Thursday, 6 July 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From mainstream media led legal fight over Grenfell fire council meeting to how The Times got Jagger out of jail

Pic: PA

Court order obtained by Guardian, Times, PA, Sky, Associated Newspapers and the FT
"The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is restrained from excluding accredited members of the press from a Council meeting to discuss the Grenfell tower fire."

Kensington and Chelsea Council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown, who later resigned, cancels the meeting, quoted by BuzzFeedNews: "I'm advised that if there are others present that I cannot have an open discussion ... I'm told that the press are here because of legal intervention, and that therefore means that we can't have the discussion that we intended to have, because that will prejudice the public inquiry."

Jane Merrick in the I : "What the incident at Kensington and Chelsea shows is that the robust free press is alive and well. For all the criticism of the “MSM”, most “mainstream” journalists have had proper training – including shorthand, public affairs and media law. One of the things we are taught in that training is the importance of access to council meetings... What happened last week was properly trained journalists defended something as basic and essential as the right to report on a council meeting and this was upheld by the law, and for any of us who cares about a free press, that is a cause for optimism."

The Society of Editors in a statement: “The decision by the council to attempt to hold the meeting behind closed doors in the first place was met with astonishment and rightly resulted in numerous media organisations launching a legal challenge to grant them access. The fact that upon being ordered by a judge to allow reporters to attend, the council leader then took the decision to halt the meeting is truly shocking. Not only do journalists have a legal right, as recognised by the judge, to attend public meetings of local authorities, there is a huge public interest in the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the media has a vital role to play in keeping the public informed."

The Times [£] in a leader: "Councillors and courts used to be accustomed to transparency. For some, it is now alien. There are signs that the tide is starting to turn. Three Dorset newspapers have returned to print decades after the last copy was sold. The Christchurch Times, Bournemouth Herald and Poole Herald all go back into circulation this year. Meanwhile Sir Ray Tindle, whose company owns more than 200 local newspapers, has found that there is still profit in titles focused on small areas. These are promising developments, worthy of support. It is welcome, for instance, that a change in the law in force from today will mean that anyone can inspect councils’ financial records in person, regardless of whether they live in the borough. That will open up more channels of accountability to the public, via the press. Recent events in Kensington show how sorely that is needed. From the Palace of Westminster to a planning committee meeting, no politician should be able to govern as if no one is watching."

An Elysée official to Le Monde on why President Macron will not be giving the traditional Bastille Day tv interview, as reported by the Telegraph, because his:  "Complex thought process lends itself badly to the game of question-and-answer with journalists”

New York Times' sub editors hit back at management plans to halve their numbers, as reported by Poynter : "We feel more respected by our readers than we do by you. We are living in a strange time when routine copy-editing duties such as fact checking, reviewing sources, correcting misleading or inaccurate information, clarifying language and, yes, fixing spelling and grammar mistakes in news covfefe are suddenly matters of public discourse. As those in power declare war against the news media, as deliberately false or lackadaisical reportage finds its way into social media feeds, readers are flocking to our defense. They are sending us pizza. And they are signing up for Times subscriptions in record numbers because they understand that we go to great lengths to ensure quality and, most important, truth."

Hugo Rifkind in The Times [£]: "As part of the bubbling feud between seven Arab nations and Qatar, the group, led by Saudi Arabia, are demanding the closure of the Qatari-run TV network Al Jazeera. Grandiose as it might sound, this could be the greatest assault on press freedom in 50 years...Where is the western political outrage about Al Jazeera? It should be deafening but I am not hearing it. Jeremy Corbyn mentioned the fight, albeit only while being interviewed by Al Jazeera, but he cuts a lonely figure. A free press is a cornerstone of western liberalism yet the defence of it has suddenly fallen out of fashion."

New York Daily News on Trump's tweets
Donald Trump, quoted by the Guardian, giving a speech in Washington: “The fake media is trying to silence us, but we will not let them. The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House. But I’m president, and they’re not.”

Mick Jagger, quoted in The Times [£] about the paper's famous editorial, written 50 years ago, headlined "Who Breaks A Butterfly On A Wheel" and which criticised the prison sentence given to the Rolling Stone for possessing four amphetamine tablets:  “What did it mean to me personally? That editorial got me out jail. One day it dropped, and the next thing I was out.”

 [£] = paywall

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