Friday, 12 July 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From contempt for Tommy Robinson's claim he was jailed for journalism to Amal Clooney blames Trump's anti-press rhetoric for media freedom decline

Society of Editors executive director Ian Murray in a statement after the jailing of Tommy Robinson for contempt of court: “While anyone can claim to be a journalist in this country, and there is no appetite nor should there be for the licensing of journalists in the UK, the mainstream British media adheres to the laws of the land, is correctly regulated and ensures its journalists are highly trained. I am not aware that Robinson has any formal training as a journalist, and to claim his trial and sentencing is an attack on journalism itself is a farce.”

The Sun in a leader: "STEPHEN Yaxley-Lennon isn’t a journalist. He’s a thug, an extremist, and he nearly collapsed a grooming gang trial. A freedom fighter, a free speech campaigner? Rubbish. He’s a grandstanding idiot who stirs up anti-Muslim hatred in the sewers of social media. As for his commitment to reporting, after he was sent down yesterday his supporters attacked reporters."

Sean O'Neill in The Times [£]:  "One of the British establishment’s richest and most powerful figures has been granted wide-ranging secrecy orders preventing The Times from revealing him as the man who faced accusations of serious sexual harassment and assault in an employment case. The multimillionaire businessman, who The Times is referring to as Mr X, agreed large financial settlements with two women before their allegations were due to be heard at an employment tribunal. The settlement required the women to withdraw their claims of sexual harassment and discrimination and sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) preventing them from discussing their allegations against the businessman in public."

The Times [£] in a leader: "The law is supposed to protect whistleblowers and it can be legal to break an NDA where doing so is in the “public interest”. In reality, many cases fall into difficult grey areas. Even in clear-cut cases of public interest disclosure, where the courts would not dream of enforcing a gagging clause, employees can feel that they have no choice but to keep quiet. Often they lack access to legal advice and so heed bogus warnings in stiffly drafted letters from their employers’ lawyers."

Nick Cohen on Twitter @NickCohen4 on Momentum's 'open letter' to BBC protesting at Panorama: "This is truly sinister. Labour propagandists smear a journalist before they have seen his work. Imagine what they would be like in power. Imagine what they would be like when they have the full force of the police and security services at their disposal."

Alan Rusbridger @arusbridger on Twitter: "Times fires Johnson for lying in copy. And then endorses him as Prime Minister. Funny old trade."

Heather Mills after she and and 90 others reached a legal settlement over phone hacking with News of the World publisher News Group Newspapers, as reported by SKY News: "My motivation to win this decade-long fight stemmed from a desire to obtain justice, not only for my family, my charities and myself, but for the thousands of innocent members of the public who, like me, have suffered similar ignominious, criminal treatment at the hands of one of the world's most powerful media groups."

Simon Jenkins in the Guardian: "[Cliff] Richard and [Paul] Gambaccini are not arguing for an end to anonymity, only for pre-charge anonymity for the accused. The victims of the present injustice are not just VIPs, though they too are entitled to equity at law. Victims have included doctors, executives, the clergy, many ordinary people who have found their name stained, and lost their jobs and families. The ever-expanding legal realm of hate speech and causing offence accepts that words can hurt and harm. Reputations are as precious as heads, arms, legs and property. But the feeding frenzy of the internet is terrifying enough already without being fed by the British justice system. Pre-charge anonymity is a sound principle, one that parliament should now uphold."

Amal Clooney, UK special envoy on media freedom, at the Global Conference for Media Freedom in London, as reported by Press Gazette“The global decline in press freedom has been hastened by rhetoric from the leader of the world’s most powerful democracy and it will not be reversed without strong leadership from others.”


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