Sunday, 30 November 2008
The article reported the claim by Ron Cosgrove, the former butler's brother-in-law, that Burrell had once revealed to him in a pub that he had had sex with the Princess. The PCC said the NoW should have published Burrell's denial to the allegations. The paper claimed it had other sources to support the story. The complaint was upheld on the grounds that it breached the editors' code of practice on accuracy. You can read the full adjudication on the PCC website.
Grey continues: "There are evening newspapers out there actually running at a loss in bad weeks. Weeklies are faring marginally better, but only because of a lower cost-base propping up a diminishing cover-price revenue. The time is clearly coming when when we shall lose small dailies, either converted into weeklies like the Bath Chronicle or into complete extinction."
His answer to the crisis in the regional press is a return to local ownership. Grey asks:"Why can't the big groups sell off their failing titles to people who would actually love and nurture them?"
Saturday, 29 November 2008
Newspaper journalists and publishers must be asking: "Are we on the list?" - as the industry faces wide scale editorial redundancies, with more than 100 announced last Thursday. In what is billed as "his first newspaper interview since returning to the cabinet", the business secretary told Wintour he planned a more interventionist policy for industry. Intriguingly, it was Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger who first raised the possibility of Government intervention being required to save regional newspapers which are facing unprecedented turbulence in the economic downturn and competition for ad revenues and readers from the internet.
In London today the NUJ is holding a crisis jobs summit of reps from regional newspaper groups across the country. The union wants to draw up a co-ordinated response to editorial cuts it claims will seriously damage the quality of journalism in regional newspapers.
Friday, 28 November 2008
"If you call the voicemail number your speech is converted to text and SMS'd to Guido's mobile phone. Your voice is then erased. If you fax a document to Guido it is converted into an image file and emailed to Guido, if it is going to be used all identifiers are digitally removed, often by converting the fax image to clean text using optical character recognition software. If you want to send an untraceable encrypted email, Guido recommends using Hushmail."
This might be useful advice for any journalists working within the Thames Valley Police area (see post below).
Murrer was accused of encouraging a police officer to leak confidential information but she, and the officer, were cleared after a judge ruled that Thames Valley Police had no right to bug their conversation. NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said today: “This judgment sends a clear message to the authorities: they must recognise the importance of free and open journalism. Hard questions must now be asked of the police and CPS as to why these costly proceedings were allowed to get so far.”
Sadly, Press Gazette which has championed Sally Murrer's case, reports here today: "She feels so psychologically scarred by the episode that she now questions whether she will be able to work as a journalist again." People should be as angry about this as they are about the arrest of Damian Green. It is an absolute disgrace.
Under an agreement signed today, Independent Newspaper titles will have their own dedicated office space and will share some back office services at Associated, which publishes the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday, Evening Standard, Metro and London Lite.
The two groups’ editorial, management and commercial operations will remain separate. The Independent and Independent on Sunday will remain under the full ownership of INM. The move will take place at the end of January 2009. It follows last week’s announcement of a major editorial restructuring of The Independent which will deliver annual cost efficiencies of around £10 million. The new shared service agreement with Associated will deliver additional savings. Staff have been told that the chance to share office space and exploring sharing back-office services will help safeguard the future of The Independent and Independent on Sunday. Independent managing director Simon Kelner was on the Mail on Sunday and knows the Associated headquarters in Kensington well.
An emergency meeting of NUJ reps from across the regional press is to be held in London tomorrow as the jobs crisis in the industry escalates with 100 editorial posts axed in one day. Yesterday, a total of 59 redundancies were announced across Trinity Mirror’s north west division, which includes 43 jobs at the company’s Liverpool titles and eight from north Wales. Telegraph Media Group has also announced plans to make cuts, which could lead to 50 jobs going and the Cumbria-based CN Group said yesterday that 30 jobs were being cut. The NUJ says the aim of Saturday's meeting is to co-ordinate a campaign against the job cuts.
According to the NUJ, managers have said proposals for job cuts will be revealed to journalists on the Telegraph & Argus, Keighley News, Craven Herald, Ilkley Gazette and Wharfedale Observer. NUJ Bradford FoC Bob Smith said: "First, managers told staff they would get no extra pay...then, they dropped the jobs bombshell, saying the editorial department would be cut by ten per cent."
The NUJ claims there was a "David Brent moment" when group editor Perry Austin-Clarke revealed he had been offered a pay rise for taking on extra responsibility following the departure from the company of the Newsquest Bradford managing director Charlie Birrell.
Thursday, 27 November 2008
He writes: "The argument that local BBC video will depress commercial activity could be turned on its head: the presence of the BBC in many areas covered by local newspaper monopolies may be just what they need to galvanise them out of complacency. I come into contact with local papers in London and Herefordshire. In London my local paper covering Paddington, Marylebone and Pimlico last had a video on its website more than three weeks ago. In the country example, there are two papers in neighbouring country towns owned by the same company. I can't find any videos at all. If I owned them, I would like to keep the BBC out too."
From today's Guardian by Alexandra Topping under the headline: Trouble in lap-land as Santa loses job
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
That is little comfort for all the local journalists being made redundant who would love to work for the BBC. But it still seems amazing that the BBC could create 200 new local journalists' jobs in the middle of the worst recession in regional newspaper history. It has reached the stage where Hold The Front Page reports today that two editors and a managing director have been made redundant by Newsquest in York and are having to compete for one new post replacing their jobs!
I remember in the early days of the internet being at a conference at City University when an American asked the man who had set up the BBC's web operation what his business model was. What he wanted to know was what the BBC's profit and loss projections were. The BBC man replied "I was just told to create the best website I could." It's a different world.
It was revealed yesterday that civil rights group Liberty had written to talkSPORT bosses urging Gaunt's reinstatement. This was despite the fact that Gaunt, in one of his Sun columns, had described Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti as the “most dangerous woman in Britain.” Gaunt, sacked for calling a local councillor "a Nazi", claims talkSPORT chief executive Scott Taunton is sending out a standard email to his supporters, stating: "Following a thorough internal investigation into events surrounding Mr Gaunt`s interview with Redbridge councillor Michael Stark on 7th November, he was found to be in breach of a significant number of obligations he made in a signed agreement with the station. I have, of course, set out each of these in a letter to Jon. As you are no doubt aware, Jon has stated his intention to take legal action over the matter and I am therefore unable to comment further to you at this stage."
Given, Gaunt's forthright right wing views he is attracting an unlikley alliance of liberal supporters which include Guardian columnist Mark Lawson. "He is nowhere near as right wing in real life as his on air persona would suggest," one of his supporters tells me.
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
PaidContent:UK, whose parent company is a subsidiary of the Guardian group, reports here today that Guardian Media Group is considering starting news websites to serve local communities. Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger is quoted by former Press Gazette staffer Patrick Smith as saying: "There’s plainly an interesting opportunity there… if the existing players don’t manage it.” PaidContent:UK was following up an earlier story from North West media website How-Do which claimed GMG was researching a Guardian-branded “Guardian Cities” project to “connect you with your local community, cover local issues and provide you with information that was highly relevant to your area”. According to How-Do, GMG is looking at launching a website to cover the whole of Manchester.
Rusbridger has suggested ailing regional newspapers might need Government cash. He said of the blocked BBC plans to beef up its local websites with video reports: “I’m sure some forms of local news coverage will replace it, whether it’s the current (print) players because they’re burdened down with debt, or not… "
That's not going to leave the victorious regional publishers (outside GMG) very happy.
In a letter sent to talkSPORT on behalf of Gaunt, the Liberty director said: “…As someone who has been on the receiving end of Jon Gaunt’s blunt polemic in print and on the radio, I believe that the airwaves of a great democracy would be the poorer for his absence. I urge you to reinstate Mr Gaunt’s programme without delay and have offered him support in the unlikely and unfortunate event that recourse to the Human Rights Act proves necessary.”
Gaunt, also a Sun columnist, is known for his right-wing views. He called Shami Chakrabarti the “most dangerous woman in Britain,” in his column in the Sun newspaper on June 19 2007 and has often voiced his opposition to the Human Rights Act. He told The Independent on Saturday he was the "antidote to the lefty consensus". Gaunt has already won support from another unlikely source, Mark Lawson in The Guardian. You can read the full text of Liberty's letter to talkSPORT here. Gaunt claims on his website Gaunty.com that 15,000 supporters have called for his reinstatement.
• Most people were getting their news and information in a variety of different ways and from different places in the course of a day or a week
• Researchers described each person as having a "news ecosystem", where an individual might read several papers, hear news on the radio, look at various websites and/or TV channels for news
• The habits of the modern news consumer were described as "increasingly eclectic and multiplatform"
• As for mobiles, people were typically using them for headlines, major stories and areas of specific interest
Herrmann says: "As mobile devices get smarter and connectivity better it seems reasonable to expect that people will increasingly be using them to do some of the things they already do on a desktop PC... For the BBC's mobile services overall, there are currently about 3.2m UK users a month, and this has grown by 25 per cent over the past year. But that number is still very small compared with those accessing the BBC website overall (22m unique users per week)."
The BBC has just launched a campaign to publicise how to get the BBC News website on a mobile phone.
Monday, 24 November 2008
Surprisingly, given their divergent political views, Dear's blog praises Jon Gaunt's column in The Sun about the BNP on Friday. I also hear that Gaunt has been getting some advice about his sacking from talkSPORT, for calling a councillor a "Nazi", from NUJ communications officer Miles Barter. "Gaunty" and Miles used to work together at BBC Radio Coventry. The advice is being given as a friend rather than in an official union capacity. Gaunt is gaining support from some unlikely sources like Mark Lawson in The Guardian. Whatever next ? Will the right-wing shock jock be getting the backing of Amnesty, Liberty or even Matthew Norman?
Shuttleboy: "I am now really looking forward to seeing the newspaper groups invest in lots of new online journalists jobs. They will do won't they? They won't simply rest on their laurels and continue cutting back on editorial money to protect their bottom line will they? We haven't just seen 300-plus new journalists jobs blown away for nothing have we?"
Simon:"The newspaper lobby's argument has been that this would stifle their own online innovation and investment. The proof of the pudding will now be in the eating. If we still see jobs going, budgets slashed and weak, half hearted stabs at online coverage then that argument will be revealed as being nothing but profit driven humbug."
Douglas:" It's a victory for newspaper owners who want to keep their papers going, but problematic for journalists who will still potentially find themselves out of a job."
RichardB:"I'm really glad Trinity Mirror boss Sly Bailey will now be able to practice what she preaches and "continue to invest" in the regional press. Her recent decision to close 44 local titles, axe 1,200 jobs and freeze every one's pay rise next year is simply inspired - the epitome of investment. Serious competition from someone like the BBC is the strategically aimed boot this industry needs. Newspaper bosses' opposition has nothing to do with quality and everything to do with share prices, personal bonuses and utter greed."
hacked off :"It's a shame. Some healthy competition would have forced newspaper companies to properly invest in video and other online coverage. As it is, they'll continue cutting staff and expecting their dwindling news teams to somehow deliver hours of video."
Des:"This could be a Pyrrhic victory for the regional press, they'll now spend valuable resources spending money on websites which one man and his dog will view."
Sunday, 23 November 2008
Saturday, 22 November 2008
Moore, writing in the Telegraph 'The BBC Was Too Scared To Sack Ross' , says he will donate the £139.50 cost of renewing his licence to Help the Aged. He notes that £139.50 represents just ".002325 per cent of Ross's BBC salary". Fellow Telegraph columnist Simon Heffer backs Moore's campaign but confesses he won't be joining him in jail. "The BBC Trust clearly does not grasp the level of public anger, whatever it may say. I don't blame Charles Moore for leading the campaign to withhold the licence fee in response to this social atrocity. Were it not that I think Radio 3 alone is worth the fee, I should happily share a cell with him," Heffer says in the Telegraph today.
Friday, 21 November 2008
Update: The NUJ members voted to ballot on industrial action and say they are totally opposed to compulsory redundancies.
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “This decision is a missed opportunity to improve local news for communities around the country. Local papers are closing and job cuts mean thousands of journalists don’t have the time to do their jobs properly anymore. ITV is withdrawing from its regional and local news commitments. Against a significant decline in local journalism, here was an opportunity to take a small step in the opposite direction by actually enhancing local news provision.
"The BBC made commitments to invest in local and regional news services. We expect the corporation to stick to its promises and ensure that other news services now benefit from this investment. Newspaper employers have spent years taking huge profits out of local media whilst cutting jobs. Now they have helped stop new jobs being created because they said such competition would stifle their investment.
“Now is the time for them to put their money where their mouth is and invest more in local journalism - in jobs, in training and in resources for hard-pressed newsrooms.”
But another important factor in stopping the plan was the ill judged comments on the state of the regional press by Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons made at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch on 15 October, first reported by Paul McNally in Press Gazette. Lyons infuriated local newspaper publishers by stating: "There's nobody who can be satisfied with the quality of local news in most parts of the United Kingdom...The local press has nothing like the strength that it once had. It's not the same proposition that it was 15 years ago."
These comments left Lyons open to claims he had already pre-judged the issue and was biased. The NS threatened a legal challenge and newspaper executives like Trinity Mirror boss Sly Bailey slammed the Trust chairman. The remarks helped galvanise the campaign to stop the BBC which gained high profile support from the likes of Tory leader David Cameron. I am sure the top four regional newspaper publishers will show their thanks by lifting their ban on advertising in Press Gazette. The magazine's editor Dominic Ponsford reveals today in a comment on his blog that the Trust tried to make Press Gazette retract the quotes but it had them on tape.
Lyons said today the Trust recognised the negative impact that the local video proposition could have on commercial media services which are valued by the public and are already under pressure. "Our decision to refuse permission for local video means that local newspapers and other commercial media can invest in their online services in the knowledge that the BBC does not intend to make this new intervention in the market."
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Austin Mitchell MP, chair of the group, said: ‘The answer to bad trading conditions isn't to reduce the quality of newspapers by firing journalists or cutting pay. Trinity Mirror has already axed 1,200 jobs. Enough is enough. Stop the rot and boost the quality. Don't attack the journalists."
Jeremy Corbyn MP, a member of the group, added: "Journalists at their best are the unsung heroes of democracy. Properly paid and effective local journalists are the life blood of local democracy and information provision." The Corbyn "democracy" argument might have some sway with MPs who are already concerned about the demise of ITV regional news and know the collapse of the regional and local press would give them much reduced media contact with the electorate. Maybe Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger's idea that there may have to be state subsidies for regional newspaper will win some support among MPs.
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Ashok Kumar, has tabled an Early Day Motion asking Trinity Mirror to think again about proposals to close district offices and cut editorial staff at the Middlesbrough-based Teesside Evening Gazette. The MP said: "The staff based in the district offices are simply the eyes and ears of the paper in areas where there is often a lot of news generated. These closures would mean that local news may end up unreported, and which in turn would mean a blander paper, and one that could lose readership as a result."
The EDM states: "That this House is concerned by the proposal of the Teesside Evening Gazette, as administered by the Trinity Mirror Group, to shut their offices in Redcar, Stockton and Guisborough; opposes the proposal to make a number of editorial staff redundant; notes that this will result in many parts of Teesside being under-represented in the media and could therefore cause a decline in local news coverage in the area; and requests the Trinity Mirror Group to reconsider its decision." The severe problems facing regional newspaper publishers were underlined today when Northcliffe Media announced profits were down 32 per cent and pledged to make "significant" savings in 2009.
Expect more action from MPs particularly if, as predicted by Roy Greenslade today, regional newspapers will close because of the financial crisis.
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Dear, writing on his blog said: "Like thousands of other trade union and anti-racist activists I'm busy scouring through the BNP membership list which has been published (and is on wikileaks) this morning. I've had neo-nazis threaten me at home, publish my details on Redwatch, the right-wing website designed to target and intimidate journalists and trade unionists, and was once physically assaulted by them and had to go to hospital. The BNP have staged demonstrations outside the NUJ's head office and have issued threats to dozens of our members - particularly in Yorkshire. How sickening to hear Nick Griffin on Five Live this morning say he would use the Human Rights Act to protect privacy when he stands for abolishing the act. Hypocrite."
Professor Adrian Monck, head of journalism at City University, has also been a victim of the BNP. Writing on his blog today, he said: "The BNP once posted my email address on their website. I got 400 emails of varying degrees of unpleasantness...Now the BNP says it isn’t a racist, thuggish party, but I’m certainly glad they didn’t know where I lived. And I’m very glad I now know where they live. But here’s my challenge - who’ll be first to mash up the data and produce a map of the membership?"
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Schlesinger, speaking at the launch of a new book, 'International News Reporting: Frontiers and Deadlines' by John Owen and Heather Purdey, said there was "an insatiable appetite for news about the world, a desire and a market for news." He told the audience at the Cass Business School, London, that quality would win out. " Journalism was always a hard profession to get into. If you are really good you can find a niche." Reuters journalist Peter Apps, a fellow panelist looking at the future of international news reporting, agreed there was "still a huge demand for hard information. The internet is fuelled by it," but asked: "the demand is there but are people going to pay for it?" Schlesinger said that Reuters had 2,564 staff around the world, more than it had ever had in its history. And news about the credit crisis had meant demand for entertainment stories about celebrities, like Paris Hilton and Madonna, as well as sport had dropped off.
But before people get too overcome with comradely nostalgia it is important to remember the downsides. Going on strike in the middle of a harsh winter and over Christmas was extremely tough on the membership... it was bloody freezing.
The strike proved that without printers backing the journalists, newspapers could still come out using Press Association copy for nearly two months despite having large numbers of their editorial staff in danger of hypothermia on the picket lines outside.
NUJ members returned to work without being able to secure the reinstatement of members sacked on the Nottingham Evening Post who had backed the dispute, even though the Post was not covered by the NS agreement.
It led to the end of a national pay agreement with the NS which had at least set minimum rates for regional newspapers.
Finally, despite that show of militancy, rates of pay on regional newspapers are still dreadful.
Monday, 17 November 2008
Friday, 14 November 2008
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear in his blog today welcomes the Press Gazette story but says of the estimate of job cuts: "That seriously underplays the problem which is in large part caused by non-replacement of staff. The true picture in some newsrooms is grim. For example yesterday I spoke to a journalist at a daily regional paper who was the only reporter there that day. The reporting staff as a whole has dropped by half. It's a familiar story for those working in local newspapers. But it is also now becoming more familiar to those working across the media ."
Emap announced 40 redundancies today.
Thursday, 13 November 2008
One by Tory MP Anne Main reads: "That this House notes BBC proposals to expand local news provision through 65 local video sites; further notes the benefits to local communities that commercial local news providers and their websites supply in reporting local news; recognises the tremendous work of local newspaper reporters and broadcasters in providing reports on local events and community groups; and is concerned that proposals by the BBC or any similarly unfairly state-funded competitor may challenge the viability of commercial local news providers."
And one put down by Carlisle Labour MP Eric Martlew says: "That this House notes with concern plans by the BBC to use money from the licence fee to fund a new service, BBC Local Video, which will threaten the viability of local and regional press; recognises that the intention of the BBC to spend £68 million will be hugely damaging to the newspaper industry and will duplicate local newspapers' online news and sports services with a network of 65 video sites; acknowledges that such proposals, financed by public funds, will give the BBC an unfair and disproportionate advantage over local and regional press; and urges the BBC to review these proposals and put greater investment into improving and extending local and regional television news services."
It seems the Newspaper Society is getting its message across.
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
The Johnston statement says: "At the half year results announcement on 27 August 2008, the Group disclosed total advertising revenues had declined for the first 26 weeks of the year on a like-for-like and constant currency basis by 9.5 per cent. Overall performance has deteriorated since then due to further substantial declines in property advertising combined with significant falls in employment and display advertising as the UK and Republic of Ireland economies suffered from both the "credit crunch" and a reduction in economic activity as both countries encountered recessionary pressures.
"In weeks 27-44, there were year-on-year declines in property of 48.4%, employment 32.1%, motors 24.3% and display 12.1% on a like-for-like and constant currency basis."
Newspaper sales revenues are said to be "slightly down" on last year with circulations suffering from both the general economic conditions and a significant reduction in levels of interest in the property market. Johnston's net debt at 1 November 2008 was £465 million, a reduction of £19 million from the balance at 30 June 2008.
The statement adds: "Given the challenging and deteriorating economic and operating environment, the Group is concentrating on managing its cost base." This suggest more job cuts could be on the cards.
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Falling circulation and ad revenues combined with the fallout from the credit crunch, all at a time when newspapers are trying to develop digital services, has led to the gloomiest predictions about the future.
Many of the editors say their papers have been cut to the bone and see regional newspaper closures as inevitable. No wonder that the idea of bailing out struggling regionals with state subsidies has been floated. Or that lobbying has already begun for the Government to relax the newspaper takeover regulations.
Some believe the picture will get even gloomier when Trinity and Johnston Press announce their figures shortly. Pessimists have not ruled out a major regional newspaper group crashing into administration because of massive falls in ad revenues. New SoE president Nigel Pickover has urged owners to stop “milking” the regional press and to take their “foot off the profit pedal”. But is there any milk left?” There are a lot of very worried newspaper people out there.
Chris Rushton, former editor of Trinity’s Sunday Sun in Newcastle, said Bailey had presided over a 95 per cent fall in the value of her company and added: “I don’t know how you are still in the job”. Rushton, now head of journalism and PR at Sunderland University, also described Trinity’s regional newspaper websites as “woeful” and “a joke”.
Bailey hit back during the breakfast session at the conference, claiming Rushton was “quite wrong” and defended Trinity’s websites as award winners.
Monday, 10 November 2008
Clarke, talking at the Society of Editors' conference in Bristol today, said five of the the 30 biggest newspaper websites in the world were British. "We are becoming global leaders in providing content," he said, but added:"None of us have worked out how to make enough money out of it." He claimed revenues were not enough to sustain the newspaper websites on their own and said:"Every UK national newspaper website only exists because of its old media parent."
Guardian chief executive Carolyn McCall warned that the days of regional newspapers making bumper profit margins are over. McCall told the conference local paper companies could no longer make 30 per cent profit margins. She branded BBC plans to boost its local websites as "not fair" competition for regional newspapers. A view shared by Clarke who also warned local papers against getting into joint deals with the BBC at a local a level, likening it to "partnership with a boa constrictor".
McCall, reflecting an idea floated by Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger in The Guardian today, said that the regional press may need state subsidies to survive.
Sunday, 9 November 2008
Dacre, speaking at the Society of Editors' conference in Bristol tonight, launched a scathing attack on Mr Justice Eady whom he accused of making "arrogant and amoral" decisions that shelter "the crooks, the liars, the cheats, the rich and the corrupt".
He accused Eady of bringing in a privacy law "by the back door" by his judgment in the case over Formula One president Max Mosley and the News of the World, which revealed he paid women to beat him.
Mr Justice Eady, claimed Dacre, "effectively ruled that it was perfectly acceptable for the multi-millionaire head of a multi-billion sport that is followed by countless young people to pay five women £2,500 to take part in acts of unimaginable sexual depravity with him."
But he also said that Prime Minister Gordon Brown should "be acknowledged as a great friend of press freedom". Dacre said Brown had listened to complaints over proposed restrictions on freedom of information, possible jail sentences on data protection laws for journalists and the impact of "no win, no fee" libel agreements. Dacre said a ceiling on "no win, no fee" agreement charges may be announced soon by the Lord Chancellor Jack Straw.
He accused media pundits on small circulation papers (i.e. The Guardian) of "poisoning the well" by constantly criticising the mass market newspapers. Dacre predicted that at least two national dailies and two Sundays could change hands or go to the wall in the economic downturn.
Saturday, 8 November 2008
He said: "We believe that journalism matters and are calling on the Society of Editors to join us in resisting the cuts that are devastating our industry. Editors are journalists too, and they can show they care about the future of the press by fighting for editorial investment to shore up news organisations so they can weather the economic storms ahead.
“Whether broadcast, in print or online, the news media need to demonstrate their quality if they are to survive the economic downturn and come out the other side. They might not admit it, but editors know the scale of cutbacks we’re currently facing will damage newsgathering abilities and the quality of the finished products.
“It’s time for them to come clean about whether they think shareholder profit or quality journalism comes first.”
Friday, 7 November 2008
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Straw added that the Government would "announce shortly" changes to bring greater openness in the family courts.
He also poked fun at the high salaries paid to BBC executives but said he realised that newspapers were facing very difficult economic conditions. He said of regional journalists: "They are not paid very much for a difficult and insecure job." A sign of the times when a politician can see regional journalism as an "insecure" profession.
Monday, 3 November 2008
Moore also compared Ross to the torturers of Abu Ghraib. "When the Abu Ghraib atrocities against Iraqi prisoners filled our media, people rightly noted that the torment consisted not in physical pain, but in humiliation. The humiliation was increased by photographing the acts. The torturers thought that what they did was funny. They were arrested, dismissed from the US armed services and imprisoned.
"Jonathan Ross was doing essentially the same thing. He thought it was funny to use his power to torment someone mentally, and to let other people witness the torment."
Moore concluded: "If Ross is still in post when my television licence next comes up for renewal, I shall keep my television, but refuse to pay the fee. Instead, I shall hand over the £139.50 to Help the Aged, and wait for Mark Thompson's detector van to come to my door."
Could be an interesting court case.