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August 04 2010

15:06

Azerbaijan publishes latest media ‘blacklist’

Earlier this week we reported on Rwanda’s regulatory body the Media High Council ordering the closure of newspapers and radio stations they felt were operating “illegally”. Now Azerbaijan has produced a ‘blacklist’ of publications it feels violates rules governing journalism “behaviour”.

According to the SFN blog, the Azerbaijan’s Press Council today released the latest edition of the annual list of “racketeer” newspapers and journals – this year totalling 77 – which they claim have breached the Journalists’ Professional Behavior Rules and should be investigated. The blog quotes council chairman Aflutun Amashov:

This list is a tool for public condemnation of the press, which ignore the professional principles, publish materials, affecting the honor and dignity of people, slander, and commit other such illegal actions.

See the full post here…Similar Posts:



July 16 2010

10:27

First local TV stations planned by Hunt to be licensed by 2012

The government outlined its plans for structural reform this week, including a timetable for media reform from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMA).

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for DCMS, writes in the report that he hopes to “roll back media regulation” in order to “encourage investment and create the conditions for sustainable growth”.

Plans for local media include a relaxation of the rules governing cross-media ownership by November this year and for the first of Hunt’s local TV stations to be licensed by summer 2012, with a target of creating 10 to 20 new stations by the end of parliament.

Actions laid out in the plans include changes to the media regulatory regime by reforming Ofcom and deregulating the broadcasting sector. Measures to scale back Ofcom’s duties are planned as part of a Public Bodies Reform Bill and Communications Bill, with the legislative process set to begin by November 2012.

Hunt also plans to agree the terms of a new licence fee settlement between July 2011 and April 2012.

He said these plans aim to give the public an idea of the programme to follow, but that much “broader ambitions” will be set out in the autumn in a spending review.

See the plans here…Similar Posts:



February 05 2010

12:54

PCC’s credibility under attack

The Press Complaints Commission is once again under attack for its structure and effectiveness as a self-regulatory body.

Last night the Guardian reported how Sir Ken Macdonald, ­visiting professor of law at the LSE and the former director of public prosecutions, had called for “all credible media organisations” to withdraw from the “farcical” Press ­Complaints Commission (a plea which was made by Geoffery Robertson QC last year).

The event for editors and lawyers, also featured Max Clifford, former Formula 1 chief Max Mosley, former TV presenter Anna Ford, the editors of the Guardian and the Financial Times, and the deputy editor of the Daily Telegraph. The Guardian also reported:

Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian editor, said the credibility of the PCC was “clinging by its fingertips” and that recent investigations had been “embarrassing”. The PCC’s current review should work out whether it has the capacity to be a regulator or a mediator, he said.

It’s timely then, to compare Rusbridger’s quotes from last night, with Stephen Abell’s comments this week, in his first media interview since becoming director of the PCC:

Abell told Journalism.co.uk that he didn’t believe Rusbridger’s resignation from the PCC code committee weakened the body at all:

Alan Rusbridger has said it [the code committee] does a good job (…) I think these arguments happens within industries but I think it’s perfectly acceptable to move on from that. I don’t think it weakens the PCC in any way that Alan is leaving an industry body that he was a member of for a while. You don’t have every editor on the code committee anyway (…) I think it’s tremendous merit that Alan Rusbridger of the Guardian was on the code committee for as long as he was.

Journalism.co.uk’s interview with Stephen Abell (who took over as PCC director in December 2009):

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November 18 2009

18:18

Will inquiries find PCC a chocolate teapot, or a serious ‘moderator’?

The Press Complaints Commission enjoyed mainstream coverage this week, as newspaper titles lapped up the comments of the body’s chair, Lady Peta Buscombe, at the Society of Editors’ conference: she not only called for greater press support, but cited evidence allegedly showing that 6,000 attempted phone hackings were ‘wrongly quoted’ by solicitor Mark Lewis in the House of Commons.

Funnily enough, the papers who were so eager to report Buscombe’s words, didn’t then – save the Guardian it would seem – pick up Mark Lewis’ call for Buscombe’s resignation as PCC chair. You can read Lewis’ letter, sent to Buscombe, the select committee and copied to the Press Association, in full at this link.

Lewis has since told Journalism.co.uk:

“As I said in my [House of Commons evidence, given immediately after that of Mr Yates [Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner], it wasn’t that I had access to documents that the police did not have, I got the documents from the police. Didn’t they read them? Didn’t they understand them?”

“The PCC has shown its true colours. If there is to be non-court regulation then it has to be from an independent tribunal that is not constituted by the press. Oddly, it would work in the press’s interest if there was a body that was willing to challenge and censor the press. As I said on Tuesday, we need an ‘honest and free press not just a free press’.

“My next step will be to carry on in the pursuit of honesty in reporting. If you are in any doubt, look at how many newspapers chose not to run a story that there had been a demand for Lady Buscombe to resign. The newspapers reported Lady Buscombe’s speech but not my response to it.”

Then, just as QC Geoffrey Robertson had hoped when he encouraged editors to abandon the body, news broke of Alan Rusbridger’s resignation from the PCC Code Committee.

“I have enjoyed being on the Code Committee, which does very useful work. I look forward to the results of the review of the PCC which Baroness Buscombe has announced.  The PCC is a valuable mediator. It needs to ask itself whether, as presently constructed and funded, it is a very effective regulator,” was all that the Guardian editor had to say afterwards.

His comments last week, following the PCC’s less than critical findings about phone tapping activities at News of the World, were somewhat stronger:  speaking on BBC Radio 4, the Guardian editor described the PCC’s report as ‘worse than pointless’. “If you have a self-regulation system that’s finding nothing out and has no teeth, and all the work is being done by external people, it’s dangerous for self-regulation,” he said.

The PCC has not yet responded to Journalism.co.uk’s request for comment over Rusbiridger’s departure, but Buscombe today appeared on Radio 4 Media Show [as noted by Jon Slattery at this link]. Rusbridger is right, she said. “We don’t have serious powers to investigate. We are not a police force. We must not tread on the toes of the criminal justice system. We are more of a moderator,” she said.

So what’s the point of the body at all? MP Tom Watson, who sat on the House of Commons culture and media select committee for the phone hacking inquiry, thinks not much. Running the PCC like a clan has led to Rusbridger’s resignation, he said on Tuesday. “It could spell the end of self-regulation. How silly of the new chair,” he tweeted. While in favour of self-regulation, the PCC simply isn’t doing it, he later clarified in another tweet: “[I] believe in self-regulation. And I’d like to see the PCC try it some time.”

A toothless chocolate teapot as alleged by some, or is there a realistic future for the PCC? Investigations of the self-regulation body, such as the one launched by the International Federation of Journalists; the select committee’s inquiry; and the PCC’s own review (led by a former commission member) are anticipated with interest…

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