Thursday, 27 April 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From TV debate dodging party leaders to why Julian Assange should not be locked up for leaking secrets

Paul Waugh on the HuffPost: "Jeremy Corbyn will not take part in TV debates that do not include Theresa May, Labour sources have revealed. The Labour leader believes that the general election is a choice between two alternative Prime Ministers and won’t contribute to an event which featured only fellow opposition leaders."

Nick Cohen in the Observer: "The notion that democratic politicians must submit themselves to questioning from press and public is dying in Britain. We have a generation of paranoid leaders, delivered to the electorate in packages stuffed with cotton wool."

Jeremy Corbyn, reported by BBC News: "Much of the media and Establishment are saying this election is a foregone conclusion. They think there are rules in politics, which if you don't follow by doffing your cap to powerful people, accepting that things can't really change, then you can't win. But of course those people don't want us to win. Because when we win, it's the people, not the powerful, who win...And in a sense, the establishment and their followers in the media are quite right. I don’t play by their rules. And if a Labour Government is elected on 8 June, then we won’t play by their rules either."

Matt Zarb-Cousin in the Guardian: "Jeremy Corbyn will pitch himself as an insurgent candidate, giving him the space to frame a hostile media as being a part of the establishment, desperate to maintain the status quo."

The Times [£] in a leader: "Mr Corbyn’s message in the first week of the general election campaign has compounded his unsuitability for public office. His opening speech was self-pitying and embittered rather than generous and outward-looking. Denouncing the media and what he vaguely termed the establishment, he protested: 'They think there are rules in politics, which if you don’t follow by doffing your cap to powerful people, accepting that things can’t really change, then you can’t win.' Such are the evasions of a man who will blame emerging electoral catastrophe on anyone and anything but himself. Mr Corbyn has dragged his party down not because he refuses to play by the rules but because he is uninterested in what the voters think."

Reporters Without Borders reports UK dropping down to 40th in the World Press Freedom Index for 2017: "A heavy-handed approach towards the press - often in the name of national security - has resulted in the UK slipping down the World Press Freedom Index. Parliament adopted the most extreme surveillance legislation in UK history, the Investigatory Powers Act, with insufficient protection mechanisms for whistleblowers, journalists, and their sources, posing a serious threat to investigative journalism...Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 remains cause for concern - in particular, the law's punitive cost-shifting measure that could hold publishers liable for the costs of all claims made against them, regardless of merit."

Art Cullen joint-owner of the Storm Lake Times, the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing after taking on powerful agricultural interests over pollution, as reported by MailOnline: "We're here to challenge people's assumptions and I think that's what every good newspaper should do."

Sun apology for Kelvin MacKenzie column: "On April 14 we published a piece in the Kelvin MacKenzie column about footballer Ross Barkley which made unfavourable comparisons between Mr Barkley and a gorilla. At the time of publication, the newspaper was unaware of Mr Barkley's heritage and there was never any slur intended. As soon as his background was drawn to our attention, the article was removed from online.We have been contacted by lawyers on behalf of Ross Barkley, who has made a formal complaint about the piece. The Sun has apologised for the offence caused by the piece. We would like to take this opportunity to apologise personally to Ross Barkley."

Trevor Timm in the Guardian on moves to arrest Julian Assange: "In an unprecedented and dangerous move that threatens the press freedom rights of all journalists, the US Justice Department has indicated it is preparing to charge WikiLeaks with a crime and may attempt to arrest its founder Julian Assange...Whether you like or dislike WikiLeaks – especially if you dislike them – it’s important to understand just how dangerous this potential prosecution is to the future of journalism in the United States. Newspapers publish classified information all the time, and any prosecution of WikiLeaks puts journalists of all stripes at risk of a similar fate. Even WikiLeaks’ harshest critics need to denounce this potential move as a grave threat to the first amendment."

Hugo Rifkind in The Times [£]: "Assange is both a brilliant journalist and a terrible one; brilliant for what he reveals, and terrible in his utter lack of ownership of the consequences of his revelations. He should be reviled for this, and increasingly he is, but he cannot be locked up for it. If he is, that would have grave implications for any media outlet, this one included, and I could stand to hear a little more alarm about the prospect. Even a free society has secrets, and even a free society is entitled to protect them. Once they are out, though, you don’t shoot the messenger. Even if he’s horrible."


No comments: