Thursday, 21 October 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: From Murdoch's remade Britain in his own malevolent image to journalists vilified daily just for doing their jobs

Lord Puttnam in a speech announcing his retirement from the House of Lords: "
Mirroring the anxieties of many of those angry Brexiteers in 2016, I feel I’ve had my country of birth, and the values I believed it to represent, stolen from me. It’s worse than that, I find myself embarrassed by what, on an almost daily basis I see it becoming – my old enemy Rupert Murdoch’s dream made real. He never liked Britain, and he’s kind of won, he’s helped remake it in his own malevolent image."

Didi Tang in The Times [£]: "China will require more than 200,000 accredited journalists to take at least 90 hours of continued education each year to ensure they are “politically firm”, “professionally excellent” and toe the party line. The move, announced in a draft document from the National Press and Publication Administration and the country’s human resources ministry, is the latest attempt to tighten control over journalists."

Robert Peston talking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival on how he became obsessed with getting scoops when he was covering New Labour in the 1990s, as reported by the Sunday Times [£]:
“There were a couple of occasions around then when people told me things as friends that I put in the newspaper that I should never have done, and it actually almost cost me quite a lot personally. And I did eventually sort of grow up and wake up a bit. But news is, because of the excitement and the adrenaline, intrinsically addictive and I have a very strongly addictive personality — and a bit corrupting. Sometimes I was just too obsessed with getting the story. And that was bad.”

Government advisory notice to press: "Following the arrest of a man in Essex on Friday 15 October, the Attorney General reminds editors, publishers and social media users that for the purpose of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 (the Act), proceedings are active and the strict liability rule under the Act therefore applies. In particular, the Attorney General wishes to draw attention to the risks in publishing material, including on-line, that asserts or assumes, expressly or implicitly, the guilt of any of those arrested, or that otherwise interferes with the administration of justice in this case, for example allegations of wrongdoing of any individual arrested in relation to this matter.The Attorney General’s Office will be monitoring the coverage of these proceedings."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, on The Times investigation into police misconduct hearings:“The findings by The Times which show the level of secrecy surrounding police misconduct hearings is deeply alarming, especially in the light of the Sarah Everard case. The fact that the newspaper has had to use FOI requests to gain clarity on this issue tells its own story. The results of their investigations show that one in four hearings were held in private, that journalists were routinely blocked when they argued for open proceedings, and that almost half of 40 misconduct outcome notices relating to officers and staff in England and Wales in the past month were anonymised."

David Sassoli, the president of the European parliament, after the inaugural Daphne Caruana Galizia prize was awarded to the journalists from the Pegasus Project coordinated by the Forbidden Stories Consortium
: “Daphne Caruana Galizia’s death has brought about a resurgence of investigative journalism by colleagues committed to continuing her work. Recent examples, such as the Pandora papers, have demonstrated the unique power of journalism that is daring and adamant, particularly when carried out in the context of an international consortium. By creating transparency, investigative journalism allows voters to make informed decisions. Protecting and supporting journalists is in the vital interest of democratic societies.”

Committee to Protect Journalists reports:
"Leading press freedom organizations Free Press Unlimited, Reporters Without Bordersand the Committee to Protect Journalists launch The People’s Tribunal to indict the governments of Sri Lanka, Mexico and Syria for failing to deliver justice for the murders of Lasantha Wickremathunga, Miguel Ángel López Velasco, and Nabil Al-Sharbaji. The Tribunal, a form of grassroots justice, relies on investigations and high-quality legal analysis involving specific cases in three countries. The opening hearing will be held on 2 November in The Hague."

Marianna Spring on BBC News:
 "I'm the BBC's first specialist disinformation reporter - and I receive abusive messages on social media daily. Most are too offensive to share unedited. The trigger? My coverage of the impact of online conspiracies and fake news. I expect to be challenged and criticised - but misogynistic hate directed at me has become a very regular occurrence. Messages are laden with slurs based on gender, and references to rape, beheading and sexual acts."

Chief reporter Lee Trewhela on leaving CornwallLive after 30 years covering Cornwall: "
I have to say that one of the reasons I'm going is down to the amount of abuse and negativity journalists face on social media these days. Regional reporters live in the communities we write about, share the same concerns as the people we write about, and despite many people's opinion of CornwallLive the reporting team cares deeply and thinks long and hard about what is published. And, yes, that does mean we have to challenge sometimes."

Reach's first online safety editor Dr. Rebecca Whittington, quoted by Press Gazette: “Journalists are vilified online on a daily basis simply for doing their jobs, with types of abuse ranging from personal attacks to hate crimes. Not only does this cause harm to the victims of abuse, but it also causes harm to the audience witnessing it. It is time these issues were addressed and by leading the way and creating the position of online safety editor, Reach is taking an important step in doing just that. In my role I aim to support staff facing online abuse and harassment and I also want to address the issue externally, by working with platforms and audiences to prevent and protect.”


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