Thursday 25 April 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From the murder of journalist Lyra McKee to UKIP candidate accuses press of being 'dirty, dirty smear merchants'

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet in a statement after freelance journalists Lyra McKee was shot dead during rioting in Northern Ireland:  “A young, vibrant life has been destroyed in a senseless act of violence. Our thoughts are with her partner, family and many friends and colleagues. A bright light has been quenched and that plunges all of us into darkness. Her death is a major loss to journalism”

International Federation of Journalists president Philippe Leruth: “We express our deep condolences to Lyra McKee’s family and relatives. Lyra's death is a real loss for press freedom in Europe and for the young generation of journalists. We urge Irish authorities to ensure a full investigation into her death.”

Padraig Reidy @mePadraigReidy on Twitter: "Remember: killing of journalists too often go unpunished. No one has ever been convicted for the murder of Martin O’Hagan, the last reporter killed in Northern Ireland."

The Belfast Telegraph in a leader: "Lyra was a regular contributor to this newspaper, writing on a diverse range of topics from political and social analysis to the acutely personal. She was an immensely gifted writer, intuitive and empathetic, qualities which stemmed from her innate kind and loving nature. In spite of her tender years, Lyra was a reporter of the old school. She was always curious and she was never the sort who would sit behind a computer screen when there was a scene she ought to be at or someone she needed to speak to in person. It will be of little consolation to her heartbroken family but she died doing a job she loved and was born to do."

The Guardian in a leader: "Ms McKee’s death has resonated so widely because of her own remarkable qualities. But its timing reinforces the powerful warning it sends. The Good Friday agreement is precious, as the visit to Stormont by a US delegation led by Nancy Pelosi this week reaffirmed. But it could not, by itself, heal Northern Ireland’s divisions. Instead, it offered a way to manage them. That a young life has been cut short should remind politicians on all sides that the agreement cannot be taken for granted, and that if the urgent task is to safeguard it, the ultimate task must be to move beyond it."

The Times [£] in a leader: "There is still an urgent need to revive devolved government. Intransigence on all sides must not be indulged. The Northern Ireland secretary has still a job to do, though few seem to remain long enough in post for anyone to remember their names, let alone their engagement. The callous killing of a young journalist should jolt London, Dublin and Belfast out of dangerous complacency."

RSF on its latest world press freedom report: "The 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) shows how hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear. The number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media. The RSF Index, which evaluates the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories every year, shows that an intense climate of fear has been triggered — one that is prejudicial to a safe reporting environment. The hostility towards journalists expressed by political leaders in many countries has incited increasingly serious and frequent acts of violence that have fuelled an unprecedented level of fear and danger for journalists."

The Times [£] in a leader: "The 2019 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by the campaigning organisation Reporters Without Borders, evaluates the state of journalism in 180 countries. Britain has risen seven places from last year but is still too low. It reflects how the international climate for journalists has become less free and more threatening. At 33rd place, Britain ranks lower than Ghana and South Africa. It is one of the least free journalistic jurisdictions in Europe. Among the reasons is a draconian threat to the financial position of newspapers that decline to join a state-backed press regulator. Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act of 2013 would require these newspapers to pay both sides’ legal costs in cases of privacy or defamation, even where their reporting is vindicated. Though ministers have undertaken to repeal the relevant section, it remains on the statute book. Its corrosive effect is to deter honest reporters from publishing their findings for fear of arbitrary and punitive financial penalties.This is not the only constraint on press freedom but it is a peculiarly iniquitous one. While born of a moment of political hostility to the press, its insidious effects still persist."

Roger Mosey in the Sunday Times Magazine [£]: "This is a BBC that has been woefully inadequate in creating space on its main television channel for the biggest story faced by the UK in generations: our relationship with the European Union. There is a tradition on BBC1 of landmark current-affairs specials for the significant national moments — from The Question of Ulster in the 1970s to the 9/11 and Iraq War programmes of the 2000s. But the crisis manifested in the past three years over Brexit has had a feeble response in peak time, aside from the occasional stream of breaking news. In a further perplexing move, the BBC News at Ten was cut back in length at the beginning of March when anyone could have spotted that it might be quite a decisive period in politics."

Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump on Twitter: "I wonder if the New York Times will apologize to me a second time, as they did after the 2016 Election. But this one will have to be a far bigger & better apology. On this one they will have to get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness-they are truly the Enemy of the People!"

UKIP MEP candidate Carl Benjamin after the press asked him about his post that he “wouldn’t even rape” Labour MP Jess Phillips, as reported by “I’m not answering your questions, I’m not apologising for anything, you dirty, dirty smear merchants.”


Thursday 18 April 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: Is Julian Assange really a journalist? to don't take Boris Johnson's column seriously says Telegraph its 'comically polemical'

Alan Rusbridger on CNN on the arrest of Julian Assange: "So is Assange really a journalist? The answer in 2019 is a complicated one. New technologies allow millions of people to commit individual acts of journalism. That may not make them "journalists" in a conventional sense, but it does raise the question of whether these journalistic acts deserve the same sort of protection as those carried out by people who have had more traditional careers in journalism. To my mind, Assange is partly a journalist. Part of what he does has involved the selection, editing, verifying and contextualizing of news material -- just as any journalist would do. But Assange is also a publisher, a political activist, a hacker, an information anarchist, a player. Yes, he believes -- sometimes -- in editing. But he also believes in dumping vast oceans of documents, unedited and unredacted, careless to the consequences. One is journalism, the other isn't."

Seamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, in a statement:"The NUJ is shocked and concerned by the actions of the authorities in relation to Julian Assange. His lawyer has confirmed he has been arrested not just for breach of bail conditions but also in relation to a US extradition request. The UK should not be acting on behalf of the Trump administration in this case. The NUJ recognises the inherent link between and importance of leaked confidential documents and journalism reporting in the public interest. It should be remembered that in April 2010 WikiLeaks released Collateral Murder, a video showing a 2007 US Apache helicopter attack upon individuals in Baghdad, more than 23 people were killed including two Reuters journalists. The manner in which Assange is treated will be of great significance to the practice of journalism."

The Times [£] in a leader: "No one should feel any sympathy for Julian Assange as he swaps the self-imposed captivity of a small room in the Ecuadorean embassy for a prison cell. The Wikileaks founder, who was arrested yesterday when Ecuador revoked his claim for asylum after seven years, was no political prisoner but a fugitive from the Swedish courts, where he was wanted on charges of sexual assault and rape. He took himself to the embassy in London in 2012 only when he had run out of options to avoid extradition. In doing so, he broke British law and denied his two Swedish accusers their right to see him face trial. Nor does Assange deserve sympathy as a self-styled champion of free speech. In its early days, Wikileaks could make some claim to be pursuing legitimate public interest journalism by providing a space for whistleblowers to expose corruption and other wrongdoing. But Assange has since crossed a line, becoming a stooge of oppressive regimes with no interest in press freedom but a strong desire to undermine western democracies, not least when he published material stolen from the Democratic National Committee believed to have been hacked by Russian intelligence services during the US presidential election of 2016."

The Guardian in a leader: "The indictment relates to the secret military and diplomatic files provided by Chelsea Manning, the army whistleblower, which unveiled shocking US abuses and shed light on corrupt and repressive governments worldwide. That Ms Manning is once again in jail, for refusing to give evidence to a secret grand jury in a WikiLeaks investigation, is a disgrace. The importance of the material, published by the Guardian, the New York Times and others, was undeniable. But subsequently we and others strongly disagreed with Mr Assange’s decision to bulk-publish unredacted documents...Mr Assange now faces up to a year in prison for skipping bail. He was wrong to do so. He entered the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced allegations of rape and molestation (which he denies), citing fears that Stockholm would hand him to the US. It would be entirely appropriate for Swedish prosecutors to reopen their investigation, as the lawyer representing one of his accusers has requested. None of this alters the dangers of agreeing to his extradition to the US."

The Sunday Times [£] reports: "Labour suspended an official accused of leaking sensitive information to this newspaper just days before it defended the role of whistleblowers following the arrest of the WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange."

Carole Cadwalladr challenging the tech giants at TED 2019: “It is not about left or right, or Leave or Remain, or Trump or not. It’s about whether it’s actually possible to have a free and fair election ever again. As it stands, I don’t think it is. And so my question to you is: Is this what you want? Is this how you want history to remember you? As the handmaidens to authoritarianism that is on the rise all across the world? You set out to connect people and you are refusing to acknowledge that the same technology is now driving us apart...we cannot let these tech companies have this unchecked power. It’s up to us: you, me and all of us. We are the ones who have to take back control.”

Reuters winning the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting: “For expertly exposing the military units and Buddhist villagers responsible for the systematic expulsion and murder of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, courageous coverage that landed its reporters in prison.”

The Independent Press Standards Organisation upholding a complaint against a Boris Johnson column in the Daily Telegraph which inaccurately claimed the public favoured a no deal Brexit: "The publication had not provided any data which supported the author’s claim either that a no-deal Brexit was the option preferred 'by some margin' over the three options listed, or that these represented '…all of the options suggested by pollsters'. Instead it had construed the polls as signalling support for a no deal, when in fact, this was the result of the publication either amalgamating several findings together, or interpreting an option beyond what was set out by the poll as being a finding in support of a no deal Brexit. This represented a failure to take care over the accuracy of the article in breach of Clause 1 (i)."

The Telegraph defending Johnson's column to Ipso: "The writer was entitled to make sweeping generalisations based on his opinions and that the complainant had misconstrued the purpose of the article; it was clearly comically polemical, and could not be reasonably read as a serious, empirical, in-depth analysis of hard factual matters."


Thursday 11 April 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From this story shows why local journalism matters to does Donald Tusk understand the British better than the Brexit press?

Impartial Reporter
deputy editor Rodney Edwards @rodneyedwards on Twitter: 
"This is why local journalism matters. Victims of child sex abuse in Fermanagh have been contacting @impartialrep almost every day since our first story broke. Finally their voices are being heard. But their abusers have never been prosecuted. Serious Qs for police and others."

Paul Caruana Galizia on Tortoise, writing about the murder of his mother, the investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta:  "I left Malta a few hours after my mother’s funeral and haven’t returned since. It is safer and easier, for me, to fight our battles against the governing Labour Party and Maltese state, who continue to block a public inquiry into our mother’s death despite a legal obligation to call one, from London. In the end, what was it all for? Everything. Her journalism was our guiding light on everything. She shaped us and our country into something better. And now that Malta has killed its Cassandra, our Daphne, it is having to face up to what she’s been trying to tell us all along."

Fraser Nelson in the Spectator: "When I became editor, I told my wife that the job was certain to last only last a few years. I thought I’d go down with Rod Liddle, that he and I would drive like Thelma and Louise over the cliff in the name of free speech. We’ve come close a few times, but stayed (just) on the right side: the issue you’re reading is my 500th as editor. Over the past ten years, I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting many readers, and their most common plea is ‘Don’t tone down Rod’. It’s just as well: I’m not sure anyone could."

Society of Editors executive director Ian Murray responds to measures announced by the government to crack down on internet harms:  "The creation of new regulations to protect the vulnerable in society as outlined by the Secretary of State should be and will be broadly welcomed by anyone who feels the digital sphere has become too lawless.But the devil is always in the detail and where the white paper moves into areas concerning the spread of misinformation - so called fake news - we should all be concerned. Who will decide what is fake news? This form of censorship in the hands of those who would shackle the press and curtail freedom of expression would be disastrous for our free society. There is no use pretending there are not politicians who wish to silence some debates who would use this as a weapon if permitted."

Guido Fawkes on the internet harms proposal: "There is also a risk that a future Corbyn govenment will use the legislation against political opponents. When you see the likes of Owen Jones being applauded for describing the Spectator, Sun, Mail, Telegraph, Express and of course Guido, as “spreading hate”, you can easily imagine the legislation being used by a Corbyn government to close down dissident media. This is a dangerous path being foolishly and short-sightedly cheered on by newspapers who think it will scupper the global platforms who are eating into their advertising revenue."

Sun on Sunday political editor David Wooding @DavidWooding on Twitter: "Commons leak inquiry. Torrent of water gushing through roof of the chamber. Unfortunately, it is pouring into the Press Gallery rather than the drips who can’t decide how to Brexit. Stop Press: Sitting suspended."

Jeremy Hunt in the Sun: "Everyone has an interest in allowing journalists to do their jobs because countries with a free media are always better governed. If you look up the ten least corrupt nations in the world, as ranked by Transparency International last year, seven also appear in the top ten of the Press Freedom Index. It is not hard to see why. Powerful people will be less likely to abuse their positions if there is a real risk of being found out. Newspapers do make mistakes and journalists are only human. But none of us would wish to live in a nation where the media is gagged. Britain’s job is to take that message to the world, and I will do everything possible to help journalists to work in safety."

Independent Press Standards Orgaisation rejecting a complaint by the NUJ against the Newsquest-owned Cumberland News over a report of a strike by its members last December: "The Code does not include a requirement for balance. However, there may be certain circumstances where a publication’s presentation of a particular subject, for example, through its decision to include certain pieces of information and omit others, may render the article misleading. This was not such a case."

Norman Giller on the Sports Journalists' Association website on reporting from the new Spurs stadium: "Today’s journalists are spoon-fed background information and match details, but the challenge is just the same as ‘in our day’ to find the right words at the right time when that first whistle blows. But because they send their words into the ether they do not have to clear the hurdles that faced us, with copy takers saying: 'Are you staff …?' 'How d’you spell your name …?' 'Is there much more of this …?' 'I can’t hear you because of the crowd in the background …'I'm changing my typewriter ribbon, you’ll have to wait …' "

Peter Sands @petersands55 on Twitter: "The only people in the UK truly enjoying the Brexit chaos are the @MetroUKNews front page subs."

David Yelland on Twitter: "Donald Tusk understands the British at this moment better than my successor currently editing The Sun. His intel and his instincts have outmanoeuvred the Brexit press."

Thursday 4 April 2019

Quotes of the Week: From horrendous to see Brexiteers threatening journalists to publishers should drop corporate jargon on cuts and closures

C4 News head of communications Hayley Barlow @Hayley_Barlow on Twitter after pro-Brexit protesters abused its journalists: "Relieved to report that our Channel 4 News crew were unharmed tonight, and whilst their safety remains our priority, they will not be intimidated or deterred from doing their jobs on what is another momentous day on this ongoing Brexit crisis."
Jeremy Bowen @BowenBBC on Twitter: "I’ve seen this kind of thuggish intimidation in nasty places around the world. Horrendous to see it in the UK."
Robert Peston @Peston on Twitter: "Big shout of “you’re a wan**r Peston” after my live broadcast outside parliament. Great to get the recognition I deserve."

Krishnan Guru-Murthy‏ @krishgm on Twitter: "A male MP we asked to come on for this discussion about the abusive language and behaviour around Brexit told our producer to get stuffed and shove the programme up his ****. There have always been a few thickies in parliament but they were generally polite. No more."

Janice Turner in her interview with Laura Kuenssberg in The Times [£]: "Kuenssberg was an early, passionate champion of social media as a way to broaden public engagement, arguing to the BBC board of directors in 2008 that journalists should be allowed to be on Twitter. Does she feel, now her Twitter feed brims with vicious, sometimes obscene messages, that she opened a Pandora’s box? 'I’m disappointed that alongside opening up the conversation, it has provided a megaphone for, you know …' She shrugs. Does she read the comments? 'I stopped long ago. It’s like a bully will go and pull someone’s pigtails in order to make them cry and then be satisfied with that. I don’t have a thick skin, just other priorities'.”

Roy Greenslade in the Guardian on the death of Brian MacArthur: "It is irritating that Brian MacArthur’s obituaries have headlined his connection to the Sunday Times’s ill-fated serialisation of the faked Hitler Diaries in 1983. He was an innocent in the affair, caught between a historian who, having verified the diaries as genuine, changed his mind after they had gone to press, and a proprietor, Rupert Murdoch, who was willing to publish and be damned. MacArthur should be remembered instead for being the founding editor of a newspaper, Today, that helped to transform the industry by using computer technology. He should also be recognised for his wisdom as a senior executive at several papers, for mentoring young journalists and for writing, for 18 years, one of the most authoritative and balanced media columns."

Lionel Barber @lionelbarber on Twitter: "The Financial Times has passed the milestone of 1m readers - one year ahead of schedule. Congratulations and thanks to my brilliant journalist colleagues."

Owen Jones in the Guardian: "There are many good journalists working in Britain. But too many of those working in the British press act as hatemongers who play with matches then express horror as the flames reach ever higher, while broadcasters such as the BBC have given airtime to far-right thugs such as Tommy Robinson. With the far right globally in the ascendancy – from Italy to Brazil – the role of the media must be urgently debated. Mainstream media outlets and politicians are directly assisting the rise of the far right. The silence must end, preferably before more die."

Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump on Twitter:"The Fake News Media is going Crazy! They are suffering a major “breakdown,” have ZERO credibility or respect, & must be thinking about going legit. I have learned to live with Fake News, which has never been more corrupt than it is right now. Someday, I will tell you the secret!"

Steve Dyson in InPublishing on the convoluted statements by publishers announcing job cuts and title closures in the regional press: "Take a look at any publisher’s recent statement about job cuts or title closures, and you’ll quickly spot your least favourite chunks of misleading jargon or gobbledygook. It’s time publishers – in the business of clear communications – learned from these mistakes."

Alan Rusbridger @arusbridger on Twitter:  " 'Agile' has become one of those corporate words that Orwell would have skewered. This JPI statement is about closing newsrooms & asking journalists to work from home. Fine, but find a better word than 'agile'."