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October 14 2010

16:17

‘The journalists had become cameras, not human beings anymore’: reflections on the Chile miners story

The rescue of Chile’s trapped miners captured the attention of the world. Live blogs, 24-hour TV stations, newspapers – the story was embraced by all platforms. Scotland’s Daily Record even featured a picture of the first emerged miner on its 4am front page. The media spotlight was well and truly focused on events at ‘Camp Hope’, enabling people all over the world to witness the remarkable rescue.

But some of the media coverage and in particular the volume of journalists who descended on the mine area has come under fire as questions arise over the necessity of hundreds of reporters being at the location to cover the story.

In an interview with euronews, local journalist Claudia La Torre said the behaviour of journalists desperate to cover the story was “too much”.

Before the media arrived there was a lot of crying, and then the feeling spread and the media got hold of it and put it to the fore. The media has been very important as it has informed everyone. But there are still limits. Yesterday I saw some miner’s families telling the media to go away. They wanted some privacy, the cameras and lights were harassing them. I regretted that, and I felt it was too much. The mother of the first miner rescued shouted at the journalists to stop, she was trying to hold her son in her arms and she couldn’t. I had to walk away, I felt that the journalists had just become cameras and not human beings any more.

Steve Safran from Lost Remote also commented on the amount of coverage and number of journalists at the scene, which he felt were “way out of proportion”.

Not to be cranky here – it’s great that these men are being rescued. But the coverage is way out of proportion to the importance of the event. And there is little perspective here. Suppose these men had died in the collapse back in August. Would it have received a mention at all in the news? This has as much to do with the fact that the coverage could be planned as anything.

Jeremy Littau from Lehigh University added that Chile is a ‘story about journalism’s failure’.

I see a story about journalism. To know that 1300 journalists have descended on this mining town to cover a worldwide story is a little disconcerting in an era of closed foreign bureaus and budget cutbacks. Many might question that thought given the intense interest in the story; my Twitter and Facebook feeds were lit up last night as the first miner descended up the 2000-foot shaft. But the public doesn’t think in terms of resources when it consumes journalism; it only has what it has in front of it.

These concerns continued today as reports that the BBC spent more than £100,000 on covering the rescue operation emerged via a leaked memo from BBC world news editor Jon Williams, which suggested the broadcaster will have to reduce its coverage of other major events as a result.

“The financial situation is serious”, Mr Williams wrote. “We are currently £67k beyond our agreed overspend of £500k; newsgathering’s costs for Chile will exceed £100,000.”

Coverage of the forthcoming Nato summit in Lisbon, the Cancun climate summit and the Davos World Economic Forum will all suffer as a result of the black hole in the corporation’s finances.

But while the rescue operation of the 33 men may be over, the media interest in the miners is likely to continue for some time. In fact, according to a report from the Guardian, freelance journalist Jonathan Franklin, who reported on the story for the newspaper from the start, is already signed up to write a book about events.

“This is one of the great rescue stories of all time,” he said, admitting he himself had wept as the first miners were released on Tuesday night. “It’s the reason we all want to be reporters: a remarkable story of the world coming together for a good reason. It taps into human altruism, the desire to work together, perseverance, faith that good things happen, never giving up.” The early chapters of the book, he said, were already written.

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October 08 2010

17:10

Starsuckers filmmaker accuses UK tabloids of increasingly ‘murky newsgathering’

The tabloid press is adopting increasingly ‘murky newsgathering’ tactics according to a documentary maker who exposed UK tabloids for publishing false celebrity stories.

Speaking at a Media Society debate on Wednesday night, ‘Starsuckers’ director Chris Atkins called for better self-regulation among British newspapers and accused them of colluding to keep the public ignorant of media malpractice.

“When pharmaceuticals and the police are up to no good, everyone reports it. But when journalists are up to no good, no one reports it,” he said.

Atkins focused his criticism on the News of the World after it attempted to stop the release of his film, which showed one of the newspaper’s journalists taking details of a false story.

“They will fight privacy laws and restrictions, but when you criticise them, they will do everything to shut you down.”

In the course of making the Starsuckers documentary, Atkins’ team planted a fake story about Amy Winehouse’s hair catching fire.

“It’s the same journalists who write about Amy Winehouse’s hair [catching fire] who then write something about global warming,” he said.

He added that a tabloid tendency to promote showbiz reporters to senior editorial positions took the problem beyond celebrity gossip stories. “Why do [the Sun’s] Bizarre reporters get to be editors? They don’t check facts, and then you have the Sun saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” he said.

But former editor of the People Bill Hagerty defended tabloid behaviour:

“I disagree that people lie about news across all areas. I reject the thought that many journalists start out to falsify news. It’s a few bad apples, and it’s not huge.”

Hagerty also held the online ‘welter of media’ responsible for falling standards in print journalism, but maintained that false reporting was not a widespread practice:

“It’s true that reporters don’t go out any more, and news is often web driven. The press is in very bad shape, but it isn’t driven by people who want to make up stories.”

Related reading on Journalism.co.uk:

Documentary’s legal battles reveal ugly truth about UK media culture

Starsuckers’ Chris Atkins: ‘Every news organisation is churning every other. It’s like a Barium meal’

Former News of the World journalist defends phone-hacking at lively debateSimilar Posts:



October 07 2010

12:10

#WEFHamburg: Al Ahram chair defends photoshopped image of Egyptian president

The chairman of the Al Ahram Group, whose newspaper was internationally critcised for publishing an altered image of world leaders at recent Middle East peace talks, defended the photoshopping as an artistic illustration of the story.

Speaking at the World Editors Forum in Hamburg, Abdel Moniem Said said the photo, which showed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak walking ahead of other world leaders, including Barack Obama, at the talks, was viewed out of context.

“We published all the photos after the Washington meetings, and then we had another meeting 14 days later in Sharm el Sheik led by Mubarak [the Egyptian president],” Said told delegates.

The subsequent feature in the paper was labelled “special report” and used five photos from the meeting, of which the altered image was one. According to Said, there was a caption accompanying the changed picture describing how Egypt was leading the piece talks

The story of the “tampered” image was picked up by international news outlets, including the Guardian and Telegraph, after first being spotted by a blogger.

But Said condemned the way in which the photo was republished, saying it was stripped of its titling, caption, artist’s signature and context.

“I can give at least 100 cases that did the same thing to illustrate a case even using Obama himself,” he said, referring to criticism of a recent Economist front cover.

Said said he had written to many of the news organisations who had reported the picture, but none had published his response. The Guardian did include a report on Al Ahram’s editor’s defence of the image.Similar Posts:



October 06 2010

14:46

‘We do want journalists to break the rules’, says former prosecutions chief

Society needs journalists who are prepared to break the law in order to serve the public interest, argued the former director of public prosecutions Sir Ken Macdonald last night.

Speaking at a debate at City University on the the News of the World phone-hacking case and the lengths to which reporters can go to get information, MacDonald said: “There are bound to be cases where journalists will want to break the law, and for good reason (…) We do want journalists to break the rules.”

Macdonald did not condone the phone-hacking at NotW, and stressed that it was only under certain public interest circumstances that journalists might be forgiven for breaking the law.

He was joined by key players in the phone hacking scandal: Nick Davies of the Guardian, ex-News of the World journalist Paul McMullan and defamation lawyer Mark Lewis, as well as Max Mosley, Roy Greenslade and libel barrister Caldecott QC.

Mark Lewis, who is currently suing the Metropolitan Police and the Press Complaints Commission for libel, echoed Macdonald, saying that in certain circumstances illegal activity is acceptable.

“If you know something is of public interest then you can use certain methods to corroborate it,” he said. However, he stressed that these methods should not be used to obtain a story.

Macdonald also cautioned against increasing privacy laws, warning it could create a “contagion of caution” among newspapers, and pointed out that a culture of deference has developed in France due to its strict privacy rules.

However, Macdonald conceded that it is nearly impossible to define what is and isn’t in the public interest.

As former Daily Miror editor and journalism professor Greenslade pointed out, “the public interest for the Guardian’s audience is very different to the public interest of the News of the World readers.

“There is no easy way of drafting a public interest definition that would give journalists clear guidance on what they should and shouldn’t publish.”

More from Journalism.co.uk:

Former News of the World journalist defends phone-hacking at lively debate

PCC claimes it did respond to Dispatches with phone-hacking statement

Phone-hacking on Dispatches: a good documentary but not enough new evidenceSimilar Posts:



14:13

#WEFHamburg: WAN-IFRA calls on Iran to improve press freedom standards

The World Association of Newspapers and IFRA (WAN-IFRA) used the opening ceremony of the Word Editors Forum (WEF) in Hamburg to call upon Iranian authorities to adhere to international standards of press freedom.

Presenting the annual Golden Pen of Freedom Award to Iranian journalist Ahmad Zeid-Abadi, Xavier Vidal-Folch, president of WEF, said Iranian journalists are “essentially trapped in a prison within a prison. A hellish place, where, in Ahmad Zeid-Abadi’s own words, ‘the desperation they create in prison is so bad you think it’s the end of the world’.

“Though we honour Mr Zeid-Abadi here today, it is also important to remember the other jailed journalists, the ones who don’t win awards but nevertheless suffer under despotic regimes, We should never forget them and we in the international newspaper community should do our utmost to win their release.”

Zeid-Abadi, who has worked for a range of daily and weekly newspapers in the country, is currently in prison in Iran. He was jailed, not for the first time in June 2009, after calling for Iranians to boycott the country’s election. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment and has previously been jailed and banned from practising journalism, because of his work.

According to WEF, 22 Iranian journalists are currently in prison in the country, accounting for around a fifth of all journalists imprisoned worldwide.

Accepting the award on his behalf, fellow Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji made an emotional speech in which he said treatment in prison had driven Zeid-Abadi to the “edge of suicide”. Ganji, who has himself spent time in jail because of his work as a journalist, said the family members of press freedom fighters and activists are often overlooked.

I have no doubt that if Ahmad Zeid-Abadi was here with us, he would have shared the honor of this prestigious award with other political prisoners.

One must interpret these awards as a kind of ethical and moral endorsement of democratic activists who are committed to liberty and human rights.

Today members of the world community of journalists have selected Ahmad Zeid-Abadi as the courageous journalist of 2010 fighting for democracy, and have honored him with the Golden Pen Award. This is a judicious and fair choice worthy of Ahmad Zeid-Abadi. He uses the might of his pen not just to tell the truth and expose political corruption.

In addition he also tries responsibly to use his pen and his ideas to make the world more ethical, reduce people’s pain and suffering. Without a doubt this pen will bring its responsibilities to fruition, for what that pen writes gushes forth from the soul of the person holding that pen and is the bright and shining mirror of his noble heart and his humane ideas.

Last month, Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhshan, who has dual citizenship in Iran and Canada, was jailed for 19 years after being convicted of “collaborating with hostile governments, committing blasphemy and propaganda against the Islamic Republic, and managing an obscene website”, according to an Al Jazeera report.

Read Xavier Vidal-Folch’s speech in full at this link…

Read Akbar Ganji’s speech in full at this link…

More from Journalism.co.uk:

Half the world’s jailed journalists were working online, says CPJ

Human rights lawyer arrested in IranSimilar Posts:



10:45

Former News of the World features editor defends phone-hacking at lively debate

The News of the World phone-hacking scandal was once again in the spotlight last night, this time at City University where reporters, lawyers, a former tabloid editor and a victim of the NotW’s close attention gathered to debate the question: “How far should a reporter go? The lessons of the News of the World phone-hacking story.”

Former News of the World features editor Paul McMullan spoke largely in defence of the newspaper and its practices, revealing that he had been contacted three times by the Metropolitan police following his recent admission of illegally obtaining information while at the newspaper.

McMullan is one of a string of former NotW staff to confess to phone-hacking, both on the record and anonymously, and allege that the practice was widespread at the newspaper. He admitted last night that he had illegally hacked voicemail accounts, bank accounts and medical records in an investigation of cocaine dealers.

Appearing alongside McMullan were: former Daily Mirror editor Roy Greenslade, who elected to speak on behalf of the NotW in the absence of a senior figure from the newspaper; former director of public prosecutions Ken MacDonald; Guardian reporter Nick Davies, who broke the story initially and has reported on it extensively; former head of the FIA Max Mosley, who won record damages of 60,000 from the newspaper in a privacy action, and defamation lawyer Mark Lewis, who has represented many of those claiming damages from the NotW after the scandal.

Guardian reporter Nick Davies began by apologising to the NotW for “saying some beastly things about it” and said they were unlucky to get caught out in an industry-wide practice

I should start off by apologising to the NotW, in a way I feel sorry for them. It’s sheer fluke and bad luck that that particular newspaper is the subject of all this attention. It’s just because one journalist Clive Goodman got caught hacking the voicemail not of an ordinary punter but of the royal family. All of us with our headlights on know very well that this illegal activity was going on in most Fleet Street newsrooms.

Davies even drew attention to the naming of the Guardian’s sister paper the Observer by the Information Commissioner’s report on obtaining of phone records. But despite his apologies he was unequivocal in his distaste for the phone-hackers: “I’ve had enough. Even though I’m a reporter I want a law to protect me from these creatures. These people have no business in our phone calls, they have no business in our bedrooms.”

Davies did however speak out in support of a law which would give reporters additional powers to hack into telephones and voicemail accounts where there was a demonstrable public interest.

What we’ll discover as we go through this evening is that a lot will cluster around two simple words, ‘public interest’ (…) I would go so far as to say I would like to see a change in the law to allow journalists to intercept voicemail messages if it’s in the public interest. The huge problem is that nobody knows where the boundaries of that concept are.

Well, as Roy Greenslade pointed out in his terrifically acted (if somewhat comical) turn defending the NotW, “What is the public interest to the Guardian and the Observer is very different when you reach the celebrity agenda of the Sun and the NotW.”

Paul McMullan clearly has a very different concept of public interest to Nick Davies and especially to Max Mosley, with whom he repeatedly clashed. McMullan said, in answer to “How far should a reporter go?” that “if you want to get ahead in journalism you have to go as far as you possibly can, there is no limit”.

I think privacy is the thing we really have to fight against, privacy is the place where we do bad things. We hide our misdemeanors embarassments and things we wouldn’t want to have to tell our wives and children we were up to and then we say privacy, it’s my private life, I can break my marital contract, I can have a completely false public perception when actually, I’m a grubby little sinner.

Mosley, on the other hand, is clearly more of a fan of the French way of doing things. He claimed throughout that the private lives of public figures have no bearing on their public life, dismissing McMullan’s notion that there was a legitimate public interest in reavealing the private actions of those who presented themselves as family men, or who were said to be role models.

…there is this mad argument ‘oh we should expose Tiger Woods or Mr [John] Terry because they tell the world they are great family men and they’re not. This is the idea that people go to watch John Terry play football or Tiger Woods pay golf, and they say to themselves ‘why am I going to see him, oh because he’s a wonderful family man’. It’s so absurd.

Mosley was very firm in his belief that jounalists should not be able to get away with breaking the law because they decide it serves the public interest. Defamation lawyer Mark Lewis pointed out that if the police want to tap somebody’s phone they have to approach the home secretary first for permission, with prima facie evidence, and not just go on a “fishing expedition” if they so decide.

Ken MacDonald, former director of public prosecutions, countered that their argument was “too simplistic”, arguing that without journalists bending, or perhaps breaking the law, a huge number of important public interest stories would not have been published. MacDonald also expressed concern about allowing public figures to live “entirely parallel lives”, which he said could lead journalists to “an attitude of deference to those in power and to cultural elites”.

His comment prompted an audience member to ask whether a hypothetical story about David Cameron being caught with call girls had legitimate public interest. Given what this information would tell us about the judgement of the country’s prime minister in opening himself up to bribery and coercion, Nick Davies was surprisingly unsure whether he thought this constituted public interest.

Repeatedly mentioned of course was Cameron’s director of communications and former NotW editor Andy Coulson. Last night’s Dispatches documentary featured a former senior NotW journalist claiming, anonymously, that the former editor had listened to hacked voicemail messages. Coulson has continually denied any knowledge of phone-hacking, despite recent accusations in the New York Times that he sanctioned the practice. Roy Greenslade, in his role as the newspaper’s defender, sounded quite convinced in his support of Coulson, inparticular Coulson’s claim that he wouldn’t neccessarily have known or even asked about the provenance of stories. According to Greenslade:

Editors don’t have to know every intimate detail on this occasion I don’t think he did (…) A lot of people here will say ‘of course he knew’, but it seems perfectly feasible to me that you don’t neccessarily know every detail about the methodology.

The panelists debated various possible ways of negotiating the difficult terrain between freedom of the press and privacy, with Max Mosley calling for the law to require prior notification on issues which the subject of the story might not want publicised. Mosley’s strict position was largely dismissed by the journalists present, who saw the extent to which it could compromise a free press. Nick Davies suggested a variation on the idea, in which editors could approach a “council of wise men” who (quite who was never clarified) could arbitrate and advise on publication, with their recommendation taken in to account if the editor was challenged post-publication.

The risk all these possible regulatory measures pose to freedom of the press was articulated of course, leaving the panel not much closer to a workable solution to the problem by the end. But it was a spirited debate which generated decent conversation about some of the issues at the heart of the phone-hacking scandal and well-demonstrated the difficulty of satisfying both the need for freedom of the press and the need for privacy.Similar Posts:



October 05 2010

12:06

Phone-hacking on Dispatches: a good documentary but not enough new evidence

Following the Twitter conversation around last night’s Channel 4 Dispatches on phone-hacking, Andy Coulson and the News of the World, it seems that for those already following the story there was insufficient new evidence.

But for those less aware of the ongoing claims and the series of investigations that have been conducted, the programme did a great job of putting the most recent claims – sparked by the New York Times’ reports in September – into context with what has gone before, starting with Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire’s arrests in 2006.

Dispatches had comments from Paul McMullen, a journalist working at the News of the World when Coulson joined, and an unidentified source who worked under former editor Coulson while he was deputy editor.

Both alleged that phone-hacking did not begin and end with Goodman and Mulcaire. McMullan told the programme that there was surprise in the newsroom following Goodman’s arrest and sentencing that no one else had been charged.

Of 13 people who worked at the paper during Coulson’s editorship or time as deputy editor and have spoken to Dispatches, not one believes that Goodman was a lone “bad apple”.

Questioning Coulson’s “collective amnesia” and rulings by the Met Police and other industry groups that Goodman and Mulcaire were the only people involved in the practice may not be new, but Dispatches did a good job of raising some new points, as yet largely uncovered by the mainstream media. In particular, the programme spoke with a non-celebrity potential victim of phone-hacking, who explained how difficult it has been to get information from the police and her mobile phone operator to check if she had been hacked.

Concerns were raised by interviewees, including Brian Paddick, who is calling for a judicial review of the Met’s 2006 inquiry, and DCMS select committee member Adam Price, who had suggested that News International’s Rebekah Brooks should be made to give evidence to its phone-hacking inquiry, that whatever the truth behind the allegations about the extend of the practice, the way in which investigations by government and the Metropolitan police have been conducted suggests that the News of the World may be “above the law”.

Tom Watson MP, who worked on the department for culture, media and sport’s select committee inquiry into allegations against the NOTW, told Dispatches that he considered giving up politics after a senior News International journalist told him that he would be pursued by its titles after he called for Tony Blair’s resignation in 2006 because of the support of News International for the then PM.

Watson has now published a letter on his website written to the Prime Minister and asking him to make a statement in parliament this week about the allegations against his communications director Coulson.

Coulson has repeatedly denied knowledge of phone-hacking at the News of the World and told Dispatches he had nothing to add in response to its broadcast.

Lack of press coverage at the time of Goodman’s arrest suggested similar goings-on at other papers, said Dispatches’ host Peter Oborne last night. But given the Daily Mail columnist’s involvement and the featured commentary from former News of the World journalists, Channel 4 and the Guardian, has last night’s broadcast created a more united front amongst the press to investigate its own state of affairs?Similar Posts:



10:19

Knight Center maps Mexico gangs’ violence against journalists

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas is tracking incidents of violence against journalists working in Mexico using Google Maps.

The map identifies direct attacks on media and journalists during 2010, demonstrating the wave of violence that has shaken the Mexican press. Many of these attacks are linked to organised crime and the majority of these cases still remain unpunished.

Last month Mexican newspaper El Diario published an open letter to drug cartels operating in the country pleading with them to end violence against journalists.

Click on the pins to show more information.


View Knight Center map of threats against journalism in Mexico in a larger map

Full map at this link via Google Maps…Similar Posts:



October 04 2010

10:45

Phone-hacking: Dispatches source claims Coulson listened to recordings

Tonight’s Channel 4 Dispatches documentary, Tabloids, Tories and Telephone Hacking, will reveal new phone tapping allegations against Andy Coulson, Channel 4 News revealed yesterday.

In a breaking news announcement, presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy reported that a past colleague of Coulson’s will claim in tonight’s broadcast that the former editor of the News of the World, and now communications director for the Prime Minister, not only knew about phone hacking at the tabloid and asked recordings to be played to him. Coulson has always claimed that he had no knowledge of hacking at the paper.

The Dispatches programme, which features an investigation by political journalist Peter Obourne into the tabloid’s relationship with police and the government, will be aired on Channel 4 tonight at 8pm. The programme follows fresh allegations of phone hacking at the tabloid made by the New York Times last month, sparking emergency debates in the House of Commons, a new police investigation and a series of lawsuits.Similar Posts:



October 01 2010

14:57

Politico: News Corp made second $1m donation to Republican group

News Corp contributed $1 million this month to the US Chamber of Commerce, a business lobby campaigning in support of the Republican effort to retake Congress, Politico reports.

It is not News Corp’s first large contribution to the Republicans this year. Rupert Murdoch’s company, parent to the Fox network in the US and newspaper publisher News International in the UK, made a $1 million gift to Republican Governors Association in June.

While other large US media companies have made political donations, News Corp’s June payment was notable both for its size and the lack of a corresponding donation to the democrats. It is customary to split donations between the two parties.

In the past, News Corp. has also spread its donations between candidates of both parties. The huge gift to the RGA raised questions among some media critics about whether News Corp. had crossed over an inappropriate line for a media company. The second donation is likely to rekindle that debate – and to make both News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and Fox News even more of a liberal target.

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September 29 2010

10:32

September 28 2010

13:53

Red Cross launches journalism award to recognise Philippines conflict coverage

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has launched a journalism award in association with its Philippines’ branch to recognise humanitarian reporting in the country.

The 2011 prize will honour journalists who have written stories about the long-running conflict in the Philippines, according to reports.

Nominations will close on 12 March 2011 and a ceremony will take place on 8 May with winners receiving digital recorders and training opportunities.

In November last year, more than 30 journalists and media workers were murdered in the Philippines when there convoy was ambushed and attacked.

Full story on ABS-CBN News site at this link…Similar Posts:



September 22 2010

12:02

Phone hacking: Journalists who paid me should have been prosecuted too, says convicted PI

A private investigator who was found guilty of illegally obtaining information about public figures for a number of newspapers has claimed it was “unfair” that journalists who paid him to carry out the work were not prosecuted alongside him.

Steve Whittamore was given a two-year conditional discharge in 2005 after pleading guilty to obtaining and disclosing information under the Data Protection Act. Speaking on the BBC’s PM radio programme yesterday, Whittamore said that the journalists involved “should have stood up and been counted”.

They actually asked me to do this on their behalf. I suppose you could view it as my Oliver Twist to the press’ Fagin (…) Requests were asked of me by people who I viewed as really being above reproach. They were huge corporations. I assumed they knew what they were asking for.

According to the programme, Whittamore acted on about 13,000 requests, many of which would have been legal but some of which weren’t. He told the PM programme that he had refused certain requests, including requests from journalists to obtain health records.

“Towards the end it got more and more personal (…) telephone account details, that sort of thing, maybe bank account details”. Whittamore admitted that the practice had got “quite a bit out of hand”.

Listen to the full interview (available until 27 September) at this link…

More on phone hacking from Journalism.co.uk:

PCC to review stance on phone hacking at News of the World

Phone hacking: Brian Paddick and Chris Bryant launch legal action

Phone hacking: new government inquiry launched, PM expected to be quizzed todaySimilar Posts:



10:29

The Economist on where it is banned or censored

The Economist has released information on countries that have banned or censored its issues:

Since January 2009 the Economist has been banned or censored in 12 of the 190-odd countries in which it is sold, with news-stand (as opposed to subscription) copies particularly at risk. India, the only democracy on our list, has censored 31 issues and at first glance might look like the worst culprit. However its censorship consists of stamping “Illegal” on maps of Kashmir because it disputes the borders shown. China is more proscriptive. Distributors destroy copies or remove articles that contain contentious political content, and maps of Taiwan are usually blacked out.

Full chart on the Economist at this link…Similar Posts:



September 16 2010

10:13

September 15 2010

08:53

BBC News: Ray Gosling gets suspended sentence for wasting police time

Broadcaster Ray Gosling has been given a 90-day suspended sentence for wasting police time, after claiming in a documentary that he had killed a dying lover, the BBC reports.

The Inside Out programme on mercy killings was broadcast in February and Gosling’s claims in it led to an initial arrest on suspicion of murder and a six-month police investigation. His sentence was handed out after the claims were determined to be false.

The BBC has also issued an apology for broadcasting Gosling’s claims:

In light of the plea given in court today we regret that we broadcast a claim by Ray Gosling which has effectively been withdrawn by him. We apologise to viewers and to those most closely involved for any distress this may have caused.

Full story on BBC News at this link…Similar Posts:

September 14 2010

10:37

September 13 2010

11:58

MPs and ‘media assassins’: an update on the phone hacking saga

Adam Price, former Plaid Cymru MP and a member of the culture committee which previously investigated phone hacking allegations, spoke to Channel 4 recently about why the culture committee did not force Rebekah Brooks to give evidence, using the Seargent-At-Arms or “nuclear option”, as he refers to it.

We could have used the nuclear option. We decided not to, I think to some extent because of what I was told at the time by a senior Conservative member of the committee, who I know was in direct contact with NI execs, that if we went for her, called her back, subpoenaed her, they would go for us – which meant effectively that they would delve into our personal lives in order to punish them and I think that’s part of the reason we didn’t do it… in retrospect I think that’s regrettable. It’s important now that the new inquiry stands firm where we didn’t. Politicians aren’t above the law but neither are journalists, including Rupert Murdoch’s bovver boys with biros.

In a statement to Channel 4 News, the committee chairman John Whittingdale said there was “no suggestion” the news organisation would target members’ private lives.

When it was suggested by Labour members to force Rebekah Brooks to attend, I recall a conversation with Adam Price in which the repercussions for members’ personal lives were mentioned. But that had no bearing on my own decision to oppose bringing in the Serjeant at Arms. Nor do I have any reason to think there was any suggestion that News International would target our private lives.

West Bromwich MP Tom Watson, who spoke at last Thursday’s Commons debate in support of a motion for the standards and privileges committee to investigate fresh allegations of phone-hacking, told the House that politicians are “afraid” of standing up to media “assassins”.

Watson said this weekend that he regretted his part in a story in the Sun suggesting Kate Adie should be sacked in 2001. In an interview on Radio 4, he said he was was “ashamed” of his role in the story, which quoted him as saying Adie should “seriously consider her position”.

I have done things that I regret with journalists. I’ll tell you the worst (…) I stood up a Sun story that Kate Adie had jeopardised our troops in Iran/Iraq with her reporting because I was asked to do so and I felt very guilty about it afterwards. I didn’t tell lies. I was asked by the Sun did I think her report imperilled the safety of our troops. It was a judgment call – I think I used the words ‘she should consider her position’ which was weasel words from a politician that I feel ashamed of.

So I’m part of the problem as well, I am holding my hands up. But nevertheless there is a problem and we need to get to the bottom of it. People whose phones were hacked need to know. We have a toxic media culture that we cannot allow to continue.

Adie was cleared of blame by the BBC and she later accepted damages for libel from the newspaper.

Also speaking on Radio 4, former chairman of the Press Complaints Commission Sir Christopher Meyer said that MPs have an “love-hate” relationship with the media.

If we are going to talk about people being in cahoots with journalists, look no further than the House of Commons. This is why the thing has got so convoluted. It is because MPs enjoy an intimate, often toxic, love-hate relationship with journalism. They need journalists in order to leak and to brief; they hate journalists when they start looking into their affairs.

(…) They live together in a deadly embrace and I really have to ask the question whether MPs shouldn’t actually recuse themselves from passing judgment on journalism simply because the interests are so conflicted.

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September 09 2010

09:07

September 08 2010

11:06

BJR: Former staffer criticises BBC for treatment of injured war reporters

Michael Cole, a former BBC TV news reporter, criticises the BBC for its use of Frank Gardner as a frontline war correspondent in this piece, questioning the characteristics of war correspondents and the duty of care of employers. Gardner was left with injuries to his spinal cord after being shot by al-Qaeda gunmen in Saudi Arabia in 2004.

Says Cole:

The BBC has always been very leery about taking responsibility for people who are killed or injured on duty. There is a closing of ranks on the management floors whenever such things happen. After the expressions of official grief and a good turn-out of the top brass at the funeral, or a succession of hospital visits to the injured employee, it all comes down to pounds and pence: liability and how to avoid it. Sympathy and human regard for victims and their families is not followed by munificent  generosity. In terms of large sums of financial compensation, the BBC is deficient. The initial concern is swiftly stifled by the  obligation to safeguard the licence-payers’ cash.

Full article on the British Journalism Review at this link…

Related reading on Journalism.co.uk: read exclusive extracts from the forthcoming book ‘Afghanistan, War and the Media: Frontlines and Deadlines’Similar Posts:



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