Thursday, 31 December 2020

Media Quotes of the Week: From 2020 round-up of the journalists jailed and murdered worldwide to xenophobic headlines won't go away after Brexit

Reporters Without Borders in its round-up of journalists detained, held hostage and missing around the world:
 "The number of detained journalists is still at a historically high level. Worldwide, a total of 387 journalists were held in connection with the provision of news and information at the start of December 2020, compared with 389 at the start of December 2019. This lack of variation follows a 12% rise in 2019. Overall, the number of detained (professional and non-professional) journalists has risen 17% in the past five years (from 328 in 2015)."

Committee to Protect Journalists in its annual report revealing 274 journalists were jailed globally in 2020:
 "President Donald Trump’s harsh rhetoric throughout his term, including calling critical reports 'fake news,' gave cover to authoritarians to crack down on journalists in their own countries. Globally, 34 journalists were jailed for 'false news'."

CPJ executive director Joel Simon in a statement: “The record number of journalists imprisoned around the world is President Trump’s press freedom legacy. The incoming Biden administration must work as part of a global coalition to bring the number down.”

The International Federation of Journalists in a statement: "
The year 2020 will go down in history as the year of an unprecedented global pandemic crisis, but also as the year of the resurgence of murders of journalists and media staff around the world. With 60 murders in 2020, the macabre statistics are on the rise again compared to 2019 (49). Organised criminal cartels, extremists’ insurgencies and sectarian violence continue to strike terror among journalists, scores of who have paid the ultimate price for independent reporting in the four corners of the globe."

Ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson interviewed in The Sunday Times [£]: “There’s something called ‘editoritis.' The main symptom is that you believe yourself to be the centre of the world. That everything else revolves around you. And I definitely suffered from editoritis.”

The Sunday Times [£] in a leader: "Peter Cruddas, a spread-betting tycoon, sued The Sunday Times after our Insight team reported in 2012 that, while Tory co-treasurer under David Cameron, he had corruptly offered access to the prime minister and other senior ministers in return for donations. Although Mr Cruddas won the first round, the legal fight ended badly for him in 2015 when three appeal court judges said it had been “inappropriate, unacceptable and wrong” to offer top-level access to undercover reporters posing as potential party donors whose motives for seeking confidential meetings with Mr Cameron were explicitly commercial. That he should now become Baron Cruddas, against the advice of the House of Lords appointments commission, taints the Conservative Party."

Financial Times
editor Roula Khalaf in InPublishing
“This is the story of the media during the pandemic. If you have a subscriptions business, then your subscriptions business has done well. People want to read more so there is a real vote of confidence in the news business during the pandemic.”

Nishant Lalwani and James Deane on the BBC Media Action Insight Blog:
"The grim reality of the COVID-19 crisis means that many countries around the world may be facing a future with no independent journalism at all, precisely at a time when access to reliable information can be a matter of life and death...Earlier concerns that the pandemic might prove to be an existential threat to media are proving well founded. If this is allowed to happen, the democratic and development costs will be immeasurable. We call on international donors and policy makers to recognise the urgency of this challenge and mount a meaningful international response."

Alan Rusbridger in the Observer: "
The BBC is not perfect. It was loathed by both sides during the drawn-out agony of the Brexit referendum. Everyone knows that its funding model needs reform. But many other countries, knowing the same thing, have already moved to different kinds of funding. Only in the UK has a government chosen this moment of information chaos – with other ways of sustaining serious journalism in dire trouble – to toy with the idea of ditching the concept of news as a public service. I suspect that Boris Johnson, who spent his entire journalistic career gleefully throwing stones through greenhouse windows, has little idea of what true public service news looks like. The rest of us should worry."

Max Hastings in The Times [£]: "In the 21st century only a handful of countries can afford to indulge the luxury of nationalism and it is doubtful that we are among them. It would be nice to think that, now the deal is done, xenophobia would be banished from the headlines of name-calling newspapers and that we could once again treat our European neighbours with the respect they deserve. This is unlikely, however. Tensions will be reignited each time an EU summit makes new decisions on trade, environmental and health standards, and much else. These will perforce affect us but we shall have no power to influence them. Accusations will continue to fly that we are being 'bullied' and 'blackmailed' by Frogs, Wops and Huns. And yes, such contemptible words will be used, perhaps by the prime minister."

David Yelland on Twitter: "Here’s a tip: Place unread copies of this weekend’s ridiculous flag-waving Brexit newspapers in a sealed bag and read them this time next year. They will look utterly mad. They are wrong on almost every single aspect of Brexit reality."


  • My Media Quotes of the Year 2020 are up on InPublishing which you can read here. I've tried to capture the best media-related quotes from a year dominated by the coronavirus crisis, which while driving huge media audiences played havoc with advertising, sales revenues and jobs. As well as the coronavirus crisis the quotes cover Trump, Boris and Cummings, Harry and Meghan, magazines, newspapers, the BBC and press freedom.

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