Thursday 27 May 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: From aerial abduction of journalist is an act of 'state thuggery' to the Bashir scandal is being exploited by BBC haters

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, in a statement on the abduction of journalist Roman Protasevich who was removed from a flight and detained by the Belarusian authorities after the plane was instructed to divert to Minsk: 
"This is breath-taking behaviour and demonstrates just how far President Lukashenko will go to in order to silence journalists and those critical of his regime. This act of state thuggery cannot be allowed to go unchallenged – the international community must do more to stand up to this unacceptable behaviour from a regime set on dismantling press freedom and instilling fear in journalists in Belarus."
  • There are 29 journalists currently detained in Belarus

Boris Johnson on Twitter:
"The video of Roman Protasevich makes for deeply distressing viewing. As a journalist and a passionate believer in freedom of speech I call for his immediate release. Belarus' actions will have consequences."

Dominic Cummings at the select committee hearing on Covid claimed he had wanted to move Downing Street away from a culture of being a "press answering service" and reacting to what was in the papers every day: 
"The media realised I was trying to massively diminish their influence and they wanted to get rid of me." 

Max Hastings in The Times [£]: 
"As long as the pandemic persists, which seems likely to be many moons yet, so will the invisibility of other issues and of lesser politicians. Johnson’s licence to address the nation at will, without facing tough scrutiny from a shamefully tame media that defers to the national emergency, confers a huge advantage upon him."

Richard Pendelbury in the Daily Mail on the death of Max Mosley:
 "He used his fortune to try to erase the [News of the World] orgy story and images from internet search engines — a Sisyphean task. He also waged a bitter war against elements of the print media. In this campaign he backed draconian new laws to curb what he saw as the excesses of the Press and his opponents regarded as fundamental freedoms. His was the money — more than £500,000 — behind the private office of Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson. A Mosley family trust even donated millions to fund a new Press regulator, Impress, hoping its existence would trigger the imposition of ruinous fines against his Fleet Street critics. Not least among those critics was this newspaper, which in 2018 published a series of investigative articles showing Mosley had misled, if not lied to, the court at his privacy trial about his neo-Fascist past. Labour dropped his funding like a hot brick. Mosley once again summoned his lawyers, this time with no success. The articles were accurate in every shocking detail."

Alan Rusbridger in the Observer"This has been a bleak week for the BBC. The Bashir saga is shaming. But we can’t allow the future of the corporation to be defined by its enemies. And the prime minister would do well to approach any questions about journalistic ethics with a degree of humility."

Janice Turner in The Times [£]: "
Journalists having fainting fits about Bashir know that in his stealth, cunning and, above all, plausibility he is the quintessence of our trade. Bashir lied, forged, deceived; but such methods have exposed monsters. Journalism encompasses great integrity and deep shadiness, sometimes in the same byline. Bashir could convince Diana her closest confidantes were selling stories to newspapers only because so many already were."

The Times [£] in a leader: "Another inquiry is now needed to answer the many questions excluded by his tightly drawn terms of reference. These include the inexplicable decision by the BBC to rehire Mr Bashir in 2016 and the way in which the BBC treated whistleblowers. Only by acting with complete transparency can the BBC expect to win back public trust."

The Guardian in a leader: "An institutional reluctance to confront hard choices may indeed have been part of the problem when Mr Bashir came up with his bombshell interview in 1995 too. But the BBC is far too important for that failing to be used as an excuse to bash or trash a corporation that should be defended and cherished, and whose hallmark, as Lord Dyson says, is its high standards."

David Aaronovitch on Twitter:  "I hold no brief for Martin Bashir, but there is an industrial level revision of history going on about whether Diana 'would have given that interview' if he hadn't deceived her brother. Lord Dyson makes clear in para 1 his view that she would."

Lionel Barber on Twitter: "The issue is not whether Diana would have given the interview. It’s Bashir’s deep deception, the half-assed BBC investigation into the case, Bashir’s exoneration and later rehiring by Tony Hall. Colossal failure of editorial judgment all round now exploited by enemies of BBC."

 David Yelland on Twitter: "How dare Boris Johnson, himself fired from The Times, for making up quotes, get on his high horse on journalism ethics: Bashir is a disaster but it is being used by BBC haters including Johnson and his luddite mates...All those in glass houses, editors past and present, should pause before attacking the BBC and remember Bashir, then, was typical of our culture. The Beeb is still a national asset, a prized thing, a force for good."


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