Thursday, 28 February 2013

Pistorius granted bail is top news story of the week

Oscar Pistorius continues to dominate the headlines with his successful bail application being the most covered story of the week ending Sunday, February 24, according to journalisted.

Top stories were:

Covered little, according to journalisted, were:
Journalisted weekly statistics are calculated based on articles published on national news websites, BBC News online and Sky News online. 

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

NUJ reaches settlement at Guardian and Observer

The NUJ says it has reached an agreement with the Guardian and Observer as compulsory redundancies have been withdrawn and staff cuts will be achieved by negotitaion.

A ballot had been held backing possible strike action by NUJ members at the newspapers if compulsory job cuts were made.

The NUJ says: "The union and management are now committed to a 12-month process of negotiating the changes necessary to bring about further cost reductions and the digital transition at the papers. Any future reductions in staffing levels will be achieved by negotiation."

Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ deputy general secretary, added: “I am pleased that the hard work put in by both sides has achieved an outcome that should create the positive climate necessary to safeguard the future of the titles and at the same time guarantee the quality of content so vital to their success.

"It is essential that the digital coupled with an affordable print version is based on the highest standards of journalism and a positive engagement with their readers.”
The NUJ says both parties have agreed to negotiate a revised house agreement and will exchange proposals with a view to reporting back to the chapel and staff in three months’ time. The union claims both sides are confident that a new agreement can be negotiated and intend to conclude this by the end of financial year 2013/14.

It also says the company will implement the salary recommendations from the HR department following the work of the pay audit group from April 1 and it will continue to consider requests for voluntary redundancy in order to manage the restructuring of the staff and organisation. The company will use the redeployment agreement as part of this process.

'Royal Charter press regulation plan won't happen'

Mick Hume makes a point to Hacked Off's Evan Harris (pic: Jon Slattery)
The proposed Royal Charter plan for a new press regulation system will not happen, Hacked Off associate director Evan Harris predicted at a Media Society debate in London last night.

Harris, a former Liberal Democrat MP, said: "There is no sign of agreement. It is far short of Leveson. I don't believe a Royal Charter will happen" and claimed that there was "no agreement on about 20 issues."

Speaking at the launch of a new book of essays, After Leveson?, The Future of British Journalism, Harris said the Liberal Democrats and Labour supported the recommendations of the "very moderate" Leveson Report.

Harris also claimed that press representatives have insisted that a proposed "conscience clause" for journalists - which would protect them from being sacked if they refused to act unethically in pursuing a story - be kept out of any new press regulation proposal.

The clause was supported by Leveson and has been a long term aim of the NUJ which wants it included in journalists' work contracts.

The debate, in which Mick Hume, author of There Is No Such Thing As A Free Press, took a strong anti-Leveson line to counter Harris, generated more heat than light.

Hume argued that the press was "cowed" by Leveson. He told Harris: "This is a fucking war. A free press is the bedrock of a democratic society."

He described the NUJ, left wingers and liberals who had embraced much of the Leveson Report as "a disgrace".

Speaking from the audience, Dorothy Byrne, commissioning editor for Channel 4 news and current affairs , said big corporations and Governments have tried their best to use Ofcom regulations to block legitimate investigations by Channel 4, including its programmes on war crimes in Sri Lanka.

She added: "Anybody thinking about legal regulation of the press needs to take into account that large corporations and evil regimes will try to use it to stop freedom of speech."

Former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis spoke of his ordeal of being on bail for 21 months over the hacking inquiry before police said no action would be taken.

"Frankly, the experience has been horrendous, " he said. "Twenty-one months of being on bail not being charged at the behest of the state is horrendous. That's a pretty scary place to be."

Wallis said his case raised big issues not just about journalists but other areas of the law on the length of time people can be kept on bail without being charged.
  • After Leveson?, The Future of British Journalism, edited by John Mair, is published by Abramis at £19:95.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

After Leveson: 'Hackademics and pundits more interested in doing something about the popular press than preserving the freedoms of all the press'

Many of  the meetings that followed the Leveson Report were "lofty" gatherings in which media academics and pundits were more interested in doing something about the popular press rather than preserving the freedom of all the press, according to Professor Peter Cole, the ex-editor of the Sunday Correspondent and former head of journalism at both Sheffield University and UCLAN.

Professor Cole, one of the contributors to After Leveson? The Future of British Journalism, edited by John Mair, writes: "From the moment the Leveson Inquiry was set up there emerged a small industry of journalist navel-gazers, media pundits, columnists, broadcasters and reporters, editors with a reputation for playing a part in wider media debates, media lawyers and the journalism lecturers and researchers, with and without a professional journalism past (known as the ‘hackademics’!). Whither journalism? debates were held up and down the land.

Cole says: "There followed very many meetings organised by campaigning groups and university media and journalism departments. There were meetings of major media figures (some requiring payment from the public to attend), which tended to feature a regular repertory company of pundits some of whom appeared on a succession of platforms.

"The meetings were frequently lofty, seldom including representation (of advocates or views) from the popular press which was at the heart of the Leveson inquiry. The ‘hackademics’ seemed often to be the most detached from the real commercial world, some giving the impression that all would be well if the Guardian was the only newspaper on sale, distaste for the Daily Mail and all things Murdoch seemingly a badge of office.

Cole adds: "While there was an impressive core at the heart of the repertory company, mostly of former senior media executives (journalists and lawyers) who had had experience of and thought seriously about regulation and press freedom, too often those who spoke up in the debates appeared to have a low opinion of journalism in general rather than a respect for its watchdog role and its achievements in flushing out the corrupt and the abusers of power, not always the most straightforward or squeaky clean activity.

"And they did not like to pollute their idealism with commercial considerations, like the fact that newspapers need to make money to exist. Too often the emphasis at these meetings was doing something about the popular press rather than preserving the freedoms of all the press.

"After all, if the police investigations had uncovered the extent of illegal phone hacking when it was first brought to their attention there would have been no need for Leveson. As it is, those areas of the press that have behaved disreputably and despicably have been so shamed by the evidence given to the Inquiry that such behaviour should not recur."

Some other quotes from After Leveson?:

Leveson's impact on the Regional Press

Tor Clark, of De Montfort University: "The injustice of being kept behind after school because the naughty boys from the nationals misbehaved, the UK regional press has little to fear from tougher regulation because it is unlikely to be a major offender and if Leveson’s comments about the value of local journalism do hit home, as they appear to have done for some MPs already, Leveson’s impact is at worst neutral to the regional press and at best doubly positive in allowing it to be lauded as a responsible media while having overdue light shone on its positive role and current plight."

Paul Marsden, of Coventry University: "For the moment it appears pragmatism is the order of the day in government ranks. Looking forward to a difficult General Election in 2015 it appears the
Conservative Party is more pre-occupied with staying in bed with the national press than assisting their local relatives out of their hospices."

Why journalism should consider itself a profession

Richard Sambrook of the Cardiff University Centre for Journalism: "In rejecting the notion of 'professionalism' along with statutory regulation newspapers may do themselves a disservice. ‘Rat-like cunning a plausible manner and a little literary ability’ may have been sufficient fifty years ago. Today’s media, transformed in scale reach and influence, requires a different approach. A 24 hour global, converged media, undergoing rapid change, dealing with a constant deluge of information, and exerting huge influence over all our lives, should not be hesitant about calling itself a profession. It requires consistent editorial discipline and skills supported by industry-focused training and continuous development – to raise standards, establish an ethical culture, build public trust and raise morale. And perhaps in so doing, to secure a stronger long-term future."

Dave will do a deal

Media commentator Ray Snoddy:"However shrill the Hacked Off campaign gets, the political realities suggest a deal will be done by David Cameron, with the support of senior Cabinet ministers such as Education secretary Michael Gove, Foreign Secretary William Hague and the press barons."
  • After Leveson?, The Future of British Journalism, edited by John Mair, is published today (February 26) by Abramis at £19:95.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Media Quotes of the Week: From the Oscar Pistorius case to will Peter Hitchens end up in jail?

The Independent on the Oscar Pistorius case: "The slow grind of South Africa's justice system, which barely recognises contempt of court, has been unable to keep pace in the era of social media and rolling TV news. As a consequence, the first disabled global sports superstar has found himself deluged with accusations and insinuations masquerading as facts."

The Daily Telegraph in an editorial: "In refusing to 'cross the Rubicon' of statutory regulation, David Cameron displayed commendable courage. But now he must summon that courage again. If the Royal Charter proposals are allowed to drift into the sand, we risk ending up with confusion and chaos – the three parties utterly divided; Lord Puttnam’s slapdash proposals slipping in through the back door; separate regimes in Scotland and perhaps Northern Ireland; and a press that has been free for 300 years trammelled and intimidated by those with privilege and power. Such people claim to be determined to make Fleet Street suffer for its sins. They do not seem to care that if they get their way, the health of our democracy will suffer even more."

The Guardian in an editorial: "It is ironic – to put it at its lowest – that the senior ranks of the Met and other forces have taken advantage of the phone-hacking affair to try to make it more difficult for their officers to work with journalists to disclose information which is being concealed to the detriment of the public interest."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, as reported by the Telegraph, to a reporter: "Why do you look at me?" Reporter: "Because it's your press conference."

Steve Dyson on HoldTheFrontPage on ads for the Daily Mirror's free iPad edition appearing in Trinity Mirror's daily regional papers: "These Daily Mirror iPad adverts in regional dailies are clumsy, wrong-footed and potentially very damaging. Worse, the national, red top parent has barged in wearing its hobnailed size-13s at the worst possible time – just when staff are desperately trying to muster enough resource in the latest restructure that sees scores of regional hacks axed to help fund dozens of new Daily Mirror staff."

Lord Lester in the Sun: "Free speech in this country is in grave danger of being stifled by party political gamesmanship. The threat comes from politicians who have hijacked an attempt to reform our out-of-date, repressive libel law by clogging the Defamation Bill with wrecking amendments. They and the Hacked Off campaign want to use the Bill — which is currently going through Parliament and should be purely about libel reform — to force through a draconian version of Sir Brian Leveson’s proposals."

Dan Hodges on his Telegraph blog: "If we want our press operating under the protective blanket of Leveson, fine. But let’s not continue to peddle the myth that blanket regulation won’t prove restrictive to good journalists, as well as bad. We don’t need to stare into the crystal ball to know what impact Leveson will have on public interest journalism. We can see it every day, as another journalist or public official receives the 6am knock at the door."

Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday: "I genuinely fear that I will go to prison before I die, for writing or saying something that is no longer allowed. I have met quite a lot of people who hate me and my views so much that they would very much like this to happen."

Friday, 15 February 2013

Quotes of the Week: From Fleet Street Fox to how knowing Latin got a journalist a worldwide scoop

Susie Boniface (aka Fleet Street Fox) reveals herself in The Times [£]: "It’s funny, my real name, Susie Boniface, has been in papers for 18 years and Fleet Street Fox has been around for five minutes, but she’s better known than I am. Recently someone told me: 'Wow! You’re Fleet Street Fox! If anyone can be trusted, you can.' Very flattering, but it puts a dent in your self-esteem when your creation is more popular than you are. Added to which, my — her — story is about to be read by more strangers than ever. It’s a bit like being married, only she is someone I can’t divorce."

Daily Telegraph in a leader: "Police investigating allegations of newspaper phone hacking yesterday arrested six journalists from the now defunct News of the World as part of Operation Weeting. This means that 106 people are now either awaiting trial or are on bail as a result of three connected inquiries involving 169 detectives and staff. Yet not a single person has been questioned, let alone detained, by police in connection with the deaths of up to 1,200 patients at Stafford Hospital."

Financial Times editor Lionel Barber interviewed in the Guardian:  "News now is not the newspaper, but papers still need a sense of timeliness and relevance, and also urgency – but you don't need to do that through publishing what happened incrementally at 11 o'clock last night in London. It's about sheer good reporting or providing under-reported material, and display can convey urgency."

Barack Obama, from the website celebating `125 years of the Financial Times: "I read the Financial Times before other people read the Financial Times. Now it’s trendy and everybody carries around a Financial Times."  

Matthew Parris in the The Times [£] on the amendement to the Defamation BIll: "The Commons must now consider the amendment, which will have supporters in all parties: many MPs hate journalists, and not without reason. Unless Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg think again, call in the rogue decision their respective tribes took in the Lords and whip through the Commons the overturning of new clause 2, the Government will either have to pull the plug on the whole Libel Bill, or else cave in to the Hacked Off campaign. The first would be a wretched shame. The second would be a catastrophe."

Rupert Murdoch responds to tweet from @Kazipooh claiming page three girls are "so last century!": "Rupert Murdoch  @rupertmurdoch "You maybe right, don't know but considering. Perhaps halfway house with glamorous fashionistas."  

But later adds.. : "So Page 3 tweet is breaking news... Typical OTT reaction by the UK PC crew. Just considering, as we do every page daily Buy it and see....."

 Hacked Off director Brian Cathcart on the Royal Charter plan for press regulation, as reported by BBC News: "All the elements suggest that the press have been given concessions and that the minister has put the interests of the press before the interests of the public."
Culture Secretary Maria Miller, as quoted in the Guardian, claims the Royal Charter press regulator: “Would see the toughest press regulation this country has ever seen, without compromising press freedom".”

ANSA journalist Giovanna Chirri who was the first to report the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI thanks to her polished Latin skills: "The pope's Latin is very easy to understand...his resignation didn't seem real to me...I told myself  'you misunderstood'...It made me cry. I fought to keep my nerve despite my knees feeling weak".

[£] = pay wall.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

NUJ boycotts editors' code consultation over snub

Stanistreet: 'Lord Hunt conspiring in secret'
The NUJ is boycotting a consultation on the editors' code of practice, chaired by Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre, after claiming it has being excluded from newspaper industry talks on what might replace the Press Complaints Commission following the Leveson Report.

The union says it will be boycotting the code of conduct consultation, which has been extended to 17 April, unless the union is made a member of the code committee.

A core participant of the Leveson Inquiry, the |NUJ claims it has been excluded from meetings and consultations by industry bodies and those convened by Lord Hunt, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission.

At the Leveson inquiry, the NUJ argued for a "conscience clause" to be included in journalists' contracts which would prevent them from being fired for refusing to act unethically in pursuit of a story.

Michelle Stanistreet (top), NUJ general secretary, said: "Despite Lord Leveson's damning criticism of the Press Complaints Commission, the Prime Minister is allowing Lord Hunt to conspire in secret with the same cronies – the proprietors and the editors of the national press.

"All negotiations now appear to be behind closed doors, with no consultation with organisations such as the NUJ, which represents media workers, nor bodies representing the public. Already the response to the inquiry appears to be a stitch up, with David Cameron doing the bidding of the national press editors and owners.

"In his recommendations Lord Leveson said 'greater transparency about meetings and contacts should be considered not just as a future project but as an immediate need, not least in relation to interactions relevant to any consideration of this report'. Are his words being ignored so soon?"

The NUJ has condemned the Conservative Party’s attempt to introduce the Leveson recommendations on press regulation through a Royal Charter as "pointless and doomed to failure".

Professor Chris Frost, chair of the NUJ’s Ethics Council, said: “The Conservative Party has turned the Prime Minister’s promises on their head in order to appease his friends in big business. David Cameron has completely ignored the key recommendations made by Leveson and, in doing so, has failed the victims of phone hacking, failed thousands of working journalists who are doing an important job incredibly well and deserve the support of a true regulator and failed the general public who deserve a press in which they can have some trust.”

Pic: Jon Slattery

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Happy Birthday to the FT: 125 and still in the pink

Great material on this special website  which is celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Financial Times.

It includes staff reminiscences and this great quote from Barack Obama, taken from an interview with the FT in 2009: "I read the Financial Times before other people read the Financial Times. Now it’s trendy and everybody carries around a Financial Times."

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Huhne's guilty plea most covered UK news story

Chris Huhne admitting to a charge of perverting the course of justice and resigning from Parliament was the top UK news story for the week ending Sunday, February 10, according to journalisted.

Most covered stories of the week were:
Covered little, according to journalisted were:
Journalisted weekly statistics are calculated based on articles published on national news websites, BBC News online and Sky News online.   

Monday, 11 February 2013

NUJ fights Manchester police production order over EDL demo film shot by video journalist

The NUJ is resisting  an application by Greater Manchester Police for a production order which would force video journalist Jason N. Parkinson to hand over film of an English Defence League march and counter protest.

The application is for all published and unpublished film shot between the hours of 10.30am and 12.30pm at the EDL march and a counter protest organised by Unite Against Fascism in Bolton on Saturday 20 March 2010. A hearing is set for  Monday 18 February.

Parkinson with the full support of the NUJ intends to oppose the production order.

He said: "I am not willing to hand unpublished material over. Journalists report the news and are not evidence gatherers for the police or anyone else. To do so would endanger the safety of all journalists in similar situations in the future. We would not be regarded as independent and would become greater targets from all sides.

"Also handing over the footage could overturn the incredibly important victory for press freedom we achieved fighting the Dale Farm production order last year."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: “Jason Parkinson is a front line journalist and should have the right to work in the public interest without fearing he will be forced to hand over his footage. The union will continue to support Jason’s campaign to protect journalistic sources and material.”
  • Parkinson was served a production order in 2011 for all film he shot over the two days of the Dale Farm eviction in Essex. Major national broadcasters also opposed the production order. In a united effort, the NUJ led an eight-month battle in partnership with the BBC, ITN, Sky and Hardcash Productions that ended in the Royal Courts of Justice. In May 2012 Judge Moses overturned the original Dale Farm production order in a huge win for press freedom in the UK.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Local press wins fight to keep £20m traffic ads

The Newspaper Society and local press have won the fight to keep millions of pounds of advertising after the Government announced that proposals to remove the requirement for Traffic Regulation Orders to be advertised by councils in local newspapers are to be abandoned.

Responding to a question in the House of Commons, Transport Minister Norman Baker said "a clear majority of responses from MPs and local newspapers" had been against any change which the NS believes would have posed a dangerous threat to the public right to know, and could have cost the industry an estimated £20 million a year.

Baker told the Commons that a a clear majority of responses from local government were in favour of the proposed change  and the matter would be kept "under review".

The NS said: "The Government has rightly abandoned the proposals to remove Traffic Regulation Orders from local papers which could have resulted in important information being hidden from public view. The outcome of this consultation has again demonstrated that local papers are the most effective medium to communicate public notices and that the public wish for them to remain there.

"The Home Office, which is currently consulting on dropping mandatory local newspaper advertising of applications for alcohol licences, should take note of this outcome and the outcome of similar consultations in recent years relating to planning notices and traffic notices in Wales."
  • The NS published research last April backing its campaign for the local press tpo keep the traffic ads.

Quotes of the Week: From press gets credit for Chris Huhne's downfall to low pay is en Vogue

The Sun in a leader: "Be in no doubt. Were it not for The Sunday Times, lying Lib Dem toad Chris Huhne would be sitting bold as brass in the Cabinet today. Indeed, he might have been Deputy PM. He was a whisker from beating Nick Clegg to the Lib Dem leadership in 2007. Those urging a Leveson law to muzzle the Press should reflect hard on yesterday’s sensational events."

Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail: "For all its sins, the News of the World did expose the financial and moral shenanigans of politicians. After the Leveson Inquiry, some members of the political class are lining up to do their utmost to make it more difficult for other newspapers to do the same. If we can be sure that without the News of the World, Chris Huhne would still be lording it over us in the Department of Energy, we also have good reasons for wondering whether in a post-Leveson world it would be possible for newspapers to expose the mass fiddling of expenses by MPs."

Ex-News of the World reporter Tim Wood on the Exaro News website on News Corp's Management and Standards Committee: "The MSC was established to counter damaging claims of a cover-up at News International over phone hacking. But I believe that it has gone too far, betraying more confidential sources than any other body or person in the history of journalism."

Andrew Sullivan in the Sunday Times [£]: "Go to a dentist’s waiting room and look around. Once upon a time this was the equivalent of a prison cell in which it was mandatory to read magazines. What else were you going to do: admire the bad art on the walls? These days everyone is looking at their phones. The other week I saw someone on a train holding a broadsheet newspaper open to read and thought: did he forget his iPad?" 

Jemima Khan in the New Statesman: "We all want a hero. After WikiLeaks released the infamous Collateral Murder video in 2010, showing US troops gunning down a dozen civilians in Iraq, I jokingly asked if Assange was the new Jason Bourne, on the run and persecuted by the state. It would be a tragedy if a man who has done so much good were to end up tolerating only disciples and unwavering devotion, more like an Australian L Ron Hubbard." 

Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail: "These are sinister times for all those of us who believe in the freedom of the Press, which is under sustained assault from the police and the political class. The sentence handed to DCI Casburn could have been designed to put the frighteners on future whistleblowers. If dozens of journalists were being rounded up without charge in Russia or Iran, the so-called 'liberal' Establishment would be screaming from the rooftops. But when it happens in their own backyard, not a dicky bird."

Peter Preston in the Observer on broadcasters support for statutory regulation of newspapers: "But surely Greg Dyke and Kevin Marsh remember the catastrophe of Andrew Gilligan, David Kelly and the Hutton report? Surely Kevin remembers the Downing Street waves that lapped around him? And surely Greg remembers the vote by the BBC governors – chaired then by a former chief whip – that swept him out of office? It might be helpful at this difficult stage if lovers of editorial freedom rattled the chains that tie them down rather than demanded more chains for everyone."

Former Nottingham Evening Post editor Barrie Williams on Press Gazette: "In Nottingham in 1993 I took on 17 kids straight from comprehensive schools, gave them each a bike and a laptop and let them loose on their own council estates to serve a neglected readership with which most over-educated middle-class ‘proper’ journalists had no rapport whatsoever. I’ve never forgiven my successor for abandoning that project!"

Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman in the Sunday Times Magazine [£]: "We’ve recently grown from a staff of 36 to 50, and as it is I’m already horrified by how little people earn."

[£] = paywall.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

70th anniversary of Battle of Stalingrad is top story

The 70th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad, seen by many as the turning point of the Second World War in Europe, was the most covered story in the UK national media in the week ending Sunday, February 3, according to journalisted.

The top stories of the week were:

Covered little, according to journalisted, were:
Journalisted weekly statistics are calculated based on articles published on national news websites, BBC News online and Sky News online.  

Guardan and Observer staff in strike action vote

Guardian and Observer office (pic: Jon Slattery)
A clear majority of NUJ members on the Guardian and Observer have voted in a ballot that they are "prepared" to take strike action in their dispute over compulsory redundancies.

A Guardian News & Media spokesperson said: "We are still at ACAS and talks continue. We remain hopeful that this will be resolved through negotiation."

GN&M said it needed to cut 100 editorial posts as part of a plan to make £7million savings to the annual budget. The NUJ, in negotiation with the management, says it has so far halved that target through agreed voluntary redundancies. The union has also asked for those identified as under threat to be put on a redeployment register.

Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ deputy general secretary, said: “We are still in talks at Acas, the arbitration service, and hope for a negotiated settlement. The editor Alan Rusbridger and the Guardian management must now reflect on the strength of the vote and what is says in terms of their staff’s confidence in them.

"The union has suggested a whole range of cost-cutting measures – including cuts to executive pay, job sharing and more part-time working. The management has taken a serious risk of jeopardising the culture within the Guardian by trying to force through compulsory redundancies.”

The ballot result was:

There were 424 ballot papers returned (including one spoilt)

In answer to the question "Are you prepared to take strike action" the vote was:

Yes: 345 (81.6%)
No: 78 (18.4%)

In answer to the question "Are you prepared to take action short of a strike" the vote was:

Yes: 374 (88.4%)

No: 49 (11.6%)

Brian Williams, Guardian FoC, said: “The result speaks for itself. We will use this strong message from the chapel as the basis for establishing the future stability of the company, taking into account the concerns of the papers’ journalists.” 

  • At the end of last year the GN&M outlined its targets for job cuts – including 22 from Guardian news (including the business, media, society, education and consumer desks); 15 from culture, features, Saturday Guardian and Guardian Weekly; eight from sport; three from comment; eight from the Observer and six from pictures.
  • The Guardian and Observer NUJ chapel has its own website here.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Quotes of the Week: From Evans lashes Leveson critics to broadcasters say there's nothing to fear

Sir Harold Evans (top) giving the Hugh Cudlipp Lecture: "As depressing as exposure of the dark arts has been, it is deepened by the cynicism and arrogance of much of the reaction to Leveson, coming from figures in the press who did nothing to penetrate - indeed whose inertia assisted - the cover-up conducted into oblivion by News International, a cover up which would have  continued, but for the skill of Nick Davies and the courage of his editor."

Celia Walden (aka Mrs. Piers Morgan) writes in the Daily Telegraph on why she's fed-up of her husband tweeting: "When he walked into the kitchen recently, beaming, to tell me that he was trending worldwide – whatever that means – because “the members of One Direction tweeted 'Piers Morgan is smelly’,” I should have skipped the divorce lawyer and demanded the keys to the house right there."

Antonia de Sancha sums up her situation in the Daily Telegraph: “Screwed by Mellor, screwed by Max.”

on Twitter: "Gerald Scarfe has never reflected the opinions of the Sunday Times. Nevertheless, we owe major apology for grotesque, offensive cartoon."

Gerald Scarfe, as reported by Press Gazette: “The Sunday Times has given me the freedom of speech over the last 46 years to criticize world leaders for what I see as their wrong-doings. This drawing was a criticism of Netanhayu, and not of the Jewish people: there was no slight whatsoever intended against him. I was, however, stupidly completely unaware that it would be printed on Holocaust day, and I apologise for the very unfortunate timing.”

John Samuel in the Guardian on Frank Keating:  "Few modern sports writers have brought alive sporting people, past and present, champions and also-rans, as Keating did. Few have written with such sympathy, able to laugh with them, not at them, at the same time minting fresh, inventive phraseology. He created a new language for the nation's sporting press. He was unique, and beloved by contemporaries, who saw his writing skills and awards as a guiding path for their own."

Matthew Engel on Frank Keating in the Guardian: "I learned the hard way never to estimate the old devil on what might have been the very first day I met him: in the press box at Northamptonshire when I was the evening paper cricket reporter circa 1974. I was discussing with a local colleague when we might announce the information we had about some trivial injury or team selection news, and assumed there was no risk talking when there was only fey, polysyllabic Mr Keating in earshot. The decision was made for us: Mr Keating announced the news in next morning's paper."

on Twitter: "Buzz unabated that Mike Bloomberg wants to buy . Now some saying his favorite editor is John Micklethwait

Iain Dale on his blog: "Our public life is being corrupted by a permanent sneer and cynical outlook by those who report on it. Yes, to some extent it’s the fault of those who serve in public life. The trouble is that the way politics is now reported in the print and broadcast media, it’s a wonder anyone wants to go into it. And this is why increasingly we will get a political class made up of geeks and obsessives. Normal people, people who actually want to do good, will turn their efforts elsewhere, and who can blame them?"

Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes ) in the Spectator debate on Leveson: "My commercial interest would be best served by shackling the British press and making all newspapers as boring as the Independent. Readers would flock to my website to find out what was really going on, it would make me wealthy."

Michael Apted, Rory Bremner, Nick Broomfield, Simon Chinn, Greg Dyke, Peter Kosminsky, Angus Macqueen, Krish Majumdar, Kevin Marsh, John Willis and Brian Woods in a letter to The Times [£]: "We are broadcasters with long experience of working within a far tighter regulatory system — underpinned by legislation — than Leveson envisages for the print media. While we make no comment on the detail of the Leveson plan, we would point out that our industry has a proud record of independent, challenging journalism — calling the rich and powerful to account without fear or favour. Our experience of programme-making tells us that effective regulation, far from being something to be feared, often acts as a buttress to and a shield for journalism that takes on vested interests and asks awkward questions. We can say what we want and make the programmes we want within a regulatory framework that is enshrined in law. The suggestion that such regulation is inevitably anathema to free speech, or automatically places us under the thumb of politicians, is wrong and insulting to us as fellow journalists."

[£] = paywall