancock, speaking at a lunch for journalists, quoted by the Daily Mail"In my view, it is only someone like Tom Watson who would think that it is a good idea to put Max Mosley in charge of regulating the Jewish Chronicle."

Tom Watson on Matt Hancock, quoted by the Daily Mail"This ambitious minister’s capitulation to his powerful friends in the Press over Leveson is a betrayal of all victims of phone hacking and Press intrusion."

The Times [£] in a leader: "It is a nervous regime that fears an experienced foreign correspondent conducting an innocuous interview in a Cairo café. Bel Trew, The Times’s reporter in the Egypt of President al-Sisi (pictured), has been arrested, interrogated, put on a list of “undesirables” and forced to leave the country after a chain of misunderstandings, heavy-handed police treatment and official obfuscation. Her ejection after seven years in Egypt exposes the regime’s weaknesses as it drifts away from democracy."

Former Monocle intern Amalia Illgner in the Guardian: "Halfway through my internship, I landed my first front-page piece for Monocle’s Summer Weekly newspaper. It was a personal coup, but after 20 hours of research and writing – done in my own time – the thrill of a byline paled against the glaring fact that I was not being paid for the story. The privilege of working for almost nothing no longer seemed like a viable way to get ahead. A few months later, I would start proceedings against Monocle for unpaid wages."

Adam Bolton in the Sunday Times [£] on Jeremy Corbyn: "The massive breach of 50m users’ privacy at Facebook was topping the headlines. So, Corbyn was asked, would Labour be closing its Facebook pages? Since Labour was making much of links between Conservatives and Cambridge Analytica, an answer concerning the dangers of the internet might have been expected. That is not Corbyn’s way. Far from criticising the tech giants, he turned sarcastically on the source of the question.'Social media is a great way of communicating, because our message then doesn’t have to be moderated by highly responsible journalists like yourself,' he taunted, prompting uproarious applause from supporters."

James Harding, giving the Hugh Cudlipp Lecture"In the UK, rather than trimming what the BBC is doing online and on social media, we should be investing and expanding it. We need to strengthen the public square in the digital space. We need to create common ground and room for civilised disagreement. We need to ensure young people can easily get the information they need to be active citizens. We need safe environments to inform and entertain on the internet. . . If we want to strengthen the system of freedom and choice, both in our country and around the world, we should strengthen the BBC."

Steerpike in a comment on HoldTheFrontPage about 49 more redundancies at Trinity Mirror: "I want a job as a Trinity Mirror spokesman. As long as there was one other person still yet to be made redundant, I’d have a job for life."

John Greechan‏ @jonnythegreekon twitter: "If you buy a newspaper today, the actual paper thing, it’s unlikely to contain a piece of secret code that will steal all your data. Just saying. #buyapaper"


Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Quotes of the Week: The Observer's Cambridge Analytica scoop defied legal threats and abuse and shows why we need to pay for journalism

The Observer's Carole Cadwalladr‏ @carolecadwalla on Twitter: "Yesterday @facebook threatened to sue us. Today we publish this. Meet the whistleblower blowing the lid off Facebook & Cambridge Analytica."

Carole Cadwalladr‏ @carolecadwalla on Twitter: "If you are watching the Cambridge Analytica story unfold, please please support our journalism. We’ve fought off 3 legal threats from CA & 1 from Facebook. It’s a whole year’s work & we gave it to @Channel4News & @nytimes for the greater good. We need you! "

Observer commissioning editor Kathryn Bromwich @kathryn42 on Twitter: "Over the past year @carolecadwalla has been ridiculed, threatened with lawsuits, threatened with violence, had her face Photoshopped into a variety of insulting scenarios, been given a stupid nickname by Julian Assange, and made a lot of very powerful people very angry."

BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones @ruskin147 on Twitter: "The work of @carolecadwalla is evidence of why we need to pay for journalism."

Damian Collins MP, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, in a statement on Alexander Nix, the suspended ceo of Cambridge Analytica (above) : "From the evidence that has been published by The Guardian and The Observer this weekend, it seems clear that he has deliberately mislead the Committee and Parliament by giving false statements. We will be contacting Alexander Nix next week asking him to explain his comments, and answer further questions relating to the links between GSR and Cambridge Analytica, and its associate companies. We have repeatedly asked Facebook about how companies acquire and hold on to user data from their site, and in particular whether data had been taken from people without their consent. Their answers have consistently understated this risk, and have also been misleading to the Committee...I will be writing to Mark Zuckerberg asking that either he, or another senior executive from the company, appear to give evidence in front of the Committee as part our inquiry."

The Guardian in a leader: "Into the vacuum left by Facebook’s waffle, nation states are stepping. Many are despotisms, keen to use surveillance capitalism for direct political ends. They must be resisted. The standards by which the internet is controlled need to be open and subject to the workings of impartial judiciaries. But the task cannot and will not be left to the advertising companies that at present control most of the content – and whose own judgments are themselves almost wholly opaque and arbitrary."

The Times [£] in a leader: "Political debate is becoming invisible. It is taking place out of the sight of the traditional media and the time-honoured mechanisms of accountability. Technology has suddenly rendered the truth-ensuring properties of liberal democracies unsafe. In the opaque online world untruths can flourish and spread. Even when the news disseminated is not untrue it may be partisan or it may be selective. This has always been true of political argument but it has always taken place before in plain sight. Political argument, in every previous age, has declared itself as political argument. Now it is arriving in the inbox dressed as impartial truth. This vastly complex and vital question will not be addressed by Facebook and CA coming to parliament and explaining themselves but they must do so anyway as a matter of urgency. The evasive and slippery attitudes of the tech companies are making a bad problem worse."

Index on Censorship chair David Aaronovich in a letter to supporters: "Jan Kuciak, a journalist investigating links between organised crime and politics, was shot dead – along with his fiancée. This happened not in a war zone, not in a dictatorship, but in Slovakia: an EU member state. When I became chair of Index on Censorship five years ago, I was naïve. Back then I thought that, in the West at least, the idea of freedom of speech and expression was largely a fought and won battle, and that internationally the Force was with us. I’ve learned a lot in that half decade. I’ve seen great gains in countries such as Turkey thrown into sharp reverse, with life sentences for journalists just doing their job. I’ve seen not just the murder of Kuciak, but also the killing of an investigative journalist in Malta for exposing corruption. I’ve seen cartoonists gunned down in their office in a European capital city and then blamed for their own murders."

George Osborne interviewed in The Drum about taking the editorship of the Evening Standard: “I could have chosen to do other things. The fact that I decided this was an exciting thing to do, edit the Evening Standard, is because I have faith in the print product and I have faith in newspapers. I look abroad to the US and I see a revival in quality journalism there and I think there is a space here.”

Jeremy Lewis, who is leaving the Nottingham Post after 37 years, speaking to HoldTheFrontPage“I was fortunate to have worked through the last of the provincial industry’s prosperous years. In the Brian Clough era the Post, then a family-owned independent, sent its Forest reporter on European Cup away legs aboard the company jet...It’s the right time to go. I’m not sure if websites will ever be loved in the way that provincial dailies were once loved, but I hope everyone strives to make them authoritative and respected.”

Tony Blair on the Daily Mail, quoted by in the Independent: “The Daily Mail when I came to power was pro-Europe. I don’t think the editor-in-chief of the time, who tragically died a year into the Labour government [Sir David English], would ever have allowed it to go into this bellicose anti-Europe position.”