Jon Slattery

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A freelance journalist writing from the UK.
Updated: 2 hours 36 min ago

Media Quotes of the Week: From Home Sec to act over police spying on journalists to sex text MP says media is not to blame for his downfall

16 October 2014 - 4:00pm

The Mail on Sunday: "Police are to be stripped of the power to secretly spy on journalists’ phones, striking a major blow for press freedom. The move – expected within weeks – marks a victory for The Mail on Sunday after we exposed how police had used anti-terrorism powers to hack our phones. Officers bypassed legal protections designed to protect whistleblowers to find out who was behind a series of devastating stories that led to the downfall of shamed Cabinet Minister Chris Huhne. Now Home Secretary Theresa May will drive through a new law to stop officers snooping on reporters unless they are investigating serious crimes. And she will ensure that they need approval from judges or watchdogs for the intrusive surveillance – which at the moment can be approved simply ‘on the nod’ from colleagues."

Theresa May in a speech at the College of Policing conference: "I am already aware that there have been concerns over the use of RIPA to access journalists’ phone records and that is why we are revising the relevant code to make clear that specific consideration must be given to communications data requests involving those in sensitive professions, such as journalists. This code will be published in draft this autumn and will be subject to a full public consultation so that anyone with concerns can feed in their views."


Mail on Sunday comment on plans to stop Ripa being used to obtain journalists' phone records: "What a straightforward victory for strong and independent journalism this episode has been. In a few short weeks, The Mail on Sunday, followed by many other publications, has successfully exposed, highlighted and now ended some serious state wrongdoing. It is hard to think of any other force that could have achieved this apart from unregulated, fearless and vigilant newspapers."

Press Gazette: "Suffolk Police has become the third force to admit using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to obtain a journalist's phone records. Former Ipswich Star reporter Mark Bulstrode was targeted after he questioned the force about the re-opening of a rape investigation. After being warned that reporting the case could jeopardise the investigation, the Star chose not to publish the story - but officers still used RIPA to trawl through Bulstrode's mobile phone records and find his source."

Press Gazette: "A police force used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to bug a journalist's car - but has denied using it to obtain a news agency's phone records. Thames Valley Police bugged part-time Milton Keynes Citizen journalist Sally Murrer's car in December 2006 to find the source of leaked stories about the force."


Daily Telegraph obit on former Daily Express Newspapers' managing director Sir Jocelyn Stevens: "Such was his reputation for belligerent cost-cutting that when he was appointed chairman of English Heritage in 1992, one commentator described it as 'like putting Herod in charge of childcare'. It was an image in which, in public at least, Stevens revelled.""

6 hours ago
Mick Hume on Press Gazette: "The debate about IPSO to date encapsulates the problem with the entire issue of press regulation in the UK. By far the loudest complaints are that the new regulator is not independent enough of the industry, echoing the wider pro-Leveson prejudice that the British press has somehow been too free to run wild and cause trouble. The reality is that the UK press is nowhere near free enough, and the very last thing we need is the dead hand of another regulator."


Ex-local press sub-editor John Richards whose campaign to save the apostrophe has landed him a place in the 2015 Dull Men’s Club calendar, as reported by HoldTheFrontPage: “I walk around town and see so many misplaced or omitted apostrophes it beggars belief. The local fruiterer sells pounds of banana’s, the public library, of all places, had a sign saying CD’s."


MP Brooks Newmark in the Mail on Sunday: "When a newspaper exposed one of these episodes – involving a male freelance reporter using stolen pictures to impersonate a young female Conservative Party activist – I stood down as a Minister. Now, in response to what seems to be a new text-and-tell story, I am standing down as an MP at the next Election...I do not blame the media for my downfall. It is for others to judge their behaviour and their ethics. The fault is mine alone. If I had sought help earlier, none of this would have happened."

Alex Wickham @WikiGuido on Twitter: "As we always said, we knew Newmark was a cheat and that social media was his MO. It was a narrow, justified, successful investigation."

Media Quotes of the Week: From press rounds on 'grim Ripa' to PR laments demise of sub-editors

9 October 2014 - 2:42pm




The Mail on Sunday"Police used anti-terrorism powers to secretly spy on The Mail on Sunday after shamed Cabinet Minister Chris Huhne falsely accused journalists of conspiring to bring him down. Detectives sidestepped a judge’s agreement to protect the source for our stories exposing how Huhne illegally conspired to have his speeding points put on to his wife’s licence. Instead they used far-reaching powers under the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) – originally intended to safeguard national security – to hack MoS phone records and identify the source....In our strenuous efforts to protect our sources and resist handing over emails to Huhne’s lawyers, The Mail on Sunday ran up a £150,000 legal bill, none of which can be recovered."

Keith Vaz Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, to Mail on Sunday"It is deeply disturbing that the police have hacked into offices of a major UK newspaper. They have struck a serious blow against press freedom."

Simon Jenkins in the Guardian: "One of the many services performed by Edward Snowden was to show that nothing beyond constant press vigilance will curb “big security” from trampling on civil liberty, even in a democracy. In Britain, the coalition’s appeasement of such trampling means that no whistleblower is safe in talking to a friend, a lawyer, a journalist or, for that matter, anyone via a phone or the internet. Anything said may be available to a potential prosecutor or opponent’s law firm. We are back to the Soviet Union, with private conversation confined to public parks."


The Sun [£]: "THE Sun has made an official complaint about the Met Police using anti-terror laws to snoop on the phone calls of our journalists."


Press Gazette: "The Interception of Communications Commissioner has announced an inquiry into police use of spying powers against journalists. The move comes less than a month after Press Gazette launched the Save Our Sources campaign urging the Commissioner to take action after it emerged that the police had secretly grabbed the phone records of The Sun newspaper."

The Guardian in a leader: "Journalists are not above the law, but they need its protections to play a legitimate role in our free society. Ripa as it stands fails to provide such protections. It must be changed."


Nick Cohen in The Spectator: "The Tory press does not stop to consider that their journalists are a despised minority who also need human rights laws to defend them. The left-wing press and the BBC are no better. They stayed silent when the police arrested dozens of Sun journalists — not for hacking the phones of celebrities, but for stories from the police, prisons and armed forces which may turn out to be in the public interest. To left-wing journalists, the Tory tabloids are reviled enemies against whom any use or abuse of police power is justified. They never worry that the state will use the same tactics against them. People go on about the might of the British press. They do not see that, consumed by hatreds and torn by civil war, it can no longer stand up for its own best interests, let alone the best interests of a free society."


Sun leader on murder of Alan Henning: "We are not publishing images from the video... We refuse to give his absurd murderers the publicity they crave."













Toby Harnden ‏@tobyharnden on Twitter: "The Sun shows you can mark Alan Henning's murder by highlighting his life. Telegraph uses propaganda of his killers."

Lloyd Embley ‏@Mirror_Editor on Twitter: "After David Haines was murdered pix of him on his knees were on all the front pages. We decided not to do that again. They can't win."

Neville Thurlbeck ‏@nthurlbeck on Twitter: "BBC News on-line showing stills of Mr Henning moments before execution. Good for their web hits. Good for ISIS. Wise up guys."

ISIS rules for journalists: "10 - The rules are not final and are subject to change at any time depending on the circumstances and the degree of cooperation between journalists and their commitment to their brothers in the ISIS media offices."


Sky News in a statement: "We were saddened to hear of the death of Brenda Leyland. It would be inappropriate to speculate or comment further at this time."

The Times [£] in a leader: "It should be far easier to report abuse on social media, far easier for victims to be protected and far easier for prosecuting authorities to trace the identities of those who exploit such sites as a means of abuse, and then to pursue them through the courts. Only then can we protect the innocent and prosecute the offenders. The trolls need themselves to be trolled."


Grey Cardigan on SpinAlley on the editor of the Derby Telegraph asking readers on Facebook if the paper should do a story on a public sector working caught looking at porn on a work computer: "Neil White might have thought that he was being inclusive by involving what he hoped were readers in making this decision, but in my opinion he was wrong, very wrong. Newspapers cannot be run by committee. They need a strong editor who is not afraid to make the tough calls and to back his own judgement. What next? Shall we publish the news list and let social media tell us what to publish and what to bin? It’s a huge mistake and one which undermines every journalist on that newspaper."


The NUJ in a statement: "The chief executive of Newsquest signed off his final year with a 9.5 per cent pay rise, while his staff's wages went down by almost £5 million. Paul Davidson, stood down as CEO in April, but stayed on as chairman of the group. He raked in £610,458 as Newsquest's highest paid executive in 2013 – an increase of £53,000 on the previous 12 months. His salary was the equivalent of 25 journalists' jobs."


Piers Morgan in the Guardian: “Cameron was one of Andy Coulson’s closest friends and both were incredibly embedded with each other. And at no stage has Cameron shown support for Andy, either publicly or privately, and I find that reprehensible. I would never do that to a real friend and I don’t think real people would. And frankly to just do it for political expediency stinks.”


PR writing on the Guardian's Media Network about the demise of sub-editors: "We’re aware that the properly trained sub – that professional wordsmith who’s a stickler for house style, accuracy and grammar as well as a dab hand at honing shoddy copy – is a rare, dying, much-lamented breed. The slow demise of this unsung hero is devastating not just for the publications themselves (it’s difficult to take seriously a title that gets wrong the one sentence it tweaked from provided copy, or misspells the simplest of names), but also for PRs who have painstakingly done the due diligence that is a prerequisite for perfect copy. As the medium between media and client, we get it in the neck."

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