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.”


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