Friday, 30 November 2012

Media Quotes of the Week: You've been Levesoned












Lord Justice Leveson (top) in his Report: "The evidence placed before the Inquiry has demonstrated, beyond any doubt, that there have been far too many occasions over the last decade and more (itself said to have been better than previous decades) when these responsibilities, on which the public so heavily rely, have simply been ignored. There have been too many times when, chasing the story, parts of the press have acted as if its own code, which it wrote, simply did not exist. This has caused real hardship and, on occasion, wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people whose rights and liberties have been disdained. This is not just the famous but ordinary members of the public, caught up in events (many of them, truly tragic) far larger than they could cope with but made much, much worse by press behaviour that, at times, can only be described as outrageous."

Lord Justice Leveson in his Report: "In order to give effect to the incentives that I have outlined, it is essential that there should be legislation to underpin the independent self-regulatory system
and facilitate its recognition in legal processes."

Lord Justice Leveson in his Report: "Finally, I was struck by the evidence of journalists who felt that they might be put under pressure to do things that were unethical or against the code. I therefore suggest that the new independent self-regulatory body should establish a whistle-blowing hotline and encourage its members to ensure that journalists’ contracts include a conscience clause protecting them if they refuse."

Lord Justice Leveson in his Report: “In relation to regional and local newspapers, I do not make a specific recommendation but I suggest that the Government should look urgently as what action it might be able take to help safeguard the ongoing viability of this much valued and important part of the British press. It is clear to me that local, high-quality and trusted newspapers are good for our communities, our identity and our democracy and play an important social role.”

David Cameron in the House of Commons, as reported by BBC News, after saying he had "serious misgivings" about independent self regulation of the press being underpinned by law because: "We would have crossed the Rubicon of writing elements of press regulation into the law of the land, we should be wary of legislation that has potential to infringe free speech and a free press."

The Daily Mail in a leader"To his enormous credit, however, David Cameron sees this report for what it is — a mortal threat to the British people’s historic right to know. If he prevails in protecting that right, with the help of like-minded freedom lovers in the Commons and Lords, he will earn a place of honour in our history."

The Financial Times in a leader: "While there may be merit in a grand bargain that trades the incentives to participate for some measure of statutory underpinning, the idea of handing oversight power to Ofcom is wrong-headed. Ofcom is charged with regulating television broadcasters that have a legal obligation to impartiality. It reports directly to government. This is a step down the road towards state licensing of a press that, of course, has no obligation to provide balance."

The Daily Telegraph in a leader: "The industry must act quickly to set up an independent regulatory body that fulfils the principles put forward by Leveson. If it does that, then Mr Cameron, Mr Clegg, Mr Miliband and Parliament should be able to stay on the right side of the Rubicon."

The Guardian in a leader: "While Lords Hunt and Black have done useful work in trying to draw up a reformed version of the discredited PCC, it is not clear that they are now the right people to be trying to build a consensus among a diverse group of editors, publishers and proprietors. Their past efforts confusingly married consultation with lobbying and they badly misjudged what would be acceptable, either to the inquiry or to Westminster."

The Sun in a leader: "We understand why phone hacking victims want newspapers muzzled. But anger and the desire for revenge are not a basis on which to destroy 300 years of Press freedom. That is why we applaud David Cameron’s courage in resisting Lord Leveson’s call for a new law, saying he has “serious concerns and misgivings” over legal underpinning for a new regulator. Parliament must now give the Press the chance to respond to Lord Leveson with its own proposals."

We understand why phone hacking victims want newspapers muzzled. But anger and the desire for revenge are not a basis on which to destroy 300 years of Press freedom.
That is why we applaud David Cameron’s courage in resisting Lord Leveson’s call for a new law, saying he has “serious concerns and misgivings” over legal underpinning for a new regulator. Parliament must now give the Press the chance to respond to Lord Leveson with its own proposals.


Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/sun_says/4508014/The-Sun-says-Fooled-again.html#ixzz2Dh0rhX3h
Adrian Jeakings, president of the Newspaper Society and chief executive of Archant, in a statement: "Local newspapers have always been vehemently opposed to any form of statutory involvement or underpinning in the regulation of the press, including the oversight by Ofcom proposed in the report. This would impose an unacceptable regulatory burden on the industry, potentially inhibiting freedom of speech and the freedom to publish."

Liberty’s director Shami Chakrabarti, one of  the panel of assessors who advised Lord Justice Leveson, in a statement: “Leveson’s main proposal makes sense for the public, press and politicians alike. The press sets up a robust body – independent of Government and serving editors – and earns legal protections from needless challenges in court. The public gets confidence of greater access to justice and redress when things go wrong. What nobody needs and Liberty cannot support is any last-resort compulsory statutory press regulation – coming at too high a price in a free society.”

US-based Committee to Protect Journalists executive director Joel Simon in a statement: "A media regulatory body anchored by statute cannot be described as voluntary. Moreover, adopting statutory regulation would undermine press freedom in the U.K. and give legitimacy to governments around the world that routinely silence journalists through such controls."

Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph: "In the nearly 20 years in which I edited various papers, including this one, I became ever more strongly convinced of two things. The first was that statutory regulation of the press was a bad idea. The second was that the self-regulation of the press was little better than a farce."

Times editor James Harding [£]: "Let’s not tiptoe around the problem. The British press has, on occasion, abused its power and influence, trampled on the feelings of the vulnerable and, sometimes with scant justification, intruded into people’s privacy. These excesses have, I believe, been the exception, not the stock-in-trade of Fleet Street. But they have undermined the reputation of journalists and destroyed confidence in regulation of the press."

on Twitter: "Will this week see the end of a free press? No. We will find a way through the woods so long as editors show humility and less arrogance."

The Observer in an editorial:  "We may have to accept that the price of press freedom inexorably involves sometimes getting things wrong – as well as some right. The question we have to ask is: if we choke that freedom away by law, and then by adding more and more law for every mistake, what freedom will there be left?"

Dan Sabbagh in the Guardian: "There is, behind the scenes, an almost comic attempt to get all the newspaper groups to sign up to some sort of statement on regulatory reform. But it would be easier to get 10 cats to sashay down Oxford Street in a straight line."

Spectator editor Fraser Nelson in a leader: "If the press agrees a new form of self-regulation, perhaps contractually binding this time, we will happily take part. But we would not sign up to anything enforced by government. If such a group is constituted we will not attend its meetings, pay its fines nor heed its menaces. We would still obey the (other) laws of the land. But to join any scheme which subordinates press to parliament would be a betrayal of what this paper has stood for since its inception in 1828."

Emily Bell on the Guardian's Comment is Free: "Leveson deals with the nefarious ways of publishing personal information; it deals with the fallout of incestuous relationships run from the heart of government; and it deals with the personal cost of people crushed by journalism-as-showbusiness. What it cannot deal with is the regulation of the press in the 21st century."

Non-Leveson Quote of the Week:

Lord Patten on what the BBC Trust conveyed to George Entwistle, as reported by the BBC:  "We are not urging you to go. But we are not urging you to stay."

[£] = paywall

Thursday, 29 November 2012

So, Leveson does believe in a 'conscience clause'


It seems that Lord Justice Leveson has listened to the NUJ's calls for a "conscience clause" in contracts to protect journalists from being sacked if they refuse to act unethically in pursuit of a story.

He says in his Report  published today: "Finally, I was struck by the evidence of journalists who felt that they might be put under pressure to do things that were unethical or against the code. I therefore suggest that the new independent self-regulatory body should establish a whistle-blowing hotline and encourage its members to ensure that journalists’ contracts include a conscience clause protecting them if they refuse."

In her evidence to Leveson,  NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet (pictured) gave examples of bullying of staff in some newsrooms.

Stanistreet said in a letter to NUJ members yesterday: “From the outset of the Leveson inquiry, we demanded a conscience clause to safeguard journalists who object to being made to act unethically in the pursuit of a story. The industry – both the Press Complaints Commission and the Society of Editors – has repeatedly refused to bring in a conscience clause, despite the Home Affairs Select Committee backing this NUJ’s campaign as long ago as 2003.

“We highlighted the vital role a trade union plays in any workplace, and how in journalism the NUJ plays a role in maintaining standards and standing up for ethical journalism, as well as the bread and butter industrial issues of pay and conditions.

"We explained to Lord Leveson that an NUJ workplace chapel is not simply the vehicle for putting together pay claims and campaigning for better terms and conditions it is also the place where members can raise issues of concern on ethical matters, on staffing levels, and on bullying and editorial pressure within their workplace.”

Stanistreet said in a statement:  “From the outset of the Leveson inquiry, we demanded a conscience clause to safeguard journalists who object to being made to act unethically in the pursuit of a story.

“The NUJ has been campaigning for years for a conscience clause in contracts of employment and we are delighted that Lord Justice Leveson has listened to the voice of journalists.

“The NUJ will now do all it can to ensure that when journalists stand up for a principle of journalistic ethics they have a contractual protection against being dismissed.

“Now is the time to build a solid framework that gives journalists the confidence and the security to put their head above the parapet and take a stand for ethical journalism.

“A journalist should always have the right to refuse assignments and no journalist should be disciplined or suffer detriment to their career for asserting his or her right to act ethically.

“The new independent self-regulatory body should ensure that journalists’ contracts include a conscience clause.

“The NUJ welcomes Lord Justice Leveson’s support for a free press and independent regulation of the press - independent of both government and of the industry.

“We’re also pleased that the recommendations include civic society involvement and the recommendation that the new body needs an independent chair and board appointed in a fair and transparent process. The board should include the voice of journalists, through the NUJ. We explained to Lord Leveson, in our unique position as the media trade union recognised by the inquiry as a core participant in his hearings, that NUJ workplace organisation is not simply the vehicle for putting together pay claims and campaigning for jobs, terms and conditions. It is also the means through which journalists can raise issues of concern on ethical matters, bullying and editorial pressure.

“The NUJ supports the recommendation that the new body should accept third party complaints, provide incentives and tackle prejudicial or pejorative references to race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or physical or mental illness or disability.

“It is disappointing that Lord Leveson has not made recommendations in relation to media ownership and plurality - it is significant that the unfolding scandal at News International happened in a company with a 35.15% share of the market and in a workplace where the NUJ has been effectively blocked by Rupert Murdoch for years.

“The NUJ will now look at the details of the report.”

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

NUJ hopes Leveson believes in 'conscience clause'



The NUJ is hoping Lord Justice Leveson has backed a conscience clause to safeguard journalists from being sacked if they object to to being told to act unethically in pursuit of a story.

The union won a fight to be regarded as a ‘core participant’ in the Leveson Inquiry, whose recommendations on press behaviour will be published tomorrow (Thursday).

In her evidence to Leveson,  NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet (pictured) gave examples of bullying of staff in some newsrooms.

Stanistreet said in a letter to NUJ members : “From the outset of the Leveson inquiry, we demanded a conscience clause to safeguard journalists who object to being made to act unethically in the pursuit of a story. The industry – both the Press Complaints Commission and the Society of Editors – has repeatedly refused to bring in a conscience clause, despite the Home Affairs Select Committee backing this NUJ’s campaign as long ago as 2003.

“We highlighted the vital role a trade union plays in any workplace, and how in journalism the NUJ plays a role in maintaining standards and standing up for ethical journalism, as well as the bread and butter industrial issues of pay and conditions.

"We explained to Lord Leveson that an NUJ workplace chapel is not simply the vehicle for putting together pay claims and campaigning for better terms and conditions it is also the place where members can raise issues of concern on ethical matters, on staffing levels, and on bullying and editorial pressure within their workplace.”

Stainstreet claims the NUJ's public support for statutory underpinning of a new system of press regulation has been "misrepresented" by those opposed to any kind of state involvement in the press.

She says in her letter: "The NUJ's position has been misrepresented and attacked in many quarters of the press - including in The Sun, which accused the union of trying to end free speech in the UK, and create a press akin to that in Zimbabwe or Iran. The NUJ has been accused of supporting state control of the press.

"The union does not back statutory regulation of the press. We support an independent system of regulation - independent from the industry and, crucially, from government."

The NUJ's stance has led to some members resigning in protest and others calling for the whole membership to be consulted over what the union's policy should be press regulation. 
  • Pic. Michelle Stanistreet (Jon Slattery)

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

No evidence to support statutory regulation of local press, NS tells Government ahead of Leveson


The Newspaper Society, representing the local press, has urged the Government to consult the public over the recommendations of the Leveson Report on press behaviour which is due to be published on Thursday.

In a message to the Government, Newspaper Society director David Newell also claims: "No evidence has been produced to Leveson which justifies controlling local and regional newspapers through a new system of Government controls under a statutory regime."

He said: “Britain’s 1,100 regional and local newspapers, with their 33 million readers in print and 42 million unique users online, urge the Government to consult the wider public on Leveson’s recommendations, when they are published.

“The public’s views in the nations, regions and localities of the UK, which have so far not been the focus of the Leveson inquiry or of politicians, should be at the centre of the debate on press freedom and press regulation.

“No evidence has been produced to Leveson which justifies controlling local and regional newspapers through a new system of Government controls under a statutory regime. Any state system would mean that the Government crossed a line of historic and constitutional significance. This would alter the relationship between Government and its citizens and jeopardise individual freedoms.”

Start of EU budget talks is UK news story of week

David Cameron at EU Summit
The start of the EU budget talks was the top UK news story for the week ending Sunday, 25 November, according to journalisted.

EU nations begin budget talks but no deal is reached, generated 351 articles.

Other top stories were:
Covered little, according to journalisted, were:

Friday, 23 November 2012

Quotes of the Week: From what not to tweet to the dilemma facing David Cameron over Leveson






David Aaronovitch in The Times [£]: "Lastly, the golden rule, the rule of rules. Never, ever tweet anything about anybody that you wouldn’t say to their face. There’s a REASON why you wouldn’t say it to their face. They might hit you, or sue you. So why would you want to tweet it?"

David Banks in the Mirror on the threat by Lord McAlpine's lawyers to sue thousands of Twitter users: "This affair will perhaps show the public the threat libel laws pose to anyone in the UK – a threat journalists face every working day. There is no doubt some famous tweeters will be taking more care about what they say in those 140 little characters."

Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger on Twitter, in the Guardian's Open door column: "People have to understand that when they use Twitter they have the same ethical and legal responsibilities as with any other medium."

 Local World chairman David Montgomery, as quoted by Press Gazette: “This is an entirely new type of media business. The value of Local World will lie in its people, its franchises and its IP. It will be unencumbered by the infrastructure of the industrial past such as property, printing presses and large scale distribution or any legacy issues such as high levels of debt. Local World signals the fightback in Britain’s regional media industry.”

NUJ's Barry Fitzpatrick in a statement: “We would also like to warn the managers of Local World that there is no fat left on these titles to cut. Year- on-year cuts to staffing and resources have left very little to trim. These cuts mean that courts are not being covered and councils are not being held to account."

Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield in a staff memo, published by HoldTheFrontPage: “Our mission is straightforward: by 2015 we need to have paid down our debt sufficiently so that we can get the banks off our backs – they are currently rapaciously sucking up all our (not inconsiderable) profits – so that we can build and invest for the future."

Ian Jack in the Guardian on the axing of sub editors and other experienced journalists: "The phenomenon extends beyond the media. Equivalent effects can be felt in government departments, local authorities, hospitals – wherever labour costs have been drastically reduced, jobs outsourced and consultants hired. In this fracturing and fragmenting of old workplaces, more than comradeship is being lost. Error is on the loose."

Boris Johnson, as reported by the Daily Mail: "MPs don't you for a minute think about regulating the Press, which has been free in this country for centuries."

Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times [£]: "What the Daily Mail has uncovered isn’t a conspiracy at all — it’s just the new Establishment: well-heeled, authoritarian, middle-class liberals who, for the most part, have done little more than espouse views agreeable to the salons of Islington and Notting Hill."

MPs, don’t you for a minute think about regulating the Press, which has been free in this country for centuries,’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236618/Dont-think-regulating-Britains-free-press-Boris-issues-warning-MPs.html#ixzz2CwxNJ9eA
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
MPs, don’t you for a minute think about regulating the Press, which has been free in this country for centuries,’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236618/Dont-think-regulating-Britains-free-press-Boris-issues-warning-MPs.html#ixzz2CwxNJ9eA
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
MPs, don’t you for a minute think about regulating the Press, which has been free in this country for centuries,’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236618/Dont-think-regulating-Britains-free-press-Boris-issues-warning-MPs.html#ixzz2CwxNJ9eA
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
MPs, don’t you for a minute think about regulating the Press, which has been free in this country for centuries,’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236618/Dont-think-regulating-Britains-free-press-Boris-issues-warning-MPs.html#ixzz2CwxNJ9eA
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
MPs, don’t you for a minute think about regulating the Press, which has been free in this country for centuries,’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236618/Dont-think-regulating-Britains-free-press-Boris-issues-warning-MPs.html#ixzz2CwxNJ9eA
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
MPs, don’t you for a minute think about regulating the Press, which has been free in this country for centuries,’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236618/Dont-think-regulating-Britains-free-press-Boris-issues-warning-MPs.html#ixzz2CwxNJ9eA
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
‘MPs, don’t you for a minute think about regulating the Press, which has been free in this country for centuries,’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236618/Dont-think-regulating-Britains-free-press-Boris-issues-warning-MPs.html#ixzz2CwxApjQU
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
‘MPs, don’t you for a minute think about regulating the Press, which has been free in this country for centuries,’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236618/Dont-think-regulating-Britains-free-press-Boris-issues-warning-MPs.html#ixzz2CwxApjQU
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
‘MPs, don’t you for a minute think about regulating the Press, which has been free in this country for centuries,’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236618/Dont-think-regulating-Britains-free-press-Boris-issues-warning-MPs.html#ixzz2CwxApjQU
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
‘MPs, don’t you for a minute think about regulating the Press, which has been free in this country for centuries,’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236618/Dont-think-regulating-Britains-free-press-Boris-issues-warning-MPs.html#ixzz2CwwLPZeo
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
‘MPs, don’t you for a minute think about regulating the Press, which has been free in this country for centuries,’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236618/Dont-think-regulating-Britains-free-press-Boris-issues-warning-MPs.html#ixzz2CwwLPZeo
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
‘MPs, don’t you for a minute think about regulating the Press, which has been free in this country for centuries,’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236618/Dont-think-regulating-Britains-free-press-Boris-issues-warning-MPs.html#ixzz2CwwLPZeo
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on FacebookTevor Kavanagh in the Sun: “Sir Brian Leveson is one of Britain’s most respected judges, welcomed by editors and proprietors to scrutinise the industry’s practices. The same cannot necessarily be said of the assorted experts appointed to advise him. None have any direct experience of tabloid newspapers. We now know some are actively hostile towards them.”
Nick Robinson on his BBC blog: "If Leveson recommends any form of new law to regulate the press the prime minister will face an unpalatable choice. Say yes and he will face an angry backlash from most national newspapers and most Conservatives including close allies in the Cabinet. Say no and he will be confronted by a coalition of the victims of phone hacking, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and some Tory MPs."

[£] = paywall.
Sir Brian Leveson is one of Britain’s most respected judges, welcomed by editors and proprietors to scrutinise the industry’s practices.
The same cannot necessarily be said of the assorted experts appointed to advise him.
None have any direct experience of tabloid newspapers.
We now know some are actively hostile towards them.


Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4649364/The-leftie-plotters-with-one-Common-Purposeto-gag-the-Press.html#ixzz2CV60IGAx
Sir Brian Leveson is one of Britain’s most respected judges, welcomed by editors and proprietors to scrutinise the industry’s practices.
The same cannot necessarily be said of the assorted experts appointed to advise him.
None have any direct experience of tabloid newspapers.
We now know some are actively hostile towards them.


Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4649364/The-leftie-plotters-with-one-Common-Purposeto-gag-the-Press.html#ixzz2CV60IGAx
Sir Brian Leveson is one of Britain’s most respected judges, welcomed by editors and proprietors to scrutinise the industry’s practices.
The same cannot necessarily be said of the assorted experts appointed to advise him.
None have any direct experience of tabloid newspapers.
We now know some are actively hostile towards them.


Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4649364/The-leftie-plotters-with-one-Common-Purposeto-gag-the-Press.html#ixzz2CV60IGAx
Sir Brian Leveson is one of Britain’s most respected judges, welcomed by editors and proprietors to scrutinise the industry’s practices.
The same cannot necessarily be said of the assorted experts appointed to advise him.
None have any direct experience of tabloid newspapers.
We now know some are actively hostile towards them.


Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4649364/The-leftie-plotters-with-one-Common-Purposeto-gag-the-Press.html#ixzz2CV60IGAx
Sir Brian Leveson is one of Britain’s most respected judges, welcomed by editors and proprietors to scrutinise the industry’s practices.
The same cannot necessarily be said of the assorted experts appointed to advise him.
None have any direct experience of tabloid newspapers.
We now know some are actively hostile towards them.


Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4649364/The-leftie-plotters-with-one-Common-Purposeto-gag-the-Press.html#ixzz2CV60IGAx
Sir Brian Leveson is one of Britain’s most respected judges, welcomed by editors and proprietors to scrutinise the industry’s practices.
The same cannot necessarily be said of the assorted experts appointed to advise him.
None have any direct experience of tabloid newspapers.
We now know some are actively hostile towards them.


Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4649364/The-leftie-plotters-with-one-Common-Purposeto-gag-the-Press.html#ixzz2CV60IGAx
Sir Brian Leveson is one of Britain’s most respected judges, welcomed by editors and proprietors to scrutinise the industry’s practices.
The same cannot necessarily be said of the assorted experts appointed to advise him.
None have any direct experience of tabloid newspapers.
We now know some are actively hostile towards them.


Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4649364/The-leftie-plotters-with-one-Common-Purposeto-gag-the-Press.html#ixzz2CV5apIqh
Sir Brian Leveson is one of Britain’s most respected judges, welcomed by editors and proprietors to scrutinise the industry’s practices.
The same cannot necessarily be said of the assorted experts appointed to advise him.
None have any direct experience of tabloid newspapers.
We now know some are actively hostile towards them.


Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4649364/The-leftie-plotters-with-one-Common-Purposeto-gag-the-Press.html#ixzz2CV5Fs600
Sir Brian Leveson is one of Britain’s most respected judges, welcomed by editors and proprietors to scrutinise the industry’s practices.
The same cannot necessarily be said of the assorted experts appointed to advise him.
None have any direct experience of tabloid newspapers.
We now know some are actively hostile towards them.


Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4649364/The-leftie-plotters-with-one-Common-Purposeto-gag-the-Press.html#ixzz2CV5Fs600

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Guardian revelations on hacking used in ad by campaigners against state regulation of press


































Wonder if the Hacked Off campaign group will be hacked off by this.

A new ad from the Free Speech Network, which is campaigning against state regulation of the press in the run-up to the publication of the Leveson Inquiry report next Thursday, highlights a front page of the Guardian - reporting the hacking scandal and the emergence of new victims.

The ad, in today's Telegraph, says that "Yes...even phone-hacking was a scandal revealed by a newspaper. Not by politicians, not by the police, and certainly not by a bunch of quangocrats."

It could've added  "or the Press Complaints Commission" but maybe there wasn't enough space.

The ad features five other newspaper fronts alongside the Guardian. The Mail on the murderers of Stephen Lawrence, the Telegraph on MPs' expenses, the Mirror on John Prescott's affair, The Sun on the rant at police by Andrew Mitchell, and the The Times on tax avoiders.

It's headlined: "If the press was shackled would any of this ever have happened?"

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

NUJ warns Monty 'no fat left to cut' on local titles


The NUJ has warned that there is 'no fat left to cut' on the local newspapers owned by Northcliffe and Iliffe that have been combined in David Montgomery's new Local World venture.

Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ deputy general secretary,(pictured) said: “Once again a huge swathe of our media has changed hands with little transparency and, some could say, by stealth. The increasing consolidation of the regional press under fewer and fewer owners is a great cause for concern.

“Local World said it has a ‘vision to create comprehensive content for local communities’. Experience shows that large groups soon lose contact with their local communities as they close local and district offices. We want to hold Local World to its word that it will protect news coverage for local communities.

“We would like to see hard evidence that the dash to digital can be backed by a solid business case. We want guarantees from David Montgomery that revenues will not be lost in the switch from print to online. We also want guarantees that there will be a print option for many in the community who do not get access to local news and information online.

“We would also like to warn the managers of Local World that there is no fat left on these titles to cut. Year- on-year cuts to staffing and resources have left very little to trim. These cuts mean that courts are not being covered and councils are not being held to account. This democratic deficit is further increased when large sections of the community, who do not have access to computers or smart phones, are unable to get access to their local news.”

David Montgomery said: “This is an entirely new type of media business. The value of Local World will lie in its people, its franchises and its IP. It will be unencumbered by the infrastructure of the industrial past such as property, printing presses and large scale distribution or any legacy issues such as high levels of debt. Local World signals the fight back in Britain’s regional media industry.”

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Legal action by Lord McAlpine most covered story



















Legal action taken by Lord McAlpine against the BBC and others following the Newsnight programme was the news story most covered by the UK press for the week ending Sunday, November 18, according to journalisted.

Lord McAlpine sues after he is wrongly named as a paedophile, generated 247 articles.

Other top news stories were:
Covered little, according to journalisted, were:

Monday, 19 November 2012

Local editors take fight against stautory regulation to Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and Culture Secretary


Four local newspaper editors, whose titles cover the constituencies of David Cameron, Nick Clegg,  Ed Miliband and Culture Secretary Maria Miller, have voiced their opposition to statutory regulation being imposed on the press.

Their statements have been released by the Newspaper Society which is campaigning against statutory regulation as the Leveson Inquiry prepares to release its recommendations on press regulation.

Simon O’Neill, group editor of the Oxford Mail and The Oxford Times which cover the Prime Minister’s Witney constituency, said: “A free press is essential to a truly democratic society. Weaken the former and you weaken the latter. It really is as simple as that. There are no half measures and when it comes to regulation of a free press. You cannot have ‘a little bit of legislation.’ It’s all or nothing.

“Am I paranoid? You bet I am. There are people in power out there - politicians and public servants included – who utter fine words about democracy and accountability and then do all they can to cover up their corruption and hypocrisy. They have scores to settle.

“The press does have a lot to answer for and, if truth be told, we have brought much of this upon ourselves. If Leveson flushes out the immoral, illegal and downright despicable practices of a small section of our industry, he will have done journalism and society as a whole a great service.

“If he advocates a regulatory body backed by legislation and that is implemented by this Government, he and every politician who supports him will go down in history as the people who made future curbs on press freedom possible… it is society as a whole, as well as the honest, decent and responsible press vital to a functioning democracy, that will suffer.”

Jeremy Clifford, editor in chief of The Star and Sheffield Telegraph which cover Clegg’s Sheffield, Hallam constituency, added: “We have to review the issue of press regulation outside of the hysteria and disgraceful revelations - and do so in a context of rational thought.

“We cannot allow decisions to be made by politicians who are fast and loose with their own words, such as Nick Clegg who describes the press on the one hand as ‘desperate animals around a disappearing waterhole’ and on the other: ‘The underlying strength of your newspapers seems to be growing rather than diminishing... you have rates of trust in what you produce which is the envy of many other parts of the media.

“The point is that the likes of Mr Clegg draw a distinction between some of the national newspapers and the local media. But statutory legislation will not do so. Nor will it be able to constrain or regulate publishers outside of newspapers - by which I mean the internet and social media.

“So why has self-regulation failed? It has failed because the PCC has no muscle, or teeth. We in the local press regard a ruling against us by the PCC as a badge of shame, to be avoided at all costs.
“If that is not now thought to be sufficient to ensure regulation is to be effective across the entire newspaper industry, listen to Lord Black's proposals. Preserve self-regulation but give the body teeth, the power to fine, bind publishers into a contractual relationship of self governance, with a body that has enforceable powers to investigate breakdowns in ethical standards and to impose financial sanctions.”

Graeme Huston, editor in chief of South Yorkshire Newspapers which covers Miliband’s Doncaster North constituency, added: “The breadth and weight of the existing legislation is complemented by the fact that we in the regional press at least, respect and adhere to the PCC code of conduct. And of course journalists, like everyone else, must obey the law.

“In the face of suggestions of further regulation it should be noted that it is already a difficult and skilled job, in the framework of the controls described above, to hold those in public office to account.

“In Doncaster for example, journalists on the weekly Doncaster Free Press carried out an investigation into a child care services scandal. This involved the deaths of several children and led to the local authority being named and shamed in Parliament and taken over by Government.
“We met sometimes ferocious resistance on many levels, but we were right, and we eventually delivered to our readers a story about individual tragedies that added up to a matter of national significance.

“The question is would new statutory regulations on the press, brought about in response to appalling behaviour elsewhere in the industry, make that kind of story more or less likely to come to light?  Political control could discourage or even snuff out investigative journalism which is wholly in the public interest.”

Mark Jones, editor of Gazette Newspapers, Basingstoke, which covers s Miller’s Basingstoke constituency, said:  “Statutory regulation would be a shackle, and it will inevitably have an adverse impact on the ability of the press to act in the public interest. Yes, the press must behave in a fair, decent and responsible way – and that is what the vast majority of journalists do every day of their lives.
“Any journalist, or press outlet, that fails to live up to recognised standards proposed by a new system of tough, independent self-regulation deserves to be dealt with and punished – and they would be.
“To impose statutory regulation is akin to using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. The responsible majority of the press will suffer, but most of all, the people of this country, and our democracy, will suffer.”

Sunday, 18 November 2012

MPs should give priority to more important issues than press regulation - claims new poll of voters


A new poll conducted on behalf of the Free Speech Network, which has launched a campaign against statutory controls on the press in the run-up to the Leveson Inquiry findings, claims to show voters do not believe press regulation should be a major priority for their MPs.

Instead they say the MPs should be concentrating on more important issues such as the economy,  immigration and health care.

The poll also says 55% of respondents said they were more concerned by allegations of a cover up at the BBC surrounding Jimmy Savile than were concerned by either phone hacking allegations or allegations of payments to police and public officials.

The poll, conducted by Survation, says seven in ten people believe there is no need for new laws or state regulation of the press.

The poll also found two-thirds are proud of Britain's standing in the world as a model for press freedom and free speech.

Of the respondents, 39% said their local papers were a positive force in their local community, more than double the 15% who thought they were a negative force.

Findings of the poll include:
  • Only 0.5 per cent of people think regulation of press a priority and nine out of ten do not list press regulation as a "Top Ten" issue;
  • 71 per cent of people believe there is no need for new laws or state regulation of the press;
  • Two-thirds are proud of Britain's standing in world as a model of press freedom and free speech;
  • Two-thirds want to see libel laws amended to get actions settled more cheaply; and
  • 91 per cent support free speech. 
Commenting Bob Satchwell, chairman of the Society of Editors, said: "The British people are clear that they want a free press and free speech. We agree. This is why the industry supports a new system, independent of both government and the newspaper industry to ensure the highest standards in the press without undermining its capacity to hold people such as politicians to account.

"We have established a free press in this country over 300 years – we don’t want to reverse this trend. It would send a terrible signal to emerging democracies around the world if this were to end. How can we encourage the freedom of the press and free speech abroad, if we are threatening it at home?"

Friday, 16 November 2012

Media Quotes of the Week: From the crisis at the BBC to is the Sun 'a blot on Fleet Street'?



George Entwistle resigning as director-general of the BBC, as reported by BBC News: "In the light of the fact that the director general is also the editor-in-chief and ultimately responsible for all content, and in the light of the unacceptable journalistic standards of the Newsnight film broadcast on Friday 2nd November, I have decided that the honourable thing to do is to step down from the post of Director-General."

Jeremy Paxman, quoted in the Daily Mail: "George Entwistle's departure is a great shame. He has been brought low by cowards and incompetents. The real problem here is the BBC's decision, in the wake of the Hutton Inquiry, to play safe by appointing biddable people. They then compounded the problem by enforcing a series of cuts on programme budgets, while bloating the management. That is how you arrive at the current mess on Newsnight."

Lord McAlpine, on BBC Radio 4's World at One: "Suddenly to find yourself a figure of public hatred, unjustifiably, is terrifying."

BBC acting director of news Fran Unsworth in an internal email, leaked to the press: "It would be helpful if some of our problems were not played out publicly across social media and in the pages of the national press."

The Daily Mail in a leader: "Despite all these calamitous mistakes, two journalists prove that a strong seam of excellence still runs through the BBC. John Humphrys’ forensic demolition of his own boss, and Eddie Mair’s assured presentation of Newsnight’s apology programme, were nothing short of exemplary."

The Daily Telegraph in a leader: "The chilling effect of Leveson is already being felt: publications are under greater pressure to abandon particular inquiries while others are reluctant to pursue stories likely to cause controversy, even when they are in the public interest. This is especially harmful to cash-strapped local newspapers which fear for their very survival. How is that good for democracy? Politicians like to claim they are thick-skinned; but given the chance, they will legislate to keep nosey journalists out of their business. It is self-serving – or downright na├»ve – to claim that they would be doing so in the interests of maintaining 'a free press essential for a free society'."

PCC chairman Lord Hunt at the Society of Editors conference, as reported by the Guardian: "I do have a certain amount of sympathy with some of the views that Hugh Grant has expressed. I think he genuinely does share my basic belief in freedom of expression and, like me, he understands that freedom is a privilege not an unqualified right, bringing with it certain responsibilities – not to harass, not to bully, not to intrude gratuitously."

Guido Fawkes on Daily Mail splash attacking Leveson panel member Sir David Bell: "It’s more Thick of It than Watergate, but it does highlight the cosy close-knit group lobbying for an unfree press."

NUJ deputy general secretary Barry Fitzpatrick in a press statement about stress levels among Johnston Press journalists: "Current events clearly demonstrate that the future of the media is dependent on the quality of journalistic content and adequate resources to fund it."

Mary Killen in The Lady: "Mark Boxer, a former editor of Tatler, would pay expenses for his writers to have lunch with each other. He thought it would stimulate - and judging by the fact that Boxer Tatlers can now fetch $200 in New York, he did."

The Sun in a leader: "THE danger of the Westminster paedophile witch-hunt is that the guilty escape while the innocent suffer. And the worst offenders? That sanctimonious Left-wing grubsheet The Guardian and its toadies at BBC Newsnight. Both are in the firing line of senior Tory Lord McAlpine, victim of false child abuse accusations. A Guardian writer had to grovel for defaming Lord McAlpine on Twitter. The hysteria over paedos in high places was started by Labour MP Tom Watson, who mouthed off in the safety of the Commons without producing any proof. As a former Prime Minister once said, power without responsibility is the prerogative of the harlot."

Guardian's David Leigh ‏@davidleigh3 on Twitter: "Sun tells lies about the Guardian today [I know this is not news]. What a blot it is on Fleet St!"

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Another Obama victory: Most covered story in UK












President Obama's victory in the US Presidential election was the most covered news story in the UK, for the week ending Sunday, November 11, according to journalisted.

Barack Obama wins the US presidential election generated 460 articles.

The most covered UK politician in the same week was controversial Tory MP Nadine Dorries appears on reality TV show I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, 170 articles.

BBC Director General George Entwistle resigns after struggling to manage a new BBC news crisis, was covered in 165 articles.

Covered little, according to journalisted were:

MPs call on PA not to axe regional lobby service


MPs have put down an Early Day Motion urging the Press Association not to end its regional lobby press service, which would cost four journalists' jobs.

The MPs claim the move would "serve to increase the perceived remoteness of this House from the constituents that it serves".

The EDM states: "That this House deeply regrets the Press Association's proposal to close its dedicated regional lobby press team and make four journalists redundant; believes that this organisation has provided an important service to all parts of the UK since its inception in 1863 under the name Central Press and to newspapers including the Western Daily Press, Liverpool Post, Belfast Telegraph, Bradford Telegraph and Argus, Northern Echo and Bristol Post; and further believes that the withdrawal of this vital connection between hon. Members and their local press will only serve to increase the perceived remoteness of this House from the constituents that it serves and the gulf between the Westminster village and other parts of the country."

Friday, 9 November 2012

Quotes of the Week: From taking on Lance Armstrong to what made Rebekah Brooks cry















David Walsh (top) in the Sunday Times [£] on the paper's legal battle with Lance Armstrong: "A letter from Schillings was couriered to The Sunday Times, reminding the newspaper that Armstrong had never taken performance-enhancing drugs and if we dared suggest he did, we would be sued. We didn’t back down and we were sued. Two years of endless meetings, preparing statements, lining up witnesses, getting subpoenas — it was hell...Britain was the only country where Armstrong allowed alibel case to proceed beyond the initial, sabre-rattling writ."

The Sun in a leader: "National Union of Journalists’ leader Michelle Stanistreet wants to surrender centuries of hard-won Press freedom for Government control of the Press. We would end up like Russia, Zimbabwe and Iran, with State stooges and politicians deciding what can or can’t be printed in your Sun. With journalists facing arrest for disobeying official censors, it would be the end of free speech in our country. Stanistreet should at least have the decency to ballot NUJ members before speaking out. And to think we had Bob Crow down as the most dangerous union leader in Britain."

Michelle Stanistreet hits back at the Sun on Press Gazette: "Do they really believe all of this? Or is this just part of the orchestrated and pretty predictable campaign the industry owners and editors are currently running in advance of the publication of the Leveson report, funded and motivated by the deep pockets and vested interests of those with who fear that they’ll no longer be able to get away with a form of self-regulation that has existed merely to serve their own interests for years?"

The Telegraph in a leader: "As Lord Justice Leveson and his committee prepare to issue their report into the phone-hacking scandal, and offer recommendations on regulation, those with the most to gain from constraining the press in its vital task of holding the powerful to account are doing their utmost to ensure that the Government endorses the most restrictive regime on offer. What is especially alarming is to find the National Union of Journalists – which claims to represent the industry – training its guns on its own side."

Michael White on the Guardian's Politics Blog: "Well, I stoutly defend the Telegraph's right to write rubbish. But this is poor stuff and would be even if it did not flow from a union-bashing newspaper (does it recognise the NUJ for negotiating purposes? I think not) owned by a pair of elderly property moguls, not locally resident for tax purposes, who have laid waste to the paper's formerly sturdy character."

Chris Wheal on Press Gazette: "The NUJ must ballot its members over whether or not to support statutory regulation (or regulation underpinned by statute).  It must announce that referendum now to stop members resigning. It must ask those who have resigned to rescind their resignations while the ballot goes on. And it must ensure the ballot is free and fair with both sides given equal space and resources to campaign among the membership for yes and no votes."

KelvinMacKenzie on the Huffington Post"So in the Sun today when a phone goes on the Sun newsdesk and the journalists are told a shocking story they then ask the nervous caller a strange question; Are you a state employee? Because if you are, no matter how big or important your story is, we cannot listen to you or pay you money for your information because both of us stand a healthy chance of being arrested. And so instead of beginning to investigate a major scandal the connection is broken and the frustrated journalists sit back and wait for the next X Factor handout or government announcement. Meanwhile, the Jimmy Savile's of this world will go free while those wanting to expose them face going to jail. It's barmy and its wrong."

Lord Fowler, Sir Malcolm Rifkind and others in a letter to the Guardian: "The prime minister was right to set up the Leveson inquiry. While it has been uncomfortable for both politicians and the press, it also represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put things right. Parliament must not duck the challenge."

Professor Steven Barnett  and other academics in letter to the Guardian: "Were it not for the Guardian's commitment to courageous and outstanding investigative journalism – in the teeth of bitter resistance by the PCC and its controlling press interests – we would never have discovered the true scale of abuse and corruption in parts of the press. This is surely the moment to push for a genuinely independent regulator, founded in law, which could command real public trust and reinvigorate public interest journalism. For the Guardian meekly to surrender this opportunity in favour of yet more self-regulation is a sad finale to its own exemplary journalism."

Mail on Sunday in a leader: "The Government is immeasurably richer and more powerful than the massed battalions of Fleet Street, and routinely mishandles and mistreats powerless individuals. It also snoops on us without restraint, protected by the same laws that rightly punish journalistic phone hackers. Whatever proposals Lord Justice Leveson may have for press regulation, it is essential that they do not end by making the Government more powerful and unaccountable than it already is."

Dominic Sandbrook in the Mail on Sunday: "From the Leveson Inquiry in London to the attempted comeback of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, and from the salons of Paris to the committee rooms of Brussels, there are disturbing signs of a backlash against democracy, free speech and the will of the people — a counter-revolution that could sweep away many of the liberties we take for granted."

Simon Duke in the Sunday Times [£]: "It is also debatable how much cost Montgomery can realistically strip out of Northcliffe. The Daily Mail group is run on a tight budget, and Steve Auckland, Northcliffe’s boss, has instituted several rounds of austerity cuts across the local and regional titles in recent years."

Peter Preston in the Observer on the Irish Press Council: "The Irish solution has flourished so far because, most of the time, it deals in persuasion – because it demands few of the penalties and obeisances Leveson has on his list."

Rebekah Brooks in email to David Cameron, leaked to the Mail on Sunday: "Brilliant speech. I cried twice. Will love working together."
 
[£] = pay wall

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Anti-Page 3 campaigners to tell supermarket giants why advertising in the Sun is a 'bad idea'



















Campaigners behind the petition urging Sun editor Dominic Mohan to drop the topless Page 3 girls in his paper say they have set up meetings with supermarket giants Tesco and Morrisons.

Lucy Holmes, who started the "Dominic Mohan: Take The Bare Boobs Out Of The Sun #nomorepage3 petition," has told supporters in an email: 

"Just a little note to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU for all the effort you put into contacting The Sun’s major advertisers, and for enduring the inconvenience of shopping elsewhere last week. We are thrilled to say that Tesco and Morrison’s have agreed to meet us and give us an hour of their time to present our case and discuss with them why continued support of The Sun and Page Three, is a bad idea for their business.  We will keep you posted about these developments."

The petition has already attracted more than 50,000 signatures.

Obama: Sometimes a one word headline is enough

This is how a selection of US newspapers covered the outcome of the presidential race with just one word in the headline - Obama.






.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Telegraph says NUJ is 'training guns on own side'

Stanistreet: 'Managerial gobbledegook'

First it was the Sun, now the Telegraph is giving the NUJ leadership a hammering for the union's backing of press regulation underpinned by statute.

The Telegraph in an editorial, headlined 'Keep the press free', says: "For supporters of a free press, the weeks ahead are among the most important in living memory. As Lord Justice Leveson and his committee prepare to issue their report into the phone-hacking scandal, and offer recommendations on regulation, those with the most to gain from constraining the press in its vital task of holding the powerful to account are doing their utmost to ensure that the Government endorses the most restrictive regime on offer. What is especially alarming is to find the National Union of Journalists – which claims to represent the industry – training its guns on its own side.

"The NUJ has recently announced its support for a system of press regulation underpinned by statute – or, as its general secretary, Michelle Stanistreet, put it, “a structure that involves journalists and civil society as key stakeholders”. There are three objections to this stance. The first is that her statement is suffused with managerial gobbledegook of a kind that ill befits a trade devoted to the written word. The second is that the policy is simply wrong-headed, especially coming from a body that cites “working to protect and promote media freedom” as one of its chief functions.

"Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the statement, however, is its unilateral nature. Doubtless some few of the NUJ’s members would support such a regime, just as some few engaged in the repulsive practice of phone-hacking. But the vast majority will be alarmed that the general secretary has presumed to speak on their behalf on such an issue, with barely a hint of consultation. This may seem a parochial issue, but it is vitally important. The defenders of a free press are few enough in number. For the NUJ to be willing to sacrifice those hard-won freedoms on the altar of Left-wing orthodoxy suggests that it is no longer fit to represent its members – who may now wish to reconsider their subscriptions."

  • The NUJ leadership has for some time made clear it supported independent self-regulation of the press underpinned by statute, along the lines of the Irish Press Council. But there was a Twitterstorm this week after the policy, already backed by the union's conference, was highlighted by Press Gazette and was picked up by the national press. It has led to some NUJ members threatening to resign from the union and others calling for a ballot of the whole membership on the issue.
  • The NUJ has responded to the 'Leveson backlash' here
  • MediaWise director Mike Jempson defends the NUJ from 'Fleet Street bullying' here.
  • Pic: Michelle Stanistreet by Jon Slattery

Storm Sandy and US election dominate UK news
















The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy and the US presidential election were the most covered news stories in the UK for the week ending Sunday, November 4, according to journalisted.

Hurricane Sandy hits east coast of America, leaving tens of people dead, generated 780 articles.
Other top stories were:
Covered little, according to journalisted, were:

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Simply stunning: NY magazine's storm front page


 Fantastic front page by New York magazine on Hurricane Sandy using a picture by Iwan Baan and the simple headline: 'The City and the Storm'. (Click on front page to make it bigger).

The magazine has to switch to a temporary office after its own had its power blacked out.

The New York editors write: "An improvised newsroom was soon up and running, with 32 editors, photo editors, designers, and production specialists squeezed around a conference-room table, down the length of which snaked a tangle of power strips, extension cords, and chargers resembling similar arrays sprouting across the city.

"At this point, proofs were due to go to press in 72 hours. Staffers spent them scrambling to secure writers and photographers as well as exchanging personal e-mail addresses to make it possible to transfer files (our servers were still down), arranging car pools, finding rooms at three different hotels for colleagues from darkened neighborhoods, and draining our hosts of coffee and soda.

"The easiest part of a harried three days came Friday around noon, when we met to settle on the cover. A photograph taken by Iwan Baan on Wednesday night, showing the Island of Manhattan, half aglow and half in dark, was the clear choice, for the way it fit with the bigger story we have tried to tell here about a powerful city rendered powerless. We crammed back into the conference room, raced to finish our pages, and hoped, like other New Yorkers, that everyone would find the lights on when they got home."

Via Huff Post

Friday, 2 November 2012

Quotes of the Week: From Jeremy Clarkson in agony to Karl Marx on a free press - plus Boris

















Jeremy Clarkson after appearing in the Sun's famed agony aunt Dear Deidre's photo casebook (top):"The highlight of my life, I have no more worlds to conquer."

Belfast Telegraph editor Mike Gilson, as reported by Hold The Front Page: “We are in a crazy time with the press, where this very specific and damaging thing has become far too big and Leveson is a juggernaut, which I’m afraid that we may not be able to stop.” 

A government source tells the Daily Telegraph what Culture Secretary Maria Miller told Hugh Grant and other members of the Hacked Off campaign: “The Culture Secretary made it clear she is not prejudging Leveson but said that whatever the outcome of the inquiry, something tough and independent would be needed.”

Francis Beckett in an article for Tribune: "News International is the most top-down, micro-managed organisation I know. Freelance writers get to know the difference between news organisations. If you get a series of idiot questions from your editor at The Guardian, it’s because you’re dealing with an idiot. At Murdoch’s Sunday Times, it’s because your editor isn’t in charge – they have constantly to satisfy the next person up in the food chain."

Joshua Rozenberg, writing on the Legal Cheek blog: "As a job it is very easy, which is why so many people go into journalism when they have nothing better to do. What’s difficult now, though, is getting a job in journalism. With newspapers in rapid decline and the electronic media paying little or nothing to contributors, the chances of making a living out of it – unless you started when I did – are vanishingly small. So my advice for anyone seeking to follow in my footsteps is: don’t."

Martin Ivens in the Sunday Times (£): "The BBC’s defenders in The Guardian complain that the politicians and the press are judging it too harshly. They would, wouldn’t they? The BBC’s executives have followed that newspaper’s agenda relentlessly. After the corporation’s sensationalist coverage of the Leveson inquiry into newspaper ethics, only a heart of stone could now forbear to laugh at its misfortunes."

The Guardian in an editorial on press regulation: "We do believe in a contract system – not the use of statute – to secure participation. But we also believe in an arbitral arm which incentivises the regulated to pursue high standards and penalises anyone who walks away. We believe that the regulator must have real investigatory powers and sanctions. And, above all, we believe in the importance of plurality."

Boris Johnson in the Telegraph: "You can’t 'strike journalists off”, as if they were accountants or lawyers or gynaecologists. They aren’t a profession: they are a great pulsating rabble of people who are distinguished only by our desire – I will not say our ability – to write any old thing for any kind of ephemeral publication. Anyone can be a journalist. You just have to start a blog, break a few stories, and bingo, you are a household name." 

More Boris in the Telegraph: "We need a paper that believes the answer to all problems is more tax and more regulation. We need to have the enemy in plain view, on the table, in the shops – not skulking online. We need to know what not to think. So I appeal now to all Conservatives and indeed anyone interested in preserving our national heritage. Even if we only have a few hundred copies left, let us keep the Guardian’s print edition – displayed in town halls, perhaps, like the People’s Daily. Never mind the badger. Save the Guardian from extinction!"

Brian Cathcart on Comment is Free: "One of the problems that Leveson was asked to investigate was the undue influence of the press over politicians. It is at the very least ironic that the very same influence could now threaten the fate of his report."

MorrisOx posting on Roy Greenslade's blog: "The history of national group strategies in regional newspapers is an awful one (particularly online). These were small, locally-owned businesses who tolerated good years and bad years. Today, they are struggling to sweat plc-level returns out of a market which can't deliver them, so are locked into a downward spiral of cost-cutting." 

on Twitter: "Hugh Grant writes in Spectator: "I trudge on to Newsnight or Question Time like Saddam to the scaffold" Why we need metaphor regulation."

Karl Marx on press freedom, as quoted by Mick Hume at the Free Speech Network launch event: "You cannot enjoy the advantages of a free press without putting up with its inconveniences. You cannot pluck the rose without its thorns!"
(£) = paywall.