Thursday, 4 December 2014

Media Quotes of the Week: From police and press at war to dictator's son complains about obituary

Roy Greeenslade in the Guardian on the police and the press: "Not speaking to journalists is very different, however, from treating journalists as criminals or using their private phone conversations as ways of investigating crime. As many reporters have pointed out, the result will be to scare off whistleblowers. Who will dare to speak to journalists who cannot ensure the confidentiality of their calls and emails? Stories that should be told will not see the light of day. In effect, therefore, the war the police have launched on journalists is really a war on the public’s right to know."

Times journalist Andrew Norfolk after being named British Journalist of the Year, quoted by Press Gazette“Senior officers you once had a relationship with based on what you thought was mutual trust and respect suddenly too scared to speak to you, or perhaps it’s not that, they’ve just got so much on, the poor dears: planning your arrest, wading through your phone records, I think it’s 1,700 phones from my company alone. Cheers for that, Vodafone, by the way.”

Andrew Norfolk looking back at his days on the Yorkshire Post, as quoted by HoldTheFrontPage: "The Yorkshire Post's staffing levels are a skeletal shadow of those days.”

Tim Crook @libertarianspir on Twitter: "Why haven't journalism bodies been demonstrating outside the courtrooms where working journalists face prosecution for doing their job?"

Nick Cohen in The Observer: "Friends who helped break the Snowden revelations are close to despair. The British, who survived the First and Second World Wars, the cold war and IRA bombs appear willing to tear up their civil liberties because of Islamist murderers. The electorate greeted the Guardian’s exposé of mass surveillance with indifference. Neither Labour nor the Tories feels public pressure to reform the secret state."

Nick Cohen in Standpoint: "When James Harding was Editor of The Times he was a decent man who made some bad journalistic decisions. Now he has moved on to head BBC News he is still making bad journalistic decisions and his sense of decency appears to have deserted him."

George Osborne on BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I would have thought the BBC would have learned from the last four years that its totally hyperbolic coverage of spending cuts has not been matched by what has actually happened."

Daniel Finkelstein in The Times [£]: "I used to think (I feel a little ashamed about this now) that my colleagues in the press were spending too much time chronicling the disputes between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Now I think perhaps we didn’t spend enough time on it."

Kevin Maguire ‏@Kevin_Maguire on Twitter: "The Sun's Clodagh Hartley was prosecuted (not guilty) over Budget leaks. Meanwhile Treasury Ministers & staff leak like sieves."

Early day motion 585: CLOSURE OF LOCAL NEWSPAPERS:"That this House regrets the latest announcement from Trinity Mirror newspapers that approximately 50 editorial and non-editorial jobs will be lost as seven newspapers in the south of England, including the Harrow Observer, Reading Post and Surrey Herald, are to be closed; notes that the proposals will mean that the county of Berkshire will be served by a digital-only model; further notes that the latest closures come on top of the closure of 150 local newspaper titles since the financial crisis of 2008, with many more reducing the frequency of publication or the range of locally-specific news coverage; is concerned about the loss of such assets to local communities and the important democratic function they serve in reporting on public life including local and national election campaigning; welcomes the recent cross-party stakeholder seminar organised by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to consider policy responses; and joins the National Union of Journalists in calling for a short, sharp cross-party and inter-departmental government inquiry into securing a future for the industry, in order to protect the public interest and defend jobs in quality local journalism."

Hussein Amin from Kampala complains to the Guardian: “Allow me to raise my displeasure at a Guardian obituary about my father, Idi Amin.”

The Guardian responds by stating the obituary was supported by all the major sources the paper consulted and said it would not be revising it online, adding: "Perhaps the definitive view is that of Amnesty International, as set out in a report in June 1978.Amnesty International’s main concerns are as follows:
1) the overthrow of the rule of law;
2) the extensive practice of murder by government security officers, which often reaches massacre proportions;
3) the institutionalised use of torture;
4) the denial of fundamental human rights guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
5) the regime’s constant disregard for the extreme concern expressed by international opinion and international organisations such as the United Nations, which results in the impression that gross human rights violations may be committed with impunity.”


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