Thursday, 17 June 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: From anti-BBC rhetoric blamed for mob attack on journalist to if England win Euro 2020 will it be down to Rupert Murdoch?


BBC Newsnight editor Esme Wren on Twitter after film of Newsnight political editor Nick Watt being harassed at an anti-lockdown protest outside Downing Stre
et was posted online: "Harassing and intimidating any journalist is completely unacceptable. All journalists should be able to do their work without impediment or risking their safety #newsnight"

Alan Rusbridger on Twitter: "A fine BBC journalist mobbed on the streets on London. The repeated dog whistle attacks on the BBC are not without consequences...."


The Times
[£] in a leader on the Nick Watt attack:
"These kinds of attacks on journalists are becoming more frequent and are the product of a political climate increasingly hostile towards the media. Though not exclusively, attacks on journalists in the West have largely been at the hands of a reinvigorated far right...While it may be extremists who are committing these acts, root culpability lies with the politicians who seek to undermine the work of the press."


BBC correspondent Jonah Fisher on Twitter after authorities in Belarus paraded the detained opposition journalist Roman Protasevich at a news conference in Minsk: "
We have just walked out. Not taking part when he is clearly there under duress."


Government response to a Sunday Times [£] story about a billionaire property tycoon who gave £150,000 to the Conservative Party 48 hours after a government minister approved a controversial housing scheme for him: "Asked repeatedly whether [John] Bloor or his representatives had lobbied [Robert] Jenrick or other ministers ahead of these decisions, government officials said it would be 'too costly' to find out under Freedom of Information laws."


Alex Barker in the Financial Times:
"Rupert Murdoch has written down the value of The Sun newspapers to zero, acknowledging the tabloid brand that helped build his global media empire has become a worthless asset. The Sun titles, whose accounts were published on Friday, suffered badly as the pandemic hit print advertising and circulation, with its turnover falling more than a fifth to £324m in the financial year to June 2020. The bleak year left News Group Newspapers, a subsidiary of Murdoch’s NewsCorp that operates The Sun and The Sun on Sunday, nursing a pre-tax loss of £201m, even after slashing its costs and marketing.  The grim medium-term outlook for the print revenues, which carried the business through its heyday, forced the company to write down the asset by £84m, an impairment that left The Sun brand with zero carrying value." 


Sam Tobin in the Evening Standard
: "Former Liberal Democrat MP Sir Simon Hughes has said knowledge that his private information was unlawfully obtained 'went to the top in The Sun' after accepting 'substantial' damages from the newspaper’s publisher. Sir Simon sued News Group Newspapers (NGN), the publisher of The Sun and the now-defunct News Of The World, for misuse of private information and breach of confidence in 2019.  The former MP, who represented Bermondsey and Old Southwark over a 32-year period until 2015, claimed 'he had been the victim of unlawful information-gathering by various journalists and executives at The Sun'." 


Chris Bennion in the Telegraph on the launch of GB News: "
The sound was often out of sync, one presenter suffered a microphone failure, Sir Alan Sugar disappeared one word into his interview and the sets looked as if they had been hastily cobbled together (which, of course, they have been). However, at this early stage the glitches may well have boosted GB News’s cause, giving more credence to the idea that they are 'disruptors', outsiders taking on the slick establishment. The BBC doesn’t have glitches."

Stuart Jeffries on GB News in the Guardian: "GB News’s biggest problem is that the elephant isn’t in the room. Piers Morgan, the man for whom GB News could have been and perhaps was invented, has not yet been signed up. Nor has another anti-woke tabloid bruiser Nick Ferrari, whom GB News sought to lure from LBC, where the breakfast bulldog is renowned for eviscerating politicians, exposing for instance Diane Abbott’s innumeracy. These are the A-listers GB News needs if it is to produce reach as well as ratings. There’s a danger that it could have neither...My three words? 'A year tops'."


Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, in a statement on the BBC’s review into the re-hiring of Martin Bashir as Religious Affairs Correspondent in 2016:
“The NUJ was regularly demanding an end to so-called cappuccino interviews and stitched-up recruitment processes back in 2014 and 2015, ahead of Martin Bashir’s re-hiring in 2016. Our objections to his and many other appointments – made whilst the BBC was making sweeping cuts and spending vast sums on needless redundancies – were brushed aside and dodgy recruitment practices denied. Decisions on hiring Bashir were made over cosy coffees."


Jack Shafer on Politico: "The local news movement won’t make much progress until its proponents realize that its primary obstacle is a demand-side one, not a supply-side one. It’s not that nobody wants to read local news; it’s just that not enough people do to make it a viable business. Maybe the surfeit of local news of yesteryear was the product of an economic accident, a moment that cannot be reclaimed. But even if you were to underwrite local news with taxes and philanthropy, and distribute it to citizens via subsidies, you’d still have to find a way to get people to read it. Until some editorial genius cracks that puzzle, the local news quest will remain a charitable, niche project advanced by journalistic, academic and political elites."


David Yelland on Twitter:
"If England win #EURO2020 kudos will be due - but not given (!) - to Rupert Murdoch whose vision created the modern @premierleague - and transformed clubs' balance sheets - & @ManCity's Pep Guardiola for perfecting our game and players."

[£]=paywall


Thursday, 10 June 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: From Government's FoI blocking 'Department of Secrets' shamed to worldwide press freedom at a historic low point



Julian Richards, the openDemocracy editor-in-chief, quoted by the Guardian 
after openDemocracy won a legal victory against the UK government which forces transparency on a secretive unit accused of ‘blacklisting’ Freedom of Information requests from journalists, campaigners and others: “This tribunal ruling completely vindicates openDemocracy’s journalism, which has shown how freedom of information is being undermined at the very heart of government. There is a toxic culture of secrecy and evasion that has to stop. We should not have had to go all the way to a tribunal to force the Cabinet Office to comply with basic transparency requirements.”



The Times [£] in a leader: "This ruling is a victory not only for openDemocracy, which was taken to court by the Cabinet Office, but for all those who recognise the need for the government to be subjected to rigorous scrutiny. There are increasing concerns about the department’s policy of stonewalling requests from journalists and the public until being ordered to respond by the regulator. In doing so it has been accused of failing to meet its obligation in either the letter or the principle of the Freedom of Information Act. The result has been that successful requests have fallen to the lowest level since the law was introduced 20 years ago...the judgment is particularly shaming for Michael Gove, the relevant minister, who had sought to brush off investigations into the workings of the clearing house as 'ridiculous and tendentious'.”


Andrew Neil, interviewed by Susannah Butter
 in the Evening Standard, on the chances of Piers Morgan joining GB News: “It would be nice to have him. But he’s got his own idea of what he is worth and we have a slightly different idea of what he’s worth. He is in a lucky situation because ITV are continuing to pay him a tonne of money so he doesn’t have to do anything in the short run. I don’t think he’s going to go anywhere else in the UK. If he has a huge American offer that’s a different matter. No one in the UK can compete with that but if he’s going to do more UK news TV I hope it will be with us.”


Tom McTague in The Atlantic in a profile of Boris Johnson: "Johnson often carries a notepad around, a habit from his days as a journalist. A former aide told me that you know he has taken your point seriously if he writes it down. He runs meetings like an editor, surveying his staff for ideas, always looking for 'the line'—cutting through dry and occasionally contradictory facts to identify what he sees as the heart of the matter, the story."

“ 'What am i doing this for?' Johnson asked his aides, looking at his schedule for the day and seeing a slot carved out to talk to me. 'It’s for the profile I advised you not to do,' James Slack, Johnson’s then–director of communications, said."



Sathnam Sanghera in The Times [£]:
"My heart sank on hearing that the print circulation of my hometown newspaper, the Express & Star, has dropped to around 20,000 a day. In the 1980s it was selling 350,000 every evening, the editor would send writers to Afghanistan, the Gulf War, Sarajevo, and, on my first day on the Financial Times, I did myself no favours whatsoever by pointing out to new colleagues that their paper sold less nationally than the local paper I’d started out on. It still operates a fine website, but the slow death in general of local newspapers is nothing less than a national tragedy."


Joshi Herrmann, publisher of digital newspaper 
Manchester Mill, on Press Gazette“There is no long-term viable solution to the problems in local journalism that doesn’t come from getting people to pay for local news again.”


Van Morrison on Lewis Merenstein, the producer of his classic album Astral Weeks, in a GQ interview: "He liked to wind up the press because he said the media were like insects. He used to tell lies to people. One journalist asked him what it was like working with Van Morrison and he said, 'It’s terrible. He put a chair through the booth window while we were recording.' I asked him why he said that and he said because the press are idiots and they’ll print anything."


Hugo Rifkind in The Times [£]: "The Leveson Inquiry was shaming for newspapers, but they — we — still fought off the encroachment of government into who got to say what and how. It seems obvious to me that state regulation of social media is the same fight on a bigger battlefield. Yet traditional media distrusts social media too much to go into battle on its behalf."


Jason Rezaian 
in the Washington Post: "While the Trump era may be over, attacks on journalists in far-flung corners of the world are a frightening reminder that the former president’s record of inciting harm against reporters is an indelible part of his legacy — one that will have residual effects for generations if President Biden doesn’t act."
  • Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, quoted by the Washington Post: “If you look at the data we maintain, especially on journalists in prison around the world, there’s a consensus in the advocacy and research communities that press freedom is at a historic low point.” 

[£]=paywall

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: From sports press conferences are a 'cynical game' to when a local paper had as many staff as a modern day national



Jonathan Liew in the Guardian after Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open after refusing to do press conferences:
 "The modern press conference is no longer a meaningful exchange but really a lowest‑common‑denominator transaction: a cynical and often predatory game in which the object is to mine as much content from the subject as possible. Gossip: good. Anger: good. Feuds: good. Tears: good. Personal tragedy: good. Meanwhile the young athlete, often still caught up in the emotions of victory or defeat, is expected to answer the most intimate questions in the least intimate setting, in front of an array of strangers and backed by a piece of sponsored cardboard."


Nadeem Badshah in the Guardian:
"Journalists are being encouraged to share their experiences of being threatened, abused and intimidated as part of a government drive to protect their safety. The Home Office said the call for evidence would help to better understand the scale of the problem, the criminal justice system’s response to it and the impact that such incidents have on the industry. The National Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists in the UK was formed after the government received reports of journalists facing abuse and attacks while going about their daily work – including being 'punched, threatened with knives, forcibly detained, and subjected to rape and death threat' – and hopes to implement measures to tackle the problem."
  • The call for evidence ends on 14th July 2021


Alistair Osborne in The Times [£] on the decision to re-run the selection of the new Ofcom chair after claims Boris Johnson's favourite for the post, Paul Dacre, had been rejected by the independent assessment panel:
"For the PM to rip up an appointments process running six months late because the four-strong assessment panel is said to have rejected his preferred candidate — Dacre — is still a shocker. Ofcom is supposed to be an independent regulator, not the plaything of whatever government happens to be in charge."


Justin Webb on UnHerd:
"University these days encourages a way of thinking about the world that is homogenous. Those who go — even those who have seen hardship and adversity — are smoothed around the edges. They don’t question the establishment because they (alright, we) are the establishment. At its worst, all this leads to a deadening. A weeding out of the kind of prickly cussed characters who bring vivacity to any line of work — and have made British journalism what it is."


Nick Davies on Twitter: "In amongst all the news from Cummings' evidence, there is an important background point, that most of this never made it into the news before. Why? a) the UK has a culture of official secrecy and b) our mainstream news media are too weak to break it."


Ray Snoddy on MediaTel:
"Rather wearily, we must now dust down the old arguments and go into battle once more in protection of the concept that for Channel 4, privatisation is the solution to a problem that does not exist. The channel was hit hard, as was every commercially-funded broadcaster, by Covid and the lockdowns, but like others such as ITV, the bounce back is well under way. There is no reason to doubt that Channel 4 is perfectly sustainable in its present form, for the foreseeable future...This populist Conservative government, unlike any other we have ever had, does not like Channel 4 and Channel 4 News in particular. Shamefully no minister, let alone Prime Minister Boris Johnson, will appear on Channel 4 News for fear of being asked difficult questions and being held to account."


John Ware in the Observer:
"For all the post-Dyson ballyhoo over Bashirgate, there aren’t that many lessons for the BBC to learn – other than the fact that Martin 'whatever it takes' Bashir is a one-off: shameless and irrepressible. That and the fact that incuriosity, if that was indeed Lord Hall’s failing, is one of journalism’s biggest sins."


Jim Waterson in the Guardian"Fifteen years after the phone-hacking scandal began, more than 20 individuals have recently filed legal proceedings against the owner of the Mirror, with more cases waiting in the wings. Although the phone-hacking scandal has largely faded from the public eye, legal cases brought by potential victims seeking damages continue to make their way through the court system, amid predictions the final industry-wide bill for damages and legal fees could hit £1bn."


National World chief executive David Montgomery on Press Gazette:
 “We have editors who have been involved in the community for years, decades in some cases, and in some respects the previous management didn’t take account of that expertise and drafted very experienced people into central functions rather than having them do what they do best which is serve their communities and provide leadership in those communities. We have tried to get those experienced journalists back into the jobs they love and excel at and it has made a huge difference to the service we’re providing.”


Trevor Kavanagh in XCity magazine, published by City University's department of journalism: 
"When I started on the Surrey Mirror, the staff at head office would have been as big as some minor national newspapers today. I think we have lost an enormous resource by not having local newspapers covering the very fundamentals of our democracy: how local government works, how major trials are conducted."

[£]=paywall

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: From aerial abduction of journalist is an act of 'state thuggery' to the Bashir scandal is being exploited by BBC haters



Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, in a statement on the abduction of journalist Roman Protasevich who was removed from a flight and detained by the Belarusian authorities after the plane was instructed to divert to Minsk: 
"This is breath-taking behaviour and demonstrates just how far President Lukashenko will go to in order to silence journalists and those critical of his regime. This act of state thuggery cannot be allowed to go unchallenged – the international community must do more to stand up to this unacceptable behaviour from a regime set on dismantling press freedom and instilling fear in journalists in Belarus."
  • There are 29 journalists currently detained in Belarus

Boris Johnson on Twitter:
"The video of Roman Protasevich makes for deeply distressing viewing. As a journalist and a passionate believer in freedom of speech I call for his immediate release. Belarus' actions will have consequences."


Dominic Cummings at the select committee hearing on Covid claimed he had wanted to move Downing Street away from a culture of being a "press answering service" and reacting to what was in the papers every day: 
"The media realised I was trying to massively diminish their influence and they wanted to get rid of me." 


Max Hastings in The Times [£]: 
"As long as the pandemic persists, which seems likely to be many moons yet, so will the invisibility of other issues and of lesser politicians. Johnson’s licence to address the nation at will, without facing tough scrutiny from a shamefully tame media that defers to the national emergency, confers a huge advantage upon him."


Richard Pendelbury in the Daily Mail on the death of Max Mosley:
 "He used his fortune to try to erase the [News of the World] orgy story and images from internet search engines — a Sisyphean task. He also waged a bitter war against elements of the print media. In this campaign he backed draconian new laws to curb what he saw as the excesses of the Press and his opponents regarded as fundamental freedoms. His was the money — more than £500,000 — behind the private office of Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson. A Mosley family trust even donated millions to fund a new Press regulator, Impress, hoping its existence would trigger the imposition of ruinous fines against his Fleet Street critics. Not least among those critics was this newspaper, which in 2018 published a series of investigative articles showing Mosley had misled, if not lied to, the court at his privacy trial about his neo-Fascist past. Labour dropped his funding like a hot brick. Mosley once again summoned his lawyers, this time with no success. The articles were accurate in every shocking detail."

Alan Rusbridger in the Observer"This has been a bleak week for the BBC. The Bashir saga is shaming. But we can’t allow the future of the corporation to be defined by its enemies. And the prime minister would do well to approach any questions about journalistic ethics with a degree of humility."


Janice Turner in The Times [£]: "
Journalists having fainting fits about Bashir know that in his stealth, cunning and, above all, plausibility he is the quintessence of our trade. Bashir lied, forged, deceived; but such methods have exposed monsters. Journalism encompasses great integrity and deep shadiness, sometimes in the same byline. Bashir could convince Diana her closest confidantes were selling stories to newspapers only because so many already were."

The Times [£] in a leader: "Another inquiry is now needed to answer the many questions excluded by his tightly drawn terms of reference. These include the inexplicable decision by the BBC to rehire Mr Bashir in 2016 and the way in which the BBC treated whistleblowers. Only by acting with complete transparency can the BBC expect to win back public trust."

The Guardian in a leader: "An institutional reluctance to confront hard choices may indeed have been part of the problem when Mr Bashir came up with his bombshell interview in 1995 too. But the BBC is far too important for that failing to be used as an excuse to bash or trash a corporation that should be defended and cherished, and whose hallmark, as Lord Dyson says, is its high standards."

David Aaronovitch on Twitter:  "I hold no brief for Martin Bashir, but there is an industrial level revision of history going on about whether Diana 'would have given that interview' if he hadn't deceived her brother. Lord Dyson makes clear in para 1 his view that she would."

Lionel Barber on Twitter: "The issue is not whether Diana would have given the interview. It’s Bashir’s deep deception, the half-assed BBC investigation into the case, Bashir’s exoneration and later rehiring by Tony Hall. Colossal failure of editorial judgment all round now exploited by enemies of BBC."

 David Yelland on Twitter: "How dare Boris Johnson, himself fired from The Times, for making up quotes, get on his high horse on journalism ethics: Bashir is a disaster but it is being used by BBC haters including Johnson and his luddite mates...All those in glass houses, editors past and present, should pause before attacking the BBC and remember Bashir, then, was typical of our culture. The Beeb is still a national asset, a prized thing, a force for good."

[£]=paywall

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: From families condemn News of the World for paying 'Babes in the Wood' murderer to mapping the newsiest town in Britain



The families of murdered schoolgirls Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway in a statement released by Sussex Police after Jennifer Johnson, ex-girlfriend of convicted Babes in the Wood killer Russell Bishop, was found guilty of lying at his 1987 trial in which he was acquitted: “The now defunct ‘News of the World’ also provided encouragement for Johnson to lie. As a key witness in Bishop’s 1987 trial, she lied knowing that there would be a huge financial reward if Bishop received two acquittals for the double child murders. He did indeed receive the wrongful acquittals. The News of the World got their stories. The perpetrators got their payday. Our two families were devastated again after those verdicts, yet on the same evening, Johnson and the Bishops celebrated with a funded champagne dinner at the Hilton Hotel. They should all hang their heads in shame. They all had their part to play. They all have blood on their hands."
  • During the trial, the prosecution claimed Johnson stood to benefit from Bishop selling his story as "an innocent man" to the News of the World for £15,000. The Court of Appeal quashed the 1987 acquittals and Bishop was found guilty of murdering the girls after a second trial at the Old Bailey in 2018. Bishop was already in prison. He was jailed for attacking a seven-year-old girl three years after the acquittals. Johnson was jailed for six years for perjury and perverting the course of justice.

Lord Dyson in his report into Martin Bashir's Panorama interview with Princess Diana criticises the way the BBC investigated allegations that fake documents were used: "The investigation conducted by Lord Hall and Mrs Sloman was flawed and woefully ineffective... The answers given by the BBC to specific questions by the press were evasive. And by failing to mention on any news programme the fact that it had investigated what Mr Bashir had done and the outcome of the investigations, the BBC fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark."

BBC director general Tim Davie said in a statement: "Although the report states that Diana, Princess of Wales, was keen on the idea of an interview with the BBC, it is clear that the process for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect. We are very sorry for this. Lord Dyson has identified clear failings."


Prince William in a statement:
 "It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said. The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others. It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her. But what saddens me most, is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she had been deceived. She was failed not just by a rogue reporter, but by leaders at the BBC who looked the other way rather than asking the tough questions."

Bashir, who quit the BBC on health grounds before the publication of the investigation, said in a statement, reported by the Evening Standard: "This is the second time that I have willingly fully co-operated with an investigation into events more than 25 years ago. I apologised then, and I do so again now, over the fact that I asked for bank statements to be mocked up. It was a stupid thing to do and was an action I deeply regret. But I absolutely stand by the evidence I gave a quarter of a century ago, and again more recently. I also reiterate that the bank statements had no bearing whatsoever on the personal choice by Princess Diana to take part in the interview."

BBC News media editor Amol Rajan: "This report will not just injure the BBC, but scar it. And it should be granted that though it shows the historic failures of BBC journalists, it also shows the power and merit of journalism. It is thanks to determined reporters, not least at the Daily Mail group and the Sunday Times, that we today have the first full account of the real story behind the most remarkable - and arguably consequential - interview in television history."


The Committee to Protect Journalists' Middle East representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado in a statement, after Israeli planes destroyed the Al-Jawhara building in Gaza which housed the offices of more than a dozen media outlets, including AP and Al Jazeera:
“It is utterly unacceptable for Israel to bomb and destroy the offices of media outlets and endanger the lives of journalists, especially since Israeli authorities know where those media outlets are housed. Israeli authorities must ensure that journalists can do their jobs safely without fear of being injured or killed.”


Alan Rusbridger on Twitter: "Sometimes, when Prince Harry says sensible things (eg this morning about parenting), it would be nice if journalists discussed what he said rather than whether he has pissed off the Royals or Meghan put him up to it."


New Yorker
journalist Patrick Radden Keefe asked in an Observer interview if he had been intimidated by dozens of letters and emails from lawyers representing some of the Sackler family while writing Empire of Pain, his new book about the opioid scandal in the US:
 "Of course, it was in the back of my mind, it had to be. But I wasn’t intimidated. On the contrary, I was emboldened to be honest with you. In part, because they don’t do that sort of thing unless you’re on the right track. I thought a little bit about my colleague, Ronan Farrow, who had a similar experience when he tried to write about Harvey Weinstein. These are the sort of tactics these types of people employ. And they work until they don’t. And with Weinstein, they worked for a long time until they didn’t work any more. And the truth caught up with him."


BBC's Jon Sopel on covering the U.S. after Trump, in an interview with Press Gazette:
 “If you’re a journalist, and you need your daily heroin fix of being on the news, Joe Biden ain’t great. Because a lot of it is just the smooth whirring of the machine of government. It’s pretty dull. Whereas with Donald Trump, it was fireworks every day. So from that point of view, it seems a much quieter, stiller place.”


Matt Dathan in The Times [£]: "Spreading fake news on behalf of a hostile state like Russia or China could become a crime under government plans to overhaul the Official Secrets Act. Priti Patel, the home secretary, has published proposals to create a number of new offences to modernise Britain’s 'outdated' laws to combat evolving threats. The changes would also increase prison sentences for breaches of the Official Secrets Act."



Kevin Bradford on Twitter: "A map of nowhere - but somewhere only #news stories happen."

Paul Wiltshire on Twitter: "I do love a map. Particularly if it's of the newsiest town in the land. Happy memories of covering it - and training other people to cover it."


 [£]=paywall

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: Russian billionaires use London libel courts to sue journalist over Putin book to silly season arrives early with gunboats



Nick Cohen in the Observer on how journalist Catherine Belton is being sued in the UK libel courts by four Russian billionaires and a Russian oil company over her acclaimed book Putin's People: "The former Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times now faces a pile-on from Russian billionaires on a scale this country has never witnessed...London’s lawyers are hard at work. Carter-Ruck, CMS, Harbottle & Lewis and Taylor Wessing have a billionaire apiece in a kind of socialism of the litigious...Rosneft and Abramovich are not only suing HarperCollins, they are suing Belton personally If they are successful, they could strip her of what few assets she owns. You can see why journalists walk around on tiptoes."


The Financial Times in a leader:
"Despite reforms curtailing so-called libel tourism, England remains a venue of choice for claimants. Unlike in the US, there is no constitutional protection of free speech and fewer requirements for public figures to meet before they can successfully sue...Claimants must be able to vindicate their rights in court where claims are well founded. But the costs of the current system hand the super-rich an advantage and can distort outcomes. The scales of justice must balance accuracy with greater tolerance of free speech. Without a recalibration, the system could enable privatised censorship."


Hillary Clinton, interviewed in the Guardian“The technology platforms are so much more powerful than any organ of the so-called mainstream press, and I do think that there has to be not just an American reckoning but a global reckoning with the disinformation, with the monopolistic power and control, with the lack of accountability that the platforms currently enjoy.”


Kelvin MacKenzie on Press Gazette on the Sun's former chief reporter John Kay who has died aged 77: "He loved his gossip but what you could never prise from him was the source of his stories. Disgracefully Rupert Murdoch did that when he ordered the details of payments made to public officials by Sun journalists should be handed to Scotland Yard. John was among 22 staff that Murdoch threw under the bus to save his own skin when threatened with a corporate charge which would have forced him out of his own company. In my years of running The Sun Murdoch never asked where John’s fantastic tales came from; he was only interested that we had them so we could sell more papers, make more money and stuff the opposition. All 22 were cleared, but what broke John was one of his best contacts over the years ended up being jailed."


Roy Greenslade on Twitter:
"UK press guilty of ignoring innocent victims of Ballymurphy. Inquest coverage: Guardian, p1 with pic; Times p1, one par + p19; Telegraph, p1 one par + p9 (with that insensitive headline); Mail, p22; Mirror, p21; Express, p21; Sun, p20; i, p1 mention + p4. Editors just don't care."


Mr Justice Cohen refusing a request by Telegraph owner Sir Frederick Barclay to keep details of his divorce settlement private, as reported by the Guardian:
“[Barclay] is a public figure who should have been aware of the potential consequences of disobedience of court orders and his behaviour in the proceedings should not be allowed to pass completely under the radar.”


All Party Parliamentary Group on Religion in the Media report Learning to Listen
: "Journalists must be able to question freely and criticise religious beliefs – such criticism may well be merited. Highlighting shortcomings and exposing hypocrisy is a vital feature of public interest journalism and a responsibility not to be shirked in a democracy that values freedom of the press. But too often in our evidence sessions, we heard that media reporting on religion can be sensationalising, that it can reinforce problematic stereotypes, commit basic mistakes and use imprecise language, and that it homogenises faith communities whilst ignoring the diversity within faith groups."

The report recommends: "We argue for a corrective to the current system of press regulation to enable groups to make complaints on the grounds of discrimination. We also call for government to look again at press regulation arguing that there is a need for greater public confidence that the press is meaningfully, independently regulated...We propose religious literacy training be formally incorporated into professional media qualifications and journalism courses."



The Observer in a leader: "Oh, what a lovely war! The summer silly season arrived early for the Brexiters and their Fleet Street cheerleaders, and didn’t they enjoy it! In a week that commemorated the death of Napoleon, and on the eve of today’s Europe Day, which celebrates peace and unity across a continent for which greater generations of Britons fought and died, they picked a foolish scrap with the French for old times’ sake, then claimed a spurious victory...Real battles threaten communities around the globe. But what’s the big news for foreigner-baiting tabloids? The imaginary “Battle of St Helier”, a fake story told with sick relish, bad puns and shameful jingoism."