Thursday, 12 March 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: Coronavirus stories are bringing in readers but scaring off advertisers to warning over UK surveillance of journalists

Jim Waterson on Twitter: "Enormous traffic for Coronavirus stories but ad market was already weak, is now been pummelled, and advertisers are placing keyword blocks to stop ads on pandemic stories. This is all very bad for already struggling outlets.*
*This is obviously not the main concern for society."

Nadine Dorris on Twitter: "If you want to know how low a journalist can go, @DailyMailUK on my doorstep in the middle of my trying to deal with everything else. He opened the gate, knocked on the door, rang the bell. I hope he washes his hands. #Coronavirus."
  • Mirror politics correspondent Mikey Smith on Twitter: "Absolutely nothing wrong with a journalist knocking on a public servant's door."

Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, welcoming the new Whitehall unit set up to counter Coronavirus-related fake news on social media: “The creation of the cross-Whitehall unit to identify disinformation on social media regarding the Covid-19 virus underscores where the dangers are for the public to be misinformed during this crisis. It is the mainstream media where news and information are edited that factual reports are to be found.”

Simon Jenkins in the Guardian on the Coronavirus: "Every medical expert I have heard on the subject is reasonable and calm. Not so politicians and the media. They love playing to the gallery, as they do after every health scare and terrorist incident. Front pages are outrageous. No BBC presenter seems able to avoid the subject. Wash hands to save the nation. The BBC must be sponsored by the soap industry."

Tim Shipman on Twitter: "Given the shortages developing in our great supermarkets, I am tempted to say, Britain, that you should definitely buy a newspaper this weekend. News, enlightenment and potentially dual use in a crisis..."

PPA managing director Owen Meredith welcoming the Budget announcement that from December 1 2020 digital publications, including magazines, journals, books and newspapers will be zero-rated for VAT: “Our tax system has failed to keep up with technology and recognise changing consumers habits in accessing news and information. I’m delighted the Chancellor has listened to our representations and acted to end this tax on reading. This tax cut will be good for consumers and publishers alike, it will promote innovation in paid-content models as well as investment in quality journalism."

Sports commentator Alan Green interviewed in The Times [£] about the BBC not reviewing his contract: “They have shown me very little respect in how that is ending. I feel a mixture of disappointment and anger. I don’t think it’s justified. I was basically told, ‘You don’t fit our profile.’ I got a fair idea of what they meant by just listening to the output over the last year or so. There isn’t an ageist, sexist, racist bone in my body. I only care about ‘Can somebody do the job?’ There are new people in favour. They match the requirements in terms of ‘bants’ — banter with presenters.”

John Simpson on Twitter: "I’ve warned for some years now that the concerted attacks on the BBC would end in its destruction. Only a determined few want this to happen. The rest are unthinkingly caught up in the mud-slinging, or feel powerless. If you want the BBC to survive, now’s the time to speak up."

International Federation of Journalists general secretary Anthony Bellanger in a statement calling on governments to ratify the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment to help reduce the level of violence against women journalists: "The level of violence facing women journalists is unacceptable. Once a state ratifies the Convention, it becomes legally binding and we expect women journalists to receive stronger support from their employer when they become a target of harassment and violence. We urge our affiliates to campaign nationally for a ratification of this desperately -needed convention."
  • According to IFJ statistics, 65% of women journalists have experienced violence at work, either in newsrooms, in relation to their sources, at home, on the way home or online. It can take the form of physical attacks, unwanted touching, sexual comments, online abuse, threats and intimidations in all their forms.

Newsquest’s editorial director Toby Granville, speaking at the official launch of HM Courts and Tribunal Service’s (HMCTS) updated media guidance at the Old Bailey"Our reporters on a daily basis challenge court orders and anonymity orders that are often incorrectly used to protect guilty defendants from publicity. Often orders are used incorrectly by lawyers who don’t always understand the law around anonymity which is regularly successfully challenged by our professional, qualified journalists. Without this level of expertise and qualified learning we are in a serious and perilous situation. A worse case for open justice is that we’re not even there to contest them in the first place and the public are censored from knowing the truth about what is going on in their community."
  • Granville added that in order to ensure trained journalists are present in court, sustainable investment was urgently needed to enable increased coverage of cases – particularly in the magistrates’ courts. This could come from an expansion of a programme similar to the Local Democracy Scheme through the partnership publishers have with the BBC or through digital giants such as Google and Facebook funding such reporters.

Committee to Protect Journalists advocacy director Courtney Radsch in a statement after the U.K. Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office, which oversees surveillance by government agencies, released a report revealing authorities requested six warrants for surveillance that “would relate to journalistic confidential material” in 2018: “While we welcome the U.K. government’s disclosure of some information about its surveillance activities, the material that has been made public is far from sufficient. The Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office needs to provide much more detailed disclosures to help journalists in the U.K. understand who is investigating them and enable recourse in cases of abuse.”


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