Thursday, 16 February 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From press fury at jail threat to journalists over leaks to where to stick the barcode on a Donald Trump front page

The Telegraph reports: "Campaigners have expressed outrage at new proposals that could lead to journalists being jailed for up to 14 years for obtaining leaked official documents. The major overhaul of the Official Secrets Act – to be replaced by an updated Espionage Act – would give courts the power to increase jail terms against journalists receiving official material."

alan rusbridger ‏@arusbridger on Twitter: "The leakers & journos who exposed Gen Flynn wd face 14 yrs in jail in the UK with new Espionage Act."

The Times [£] in a leader: "There is no shortage of laws on the statute book with which to punish those who steal or misuse official secrets. But official Britain is already far too fond of secrets and public interest journalism is already under grave legal and commercial threat. The Cabinet Office should thank the Law Commission for its ideas, and reject them."

The Sun in a leader: "BRITAIN’S Press freedom has never been in greater peril than it is today. A state-approved regulator, run by tabloid-haters and bankrolled by an odious tycoon, continues its campaign to muzzle the printed Press. Investigative journalism is threatened by a perverse law that would force newspapers to pay the costs of anyone who takes them to court, win or lose...Now the Law Commission proposes that any journalist or whistleblower caught handling secret information should face up to 14 years in jail...Number 10 must show it values a free Press and throw out the Law Commission proposals immediately."

The Guardian in a leader: "News organisations, in an intensely hostile business climate, operate in an ever harsher environment. Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 may yet be brought into force, exposing any news organisation that refused to sign up to the recognised regulator to the full costs of both parties in a libel action, regardless of whether it won or lost. The Investigatory Powers Act, which became law last autumn, has in the words of one lawyer, “ripped the heart out” of any ability to protect journalistic sources. In this angry digital age of fake news, where hard fact grows ever more precious, accurate and fair reporting has never been more important. Without it, democracy itself is weakened."

Steve Dyson on HoldTheFrontPage: "Despite shrinking resources, local papers still have space to be filled, and websites to be updated, and there are, of course, some great stories to be found on social media. But reporters need to learn that not everything masquerading as news on Twitter, Facebook et al is worth covering, and much of it is, to be kind, trivial. And whether they’re reading online or in print, readers expect their local titles to know this, and not to feed them non-stories just because they were posted on social media by some over-excited volunteer. Remember the days when reporters all had physical spikes on their desks for poor press releases that weren’t worth a story? Well, in the modern world, a digital ‘spike’ is sometimes badly needed."

Apple chief executive Tim Cook interviewed by the Telegraph: “All of us technology companies need to create some tools that help diminish the volume of fake news. We must try to squeeze this without stepping on freedom of speech and of the press, but we must also help the reader. Too many of us are just in the complain category right now and haven’t figured out what to do.”

A Sun spokesperson, quoted by Press Gazette, on the paper's ban by Liverpool Football Club: “The Sun and Liverpool FC have had a solid working relationship for the 28 years since the Hillsborough tragedy. Banning journalists from a club is bad for fans and bad for football. The Sun can reassure readers this won’t affect our full football coverage. A new generation of journalists on the paper congratulate the families on the hard fought victory they have achieved through the inquest. It is to their credit that the truth has emerged and, whilst we can’t undo the damage done, we would like to further a dialogue with the city and to show that the paper has respect for the people of Liverpool.”

The Times [£] in a leader: "Editors of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia whose entries are of notoriously variable reliability, have chosen to cease recognising the Daily Mail as a secondary source for information, and Jeremy Corbyn has condemned as “fake news” a clutch of reports suggesting that he is close to stepping down as Labour leader. Newspapers make errors and have the responsibility to correct them. Wikipedia editors’ fastidiousness, however, appears to reflect less a concern for accuracy than dislike of the Daily Mail’s opinions. And Mr Corbyn is in a state of undignified denial that his leadership is a liability for his party and that his colleagues are appalled by his ineptitude. That is a genuine story, not a manufactured one. And it is the duty of legitimate news organisations to reveal real news."

Ian Hislop on Private Eye hitting record sales of 287,334 copies, as reported by Press Gazette: “Our sales are real, we are not making these figures up. This is a record. It’s obviously to do with Brexit and Trump and people thinking where can I find something that might be true and something that might be funny. People say you can’t do satire any more because of Trump. I think people are saying: ‘Can we have some?' "

Private Eye reports: "WHEN Wiltshire Police officers turned up at the Eye offices last month to talk about Hello, Sailor-type cartoons and photo bubbles that once ribbed Sir Edward Heath in the magazine more than 40 years ago, the visit would have been faintly comical had it not been such a waste of yet more police time and public money. It was a sign of the lengths those involved in Operation Conifer (cost so far: roughly £900,000) are prepared to go to find something – anything – that might stand up wild allegations of historical child sex abuse, and worse, levelled at the former Conservative prime minister."

Jeremy Corbyn asked on BBC Breakfast if he has set a date to stand down as Labour Party leader: " “I’m really surprised the BBC is reporting fake news."

Peter Barron ‏@PeteBarronMedia on Twitter: "Barcodes can be irritating and get in the way of creative newspaper design - but not at @TheNewEuropean;"

[£] = paywall

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