Monday 31 December 2012

IFJ says governments and UN are failing to protect journalists and media staff after 121 killed in 2012

The International Federation of Journalists has accused governments and the UN of failing to protect journalists - after 2012 proved one of the bloodiest years for journalists and media staff with the IFJ recording 121 killings in targeted attacks and cross fire incidents.

The IFJ claims the killings are the result of systematic failure by governments and the United Nations to fulfil their international obligations to protect and enforce journalists' basic right to life.

IFJ president Jim Boumelha said: "The death toll for 2012 is another indictment of governments which pay lip service to the protection of journalists but have consistently failed to stop their slaughter.

"It is no wonder that these sky-high numbers of killed journalists have become a constant feature in the last decade during which the usual reaction from governments and the United Nations has been a few words of condemnation, a cursory inquiry and a shrug of indifference."

According to figures released  by the Federation, 121 journalists and media staff lost their lives in targeted attacks, bomb attacks and other cross-fire incidents this year, up from 107 recorded in 2011. Thirty more died in accidents or of illness while they were at work in 2012, against 20 last year.

Syria tops the IFJ's list of the most dangerous countries for media in 2012. More violence and lawlessness in Somalia turned the country into a media killing field while organised crime in Mexico and insurgents in Pakistan account for the high numbers of fatalities in these countries.

The Federation said  journalists were deliberately targeted because of their work and with the clear intention to silence them.

Last month, the IFJ urged accountability for violence targeting media at the UN Inter-Agency's conference in Vienna, Austria which officially launched the UN Action Plan on the safety of journalists and the issue of Impunity, noting that ‘ the new UN plan is akin to drinking in the last chance saloon."

Beth Costa, IFJ general secretary said: "We now look to the UN Plan on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity to deliver on its mandate. "The situation is so desperate that inaction no longer represents an option."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet added: “Journalists from Britain and Ireland have been among the victims of the failure of governments and the United Nations to protect and enforce the basic right to life of our colleagues while going about their work.

“For journalists across the world, the deaths of 121 media workers last year is a deeply felt loss. But it is important that the public – and the governments which are meant to serve the public will – recognise that the killing of journalists is an attack on decisive role of the work they do and on the free flow of vital information which can help shape a better world.”

As of 31 December, the IFJ recorded the following information on killings of journalists and media staff in 2012:
  • Targeted killings, bomb attacks and cross-fire incidents : 121
  • Accidental and illness related deaths : 30
  • Total Deaths : 151
The deadliest region in 2012 was the Middle East and Arab World with 47 journalists and media personnel killed. Syria had the region's highest death toll with 36 dead.

Among countries with the highest numbers of media fatalities are:

  • Syria : 35
  • Somalia : 18
  • Pakistan : 10
  • Mexico : 10
  • Philippines : 5
  • Iraq : 5
Reporters Without Borders has desribed 2012 as the deadliest on record for journalists.

Monday 24 December 2012

RWB: '2012 was the deadliest year for journalists'

Press freedom campaign group Reporters Without Borders reports the number of journalists killed in 2012 was 88, a figure the group describe as "unprecedented" and makes 2012 the deadliest year for journalists since RWB began producing its annual roundup in 1995.

RWB said: "With a one-third rise in the number of journalists killed in connection with their work over 2011, and a record number of journalists in prison, persecution of media personnel has rarely posed such a major threat to freedom of expression."

2012 in numbers
  • 88 journalists killed (+33%)
  • 879 journalists arrested 1993 journalists threatened or physically attacked
  • 38 journalists kidnapped
  • 73 journalists fled their country
  • 6 media assistants killed
  • 47 netizens and citizen-journalists killed
  • 144 bloggers and netizens arrested
The worst-hit regions were the Middle East and Northern Africa (with 26 killed), Asia (24 killed) and sub-Saharan Africa (21 killed). Only the western hemisphere registered a fall in the number of journalists killed.

Sunday 23 December 2012

London Olympics is news gold - top story of 2012: Plus most used phrase and most prolific journalist

The Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee, and the Leveson inquiry were the biggest stories of 2012 in the UK, according to journalisted.

Most covered in 2012 were:
  • The Leveson inquiry (5,452 articles) heard evidence about the culture and ethics of the press, publishing its recommendations in November.

Covered little in 2012, according to journalisted, were:

The most mentioned phrases were:

Most prolific journalists (number of articles published online):

Thursday 20 December 2012

The Best Media Quotes of 2012: An arresting year for British journalists and journalism. . . .

Arrest of Journalists

Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford on his blog, commenting on the arrest of more than 20 journalists in the UK: "For eight of the nine years I've worked for Press Gazette the arrest of a journalist in the course of their work has been an extraordinarily rare occurrence in the UK. Today it is commonplace. In previous years, editors and publishers would have protested from the rooftops at the sight of police bids to disclose sources and close down unofficial leaks of information by use of draconian powers. Today, at News International anyway, editors and publishers are not just mute - but complicit in the arrest of journalists and disclosure of sources."

 Mail's Lawrence campaign leads to convictions

Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian: "He made an unlikely anti-racist campaigner, but there were few voices more critical in the demand for justice for Stephen Lawrence than Paul Dacre and the Daily Mail. It was the Mail's 1997 front page headline, branding Lawrence's alleged killers "Murderers", that helped make the case impossible to ignore. It was, without question, the Mail's finest hour."

Tony Parsons on Twitter: "Congratulations to Hugh Grant and Steve Coogan for bringing Stephen Lawrence's killers to justice - oh, sorry, I mean the British press."

Marie Colvin killed in Syria

Peter Oborne in the Daily Telegraph:
"Some will observe that many other people died in the Syrian fighting yesterday, and may very reasonably ask what is so special about one Western journalist. There is great insight in this question because it points to the solipsism of a world in which it seems sometimes that terrible events only really register when an affluent white person gets killed. But remember this: without the staggering fortitude and self-sacrifice of Marie Colvin, and her journalist colleagues still reporting from the carnage in Syria, we simply would not have a sense of the nature or the scale of the killing."

Channel 4 News' Jon Snow on Twitter: "Assad's assassination of Marie Colvin:Utterly devastating: the most couragious journalist I ever knew and a wonderful reporter and writer."

Marie Colvin in an email to Jeremy Bowen, the BBC's Middle East editor, about her final Sunday Times article on Homs: "I thought yesterday's piece was one of those we got in to journalism for. They are killing with impunity here, it is sickening and anger-making."

Leveson gives his verdict

Friday 14 December 2012

Media Quotes of the Week: From 'Orwellian' Labour press bill to the joke's on Piers Morgan

Orwell coined 'doublethink' and was NUJ member

Harriet Harman on Labour's proposed Press Freedom and Trust Bill in the Guardian: "This gives clarity and certainty. Lord Justice Leveson said in his report that a legal guarantee to underpin self-regulation was essential and this draft bill provides it."

on Twitter: "Orwellian satire, surely. With or without statute, fallout will wreak damage for years."

on Twitter: "Ed Miliband's "Freedom" Of The Press Bill is a con. Shameless Orwellian double speak. It's the Less Freedom For The Press Bill."

on Twitter: "More Orwellian Doublespeak when Labour calls regulation a Press Freedom Bill. I chain you to set you free!"

Joanna Hindley, special advisor to Culture Secretary Maria Miller, to a Telegraph journalist investigating the expenses of her boss:“Maria has obviously been having quite a lot of editors’ meetings around Leveson at the moment. So I am just going to kind of flag up that connection for you to think about.”

Telegraph in a leader: "We are not unfamiliar with attempts being made by governments of various stripes to influence publication decisions or even to shut down perfectly legitimate journalistic endeavour. But it is especially troubling when they are linked, however casually, to the threat of legislation to underpin a new independent regulatory body for newspapers. It would be hard to find a clearer illustration of why the state must be kept well away from these decisions."

Joe Murphy quizzes Maria Miller in the London Evening Standard: "So why, then, did she suddenly stop claiming on the Wimbledon home in 2009 — just as the expenses scandal erupted. 'Because I think there was a lot of concern about the rules and, er, a lot of concern about, you know, the whole issue, and it’s something I felt that I didn’t want to be, sort of, mixed up in, the fact that I ...'  Mrs Miller finally stopped trying to explain herself, and simply said:  'I just made that decision'.”

James Harding in his resignation speech to Times staff:  "It has been made clear to me that News Corporation would like to appoint a new editor of the Times. I have, therefore, agreed to stand down. I called Rupert [Murdoch] this morning to offer my resignation and he accepted it."

Home editor of The Times on Twitter: "James Harding is a brilliant, fearless Editor who brought the best out of The Times at the worst of times. I'll miss everything about him."

Wikipeadia founder Jimmy Wales in The Times [£] on Leveson: “I come at this question from such a thoroughly American mental framework, where the concept of a press regulator backed by statute is just absolutely inconceivable. It wouldn’t pass the briefest First Amendment test, so it would never be considered. It’s just not an option. I can’t be alone among people who scratch their head and wonder what the hell it means to talk about an independent regulator backed by statute but not a government regulator. There’s clearly a fine distinction being drawn here; exactly what does that mean?”

Peter Preston in The Observer: "Here's one truly educational stopover for Lord Justice Leveson when he flies back from the Australian sun. Take a transit break at Ataturk airport, Istanbul, and wander around a little. Talk to reporters, editors, publishers, tycoons and politicians (as I did last week). Then ponder the meaning of two small words that somehow got lost in your famous inquiry: press freedom. It seems so simple to you, I know. You need no lectures from Michael Gove. But prepare to be amazed – and depressed."

Hacked Off website on press reaction to Leveson: "If the inquiry had related to, say, the companies that operate care homes, the headlines would have been thunderous: ‘DAVE LETS ABUSERS OFF’, ‘BACK-DOOR DEAL PUTS VULNERABLE IN PERIL’, ‘PM BINS DAMNING £5M CARE HOME REPORT’. Editorials in the Mail and the Sun would have railed against cosy deals contrary to the public interest, called on MPs to ensure the judge’s report was implemented in full – and probably dropped hints about corruption and party funding."

Francis Beckett in Tribune: "Newspapers and radio stations like to present themselves as outsiders, pricking a pompous establishment.  But Mrs Seldanha, not her tormentors, was the outsider. In her blameless, useful life, she was not used to dealing with royalty-obsessed journalists. If her two Australian tormentors had heard of her distress before they heard of her suicide, they would have laughed and gloated on air, and set up the taunt of the playground bully about to push a weaker child nearer to impotent, hysterical fury: 'Where’s your sense of humour then?'  The only difference is that their greater strength came, not from anything in themselves, but from their possession of the media megaphone."

Arthur MacMillan in the British Journalism Review: "In May this year the final link to the Johnston family, which started the company in 1767, was severed when Michael Johnston, latterly the managing director of Scotsman Publications, resigned. His departure illustrates that the company bears no resemblance to the family enterprise it once was. Despite promises to invest, Johnston Press did the opposite. In the process, they have wrecked The Scotsman and their own reputation."

on Twitter: "Piers Morgan says I couldn't go on his CNN show because staff there have never heard of me. Another reason is: I'd rather eat my own head."

Sienna Miller asked by the Guardian to tell a joke: "Piers Morgan got away with it."

[£] = Paywall

Steve Dyson hoovers up new magazine editorship

 Former Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson (left ) is to edit a new business magazine aimed at 10,000 business leaders in the West Midlands.

BQ West Midlands, launching at the beggining of 2013,  will be the fourth regional edition of Business Quarter Magazine as part of expansion in print and online.

Published by Room501 Publishing Ltd, the magazine also has editions covering the North East, Yorkshire and Scotland, together with a  website offering additional news, features and business intelligence.

BQ West Midlands will be distributed directly to 7,500 business leaders, with another 2,500 copies provided for top hotels, business lounges, conference centres and similar venues.

Steve Dyson said: “I’m delighted to be launching and editing BQ West Midlands which will aim to get to the heart and soul of our most successful business people, finding out what drives, inspires and motivates them.

“We will also report on recent developments that will have a significant impact on the West Midlands business landscape, providing in-depth analysis and debates from the experts on big issues.”

Dyson, who edited the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette from 2002 to 2005, was an industrial correspondent for the Birmingham Mail before becoming editor of the paper.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Osborne's austerity statement is story of the week

George Osborne's autumn statement was the most covered story by the UK press for the week ending Sunday, December 9, according to journalisted.

The Chancellor delivers his autumn statement warning of austerity until 2018, generated 745 articles.

Other top stories were:
Covered little, according to journalisted, were: 

Tuesday 11 December 2012

NUJ: 'Data bill threatens journalists' sources'

Stanistreet: 'Bill undermines ability to protect sources.'

The NUJ has warned the draft communications data bill - otherwise known as the snoopers’ charter - would severely restrict the freedom of the press by revealing journalists' sources.

The union says it supports the call on the government by the pre-legislative parliamentary Joint Committee to significantly amend the bill so that the Home Secretary is not given "carte blanche to order retention of any type of data".

The draft bill would allow the government to order a communications service provider – such as Facebook or BT - to collect and store the communications data relating to all of the traffic they deal with. This would include details of internet usage, including websites visited, internet searches, private social media messages and even the online video games played.

Law enforcement agencies would be able to trawl that data and cross reference it with other data sources through a communications data search engine, revealing social connections and confidential communication between journalists and their sources.

The NUJ’s code of conduct says a member must protect the identity of sources who supply information and materials in confidence.

The Parliamentary committee told the Home Office that the draft bill must be significantly amended. It said: “The Joint Committee believes that if Clause 1 of the draft Bill – which, as currently drafted, gives the Home Secretary sweeping powers to order the retention of any kind of communications data by any communications service provider – is narrowed, and safeguards are put in place to ensure that any new powers are not abused, a new Bill could be introduced that would work. It would both allow the security services, law enforcement agencies and a few other public authorities access to the communications data they need to protect and serve UK citizens without trampling on the privacy of those citizens.”

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary,(pictured) said: “This draft bill is a major assault on civil liberties for all citizens and a threat to press freedom. For journalists it would be a direct attack on the way they work and would severely undermine their ability to protect their sources, materials and whistle-blowers.”

The Joint Committee’s other recommendations include:

• Proper consultation should take place before any revised proposals are bought forward;

• Fewer public authorities should be able to access communications data;

• The Bill should include new definitions of communications data, that are narrower in scope, draw a clearer line between data and content and will stand the test of time;

• The current internal authorisation process for accessing communications data should be strengthen and enshrined in primary legislation, a specialist, centralised service should be established;

• The Interception of Communications Commissioner should scrutinise more closely the use of communications data, his annual reports should be more thorough and he should have more resources at his disposal. He should have a special role in supervising the operation of the new Request Filter which is essentially a federated database of all UK citizens’ communications data;

• Wilful or reckless misuse of communications data becomes a specific offence that is punishable, where appropriate, by a prison term; and

• The costs of implementing the draft Bill are likely to be significant, the current estimates are not robust and a new cost benefit analysis must be published at the same time as any redrafted Bill, based on the Committee’s recommendations for wider consultation and narrower powers of the Bill.

The Guardian reports that Nick Clegg has described the draft bill  as "unworkable."

Friday 7 December 2012

Media quotes of the week: The summoning of the editors to Downing Street - plus more Leveson

Telegraph editor on Twitter on the post-Leveson meeting of national newspaper editors in Downing Street: "It felt like the summoning of the Five Families in The Godfather "

 Peter Preston in The Observer: "Of course, everyone has been very nice to Lord Justice Leveson   Well, they would be, wouldn't they, as Baroness Rice-Davies might add. But, in truth, this report is a sloppy, elephantine piece of work that relies on nobody having the time to read it before taking sides."

Brian Cathcart of Hacked Off: "When it comes to themselves and their vested interests, the editors and proprietors of most of our national papers know no shame...No heads are rolling after Leveson’s verdict. There are no apologies. There is no soul-searching. Instead they just bitch, bully and complain."

Dan Hodges on his Telegraph blog: "The Guardian leader [on the Leveson Report] is one of the most craven pieces of writing ever to appear on its pages. Undermined by its own self-righteousness and sense of moral superiority, a once-great paper has this morning become everything it once professed to hate. It has ceased to be the Guardian and formally relaunched itself as the Vichy Evening News."

Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail: "Expect a lot of sound and fury over the coming months as the enemies of a free Press, many of them in Parliament, continue their destructive work. What I draw from yesterday’s proceedings, though, is that the Prime Minister, as well as Cabinet colleagues animated by principle, dearly want to protect it."

Matthew Syed in The Times [£]: "Freedom of the press is simply too important to be hijacked like this. Sympathy with victims, however sincere, cannot be the sole basis of policy; neither can the opinions of victims be given a weight they do not merit. We must remember that there are other victims, less tangible but no less important. Namely, citizens whose capacity to resist the power of the State will be weakened by statutory restrictions on the press. In other words, all of us."

Simon Jenkins in the Guardian: "As Leveson said, the press is 'irreverent, unruly and opinionated'. It is also tasteless, infuriating, biased, unfair. Ask many of its victims and the gag and the gallows are too good for it. But the press has not made a hopeless mess of self-policing. If a law passed by parliament had closed the News of the World, there would have been a national outcry. As it was, the task was brought about by the press, initially by the Guardian."

Liberty’s director Shami Chakrabarti, one of  the panel of assessors who advised Lord Justice Leveson, in the Independent: "The majority of Britain’s journalists do a fantastic job in holding the powerful to account and serving the public interest. The unethical and criminal acts of a select few cannot be allowed to erode centuries of press freedom."

Boris Johnson in the Telegraph: "When you read Leveson in full, you are left to ponder the mystery of how people can behave like this. Are these journalists that much nastier and more cynical than the rest of the human race? Why do they seem to have got out of control? The answer is simple. The press are no nastier than anyone else; quite the reverse. On the whole, journalists are highly intelligent, amusing and frequently idealistic."

John McDonnell MP , NUJ Parliamentary Group chair, in Parliament on a 'conscience clause' for journalists: “Leveson has recommended that the editors and proprietors now consider adopting a conscience clause. Bizarrely, when Rupert Murdoch was interrogated, he accepted that proposal and now supports it. There should therefore be no reason for such a clause not to form part of a journalist's contract. The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister also said last week that the matter should be given serious consideration, as did the Leader of the Opposition"

Lord Justice Leveson speaking in Australia, as reported by Guido Fawkes: "Just as it took time for the wilder excesses of the early penny press to be civilised, it will take time to civilise the internet. The internet does not trade in gossip. It simply publishes it online, conveys it on Facebook, uploads it onto Youtube, tweets and re-tweets it . It is likely that new legal norms and new laws will need to be developed.”

Wednesday 5 December 2012

NUJ: Ruling that photographers must hand over Belfast riot pictures is a 'blow to media freedom'

The NUJ has expressed "grave disappointment" at the decision of a court in Northern Ireland to compel photographers to hand over unbroadcast pictures of the riots in Belfast on 12 July 2012.

Judge David McFarland ruled that press photographer's unbroadcast material held by the Press Association and two photo agencies, Press Eye and Photopress, must be handed over to the police.

The judge did rule that the BBC, UTV and Sky did not have to hand over footage.

The BBC has reported that Judge David McFarland said he had to balance the public interest of identifying and prosecuting rioters against the potential risk to journalists if seen to be assisting in the police investigation. He stated: "There is no evidence to support the proposition that journalists may become the targets of attack should they be perceived to be evidence gathering for the police."

NUJ Irish Secretary Seamus Dooley said the decision of the Belfast Recorder was "A serious blow to media freedom at a time when photographers were under threat from a number of sources in Northern Ireland."

He added: "It is disappointing that the Recorder refused to accept the principle that media workers should never be put in the position of quasi police officers. He refused to acknowledge the risk which arises when independent journalists are perceived to be potential agents of the State. It is surprising that he found there was no risk in journalists handing over material.

"In a week in which a working photographer was struck by a police baton in a dangerous riot situation in Belfast this ruling is another setback for the freedom of the press in Northern Ireland and we will be considering carefully the implications of the ruling."

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Leveson Report on press is top story of the week

Lord Justice Leveson's report on the culture, practices and ethics of the press was the most covered news story in the UK for the week ending Sunday, December 2, according to journalisted.

Lord Justice Leveson publishes his report , recommending tougher self-regulation with statutory underpinning, which is covered in 482 articles.

Other top stories were:
Covered little, according to journalisted were:

NUJ puts nationals on spot on conscience clause

McDonnell told Parliament Murdoch backs conscience clause

The NUJ has written to all national newspapers asking if they will be adopting a conscience clause in journalists’ contracts, as recommended by the Leveson report.

A conscience clause would prevent journalists being sacked if they refuse to act unethically if put under pressue by their employers.

The NUJ says the clause has the backing of Rupert Murdoch, the Prime Minister, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband.

Lord Justice Leveson said in his report he was “struck by the evidence of journalists who felt that they might be put under pressure to do things that were unethical or against the code. I therefore suggest that the new independent self-regulatory body should establish a whistle-blowing hotline and encourage its members to ensure that journalists’ contracts include a Conscience Clause protecting them if they refuse”.

The text of the conscience clause, as recommended in the NUJ’s final submission to Leveson, read: “A journalist has the right to refuse assignments or be identified as the creator of editorial which would break the letter or the spirit of the Code. No journalist should be disciplined or suffer detriment to their career for asserting his/her rights to act according to the Code."

During yesterday’s House of Commons debate John McDonnell (pictured) , NUJ Parliamentary Group chair, said: “Leveson has recommended that the editors and proprietors now consider adopting a conscience clause. Bizarrely, when Rupert Murdoch was interrogated, he accepted that proposal and now supports it. There should therefore be no reason for such a clause not to form part of a journalist's contract. The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister also said last week that the matter should be given serious consideration, as did the Leader of the Opposition.

“The NUJ has now written to proprietors proposing the commencement of discussions on the introduction of a conscience clause in the contracts of all journalists. The Secretary of State is meeting the proprietors, and I congratulate her on involving the NUJ in those discussions. She is meeting representatives of the union as well, and they will be part of the overall discussions.

"It would be extremely helpful, now that we have cross-party consensus on the need to consider a conscience clause, if she could seek assurances from the proprietors that they will take the matter seriously and engage in discussions and negotiations on the issue and on the contractual changes that would need to take place for existing and future journalists. This could form another part of the architecture of a cultural change in journalism in this country, as well as protecting those who want to stand up for higher standards.”

Pic: John McDonnell by Jon Slattery

Friday 30 November 2012

Media Quotes of the Week: You've been Levesoned

Lord Justice Leveson (top) in his Report: "The evidence placed before the Inquiry has demonstrated, beyond any doubt, that there have been far too many occasions over the last decade and more (itself said to have been better than previous decades) when these responsibilities, on which the public so heavily rely, have simply been ignored. There have been too many times when, chasing the story, parts of the press have acted as if its own code, which it wrote, simply did not exist. This has caused real hardship and, on occasion, wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people whose rights and liberties have been disdained. This is not just the famous but ordinary members of the public, caught up in events (many of them, truly tragic) far larger than they could cope with but made much, much worse by press behaviour that, at times, can only be described as outrageous."

Lord Justice Leveson in his Report: "In order to give effect to the incentives that I have outlined, it is essential that there should be legislation to underpin the independent self-regulatory system
and facilitate its recognition in legal processes."

Lord Justice Leveson in his Report: "Finally, I was struck by the evidence of journalists who felt that they might be put under pressure to do things that were unethical or against the code. I therefore suggest that the new independent self-regulatory body should establish a whistle-blowing hotline and encourage its members to ensure that journalists’ contracts include a conscience clause protecting them if they refuse."

Lord Justice Leveson in his Report: “In relation to regional and local newspapers, I do not make a specific recommendation but I suggest that the Government should look urgently as what action it might be able take to help safeguard the ongoing viability of this much valued and important part of the British press. It is clear to me that local, high-quality and trusted newspapers are good for our communities, our identity and our democracy and play an important social role.”

David Cameron in the House of Commons, as reported by BBC News, after saying he had "serious misgivings" about independent self regulation of the press being underpinned by law because: "We would have crossed the Rubicon of writing elements of press regulation into the law of the land, we should be wary of legislation that has potential to infringe free speech and a free press."

The Daily Mail in a leader"To his enormous credit, however, David Cameron sees this report for what it is — a mortal threat to the British people’s historic right to know. If he prevails in protecting that right, with the help of like-minded freedom lovers in the Commons and Lords, he will earn a place of honour in our history."

The Financial Times in a leader: "While there may be merit in a grand bargain that trades the incentives to participate for some measure of statutory underpinning, the idea of handing oversight power to Ofcom is wrong-headed. Ofcom is charged with regulating television broadcasters that have a legal obligation to impartiality. It reports directly to government. This is a step down the road towards state licensing of a press that, of course, has no obligation to provide balance."

The Daily Telegraph in a leader: "The industry must act quickly to set up an independent regulatory body that fulfils the principles put forward by Leveson. If it does that, then Mr Cameron, Mr Clegg, Mr Miliband and Parliament should be able to stay on the right side of the Rubicon."

The Guardian in a leader: "While Lords Hunt and Black have done useful work in trying to draw up a reformed version of the discredited PCC, it is not clear that they are now the right people to be trying to build a consensus among a diverse group of editors, publishers and proprietors. Their past efforts confusingly married consultation with lobbying and they badly misjudged what would be acceptable, either to the inquiry or to Westminster."

The Sun in a leader: "We understand why phone hacking victims want newspapers muzzled. But anger and the desire for revenge are not a basis on which to destroy 300 years of Press freedom. That is why we applaud David Cameron’s courage in resisting Lord Leveson’s call for a new law, saying he has “serious concerns and misgivings” over legal underpinning for a new regulator. Parliament must now give the Press the chance to respond to Lord Leveson with its own proposals."

We understand why phone hacking victims want newspapers muzzled. But anger and the desire for revenge are not a basis on which to destroy 300 years of Press freedom.
That is why we applaud David Cameron’s courage in resisting Lord Leveson’s call for a new law, saying he has “serious concerns and misgivings” over legal underpinning for a new regulator. Parliament must now give the Press the chance to respond to Lord Leveson with its own proposals.

Read more:
Adrian Jeakings, president of the Newspaper Society and chief executive of Archant, in a statement: "Local newspapers have always been vehemently opposed to any form of statutory involvement or underpinning in the regulation of the press, including the oversight by Ofcom proposed in the report. This would impose an unacceptable regulatory burden on the industry, potentially inhibiting freedom of speech and the freedom to publish."

Liberty’s director Shami Chakrabarti, one of  the panel of assessors who advised Lord Justice Leveson, in a statement: “Leveson’s main proposal makes sense for the public, press and politicians alike. The press sets up a robust body – independent of Government and serving editors – and earns legal protections from needless challenges in court. The public gets confidence of greater access to justice and redress when things go wrong. What nobody needs and Liberty cannot support is any last-resort compulsory statutory press regulation – coming at too high a price in a free society.”

US-based Committee to Protect Journalists executive director Joel Simon in a statement: "A media regulatory body anchored by statute cannot be described as voluntary. Moreover, adopting statutory regulation would undermine press freedom in the U.K. and give legitimacy to governments around the world that routinely silence journalists through such controls."

Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph: "In the nearly 20 years in which I edited various papers, including this one, I became ever more strongly convinced of two things. The first was that statutory regulation of the press was a bad idea. The second was that the self-regulation of the press was little better than a farce."

Times editor James Harding [£]: "Let’s not tiptoe around the problem. The British press has, on occasion, abused its power and influence, trampled on the feelings of the vulnerable and, sometimes with scant justification, intruded into people’s privacy. These excesses have, I believe, been the exception, not the stock-in-trade of Fleet Street. But they have undermined the reputation of journalists and destroyed confidence in regulation of the press."

on Twitter: "Will this week see the end of a free press? No. We will find a way through the woods so long as editors show humility and less arrogance."

The Observer in an editorial:  "We may have to accept that the price of press freedom inexorably involves sometimes getting things wrong – as well as some right. The question we have to ask is: if we choke that freedom away by law, and then by adding more and more law for every mistake, what freedom will there be left?"

Dan Sabbagh in the Guardian: "There is, behind the scenes, an almost comic attempt to get all the newspaper groups to sign up to some sort of statement on regulatory reform. But it would be easier to get 10 cats to sashay down Oxford Street in a straight line."

Spectator editor Fraser Nelson in a leader: "If the press agrees a new form of self-regulation, perhaps contractually binding this time, we will happily take part. But we would not sign up to anything enforced by government. If such a group is constituted we will not attend its meetings, pay its fines nor heed its menaces. We would still obey the (other) laws of the land. But to join any scheme which subordinates press to parliament would be a betrayal of what this paper has stood for since its inception in 1828."

Emily Bell on the Guardian's Comment is Free: "Leveson deals with the nefarious ways of publishing personal information; it deals with the fallout of incestuous relationships run from the heart of government; and it deals with the personal cost of people crushed by journalism-as-showbusiness. What it cannot deal with is the regulation of the press in the 21st century."

Non-Leveson Quote of the Week:

Lord Patten on what the BBC Trust conveyed to George Entwistle, as reported by the BBC:  "We are not urging you to go. But we are not urging you to stay."

[£] = paywall