Thursday, 16 September 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: Was Andrew Neil's vision for GB News bound to fail? to Taliban will force foreign journalists out of Afghanistan

Andrew Neil on Twitter: "It’s official: I have resigned as Chairman and Lead Presenter of GB News."
Jake Kanter in The Times [£]: "Two camps are said to have emerged at the channel. On one side of the divide are those who consider themselves traditional news journalists, who joined because of the pedigree of senior presenters including Neil and [Simon] McCoy. On the other is a growing roster of populist commentators, who under the leadership of [chief executive Angelos] Frangopoulos are making the station’s agenda more like Fox News."

James Ball in the New Statesman:
 "Neil’s vision for GB News appeared to be based sincerely on that belief: the channel tried to hire local journalists to report – or at least do talking head spots – from across the country for 'out of London' perspectives. The channel hired various presenters and pundits from the BBC and mainstream outfits. There was an attempt to be a mainstream but non-left channel. The result was, frankly, boring. The gap turned out not to exist – and so an amateurish channel with appalling lighting and sound, no half-hourly bulletins and horribly under-rehearsed presenters, producers and tech, was interesting to watch only as an example of how not to produce television."

Marina Hyde in the Guardian
"You’ll recall that Neil launched GB News with a lengthy series of broadsides at the 'metropolitan mindset' and the failures of the 'London media'. Can’t argue with a lot of that. And yet, it must be said that there has simply never, ever been more 'London media' behaviour than that we have witnessed at GB News since then. Backbiting, flouncing, courtly factionalism, seemingly daily resignations, the cancellation of one of its own presenters, briefing wars, declining to come back to work from the south of France for literally months – my dear, the sheer pompous luvviedom of this station has been absolutely unparalleled."

Daniel Finkelstein in The Times [£]:
"Launching a new television station is hard, and I always thought GB News would find things tough. I was surprised they thought there were enough people wanting to watch programmes about cancel culture in the middle of the afternoon. How many viewers would be shouting through to the kitchen: 'I’ll come to dinner in a minute darling, but Dan Wootton is on. He’s just talking to Ann Widdecombe about lockdowns and I want to find out if she’s for them or against them'?"

Private Eye's Adam Mcqueen, interviewed by Press Gazette: "I keep saying to people who take photos of their favourite stories in Private Eye on the Wednesday when we come out and put them all over Twitter: this stuff’s really expensive. Every story that gets in that there’s probably six or seven that each journalist has looked into that haven’t actually come to anything, but you have to put a lot of resources into checking things out and seeing them through. In a lot of cases lawyers get involved, there have been injunctions and things that you ended up spending months and a hell of a lot of money on. And you need the resources to do that stuff. And it is much easier as a lot of publishers [have found out] just to get a load of people who’ve got opinions to come in and spout off about them and with that goes to the picture byline and the personal brand side of things."

BBC News reports:
"A complaint by a journalist over 'a complete failure' by the Police Service of Northern Ireland to properly investigate an online threat to sexually attack her baby has been upheld. Patricia Devlin, a crime reporter with the Sunday World, took the case to the Police Ombudsman last year. Ms Devlin received the threat a year ago in a direct message to her Facebook account, signed in the name of neo-Nazi group Combat 18. Police Ombudsman, Marie Anderson, said the threat made against the journalist was 'repulsive'. She added that it was 'concerning that police failed to take measures to arrest the suspect at the earliest opportunity'."

Andrew Roth in the Observer:
 "For more than a decade, the Kremlin has been engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with Russia’s independent media. Outlets with independent journalists were periodically purged by their businessmen or state owners. Those journalists found new jobs, then founded new media, and sought other means to protect their work, sources and livelihood from the threat of a new government crackdown. But in the past year, since the protests in neighbouring Belarus, the arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Vladimir Putin’s “resetting” of his presidential terms, the Kremlin is taking broader steps to bring the media and individual journalists to heel. Some think it’s possible to keep on reporting, but others see it as a death knell for the profession of journalism."

Ian Burrell in the i
 on the task of replacing Fran Unsworth at the BBC: "Being BBC director of news and current affairs is probably the most prestigious job in the British news industry, but in the age of social media it is close to becoming an impossible task. Of course, there will always be applicants for a role that comes with immense status and a £340,000 salary but, aside from that, it’s strangely unrewarding and surprisingly powerless. Much of the remit concerns making job cuts and withstanding the political controversies that result from the endless online dissection of the output of a 6,000-strong news division that serves 468m people around the world."

Jake Kanter in The Times [£]:
"There is an atmosphere of fear and loathing at the BBC as demoralised news staff fret over creeping politicisation of senior roles, job cuts and a fresh assault on the licence fee. The Times has obtained a copy of the BBC’s 2021 employee survey, which provides a snapshot of the anxiety about the future among rank-and-file staff. Only 41 per cent of employees believe the BBC will succeed over the next three years, according to the survey completed in May."

 Los Angeles Times
"Journalists from the Etilaat Roz newspaper, Nemat Naqdi, 28, a video journalist, left, and Taqi Daryabi, 22, video editor, show their wounds. They said Taliban fighters tortured and beat them while they were in custody after being arrested while reporting on a women’s rights protest in Kabul, Afghanistan." (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Anthony Bellanger, the International Federation of Journalists' general secretary, interviewed in the Guardian: “The Taliban don’t want to make too many waves right now, but they will want to take control of everything, including the foreign press in Afghanistan. And as often happens in such situations, foreign journalists will be considered agents of foreign governments.  I believe what we will see emerge is an official media – a Taliban media – and no women. All other journalists will just disappear."


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