Jon Slattery

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A freelance journalist writing from the UK.
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Media Quotes of the Week: National press unite in battle to defeat Section 40, dumping on the National Enquirer and hooray for Hollywood

12 January 2017 - 8:55am



The Guardian in a leader: "A free press is a constitutional necessity, not an ornamental timepiece. There is no other option but to repeal section 40. The Guardian believes that the independence of the press is best served by self - not state - regulation." 

The Financial Times' response to consultation on Section 40: "The position of the FT is clear: Section 40 is not fit to be commenced. However, keeping it un-commenced on the statute book causes – in more acute form – the very problem to which the press have been most alert. In spite of all of the faults of the Royal Charter, the institution of the PRP, the approval of IMPRESS, and unexplained departures from the terms of the Leveson Report, all of those elements have at their core the common recognition that serving politicians, especially those in Government, must have no role in regulating the press. Keeping Section 40 in place, but un-commenced, appears to give this – and every subsequent – Secretary of State unacceptable leverage with regard to the newspaper industry. It is, for the press, a legislative Sword of Damocles."

Daily Mail in a leader: "Among Impress board members is one who has tweeted his wish to ban the Daily Mail, and others who have backed the campaign to drive centre-Right newspapers out of business by starving them of advertising. Even if Impress had impeccably fair-minded credentials, this paper would refuse to join it, on the principle that it is wrong for the Press to submit to state regulation. As it is, the very thought of surrender to such a creepy body is unthinkable. This is why no mainstream newspaper, of Right or Left, has signed up to Impress, which includes only a tiny number of the smallest local papers and online blogs on its books."


Sarah Baxter in the Sunday Times [£]: "To recap, Max Mosley is the son of Oswald Mosley and Diana Mitford, who were married in 1936 at the home of Joseph Goebbels, the chief propagandist of the Third Reich, in the presence of Adolf Hitler. If you don’t consider this relevant, fine. Let’s put our press freedom in the hands of Impress. But it sends a chill up my spine."

The Times [£] in a leader: "Coercing a free press is, in the first place, a contradiction in terms. The conversation that Britain is having with itself about press regulation is being followed elsewhere in the free world with dismay because the very concept of newspapers being answerable to anyone other than their readers is rightly alien. Moreover, the regulator the government has in mind, Impress, is self-appointed, partisan and in no position to wield authority over an industry that it manifestly disdains....Section 40 turns natural justice on its head. It would be unthinkable in the US under the first amendment to the constitution, and probably illegal under article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. "

Investigative journalist Andew Penman in the Mirror: "In all likelihood, the mere threat of litigation under Section 40, however unjustified, would mean that my stories would never run in the first place. After 20 years of fighting your corner, this column would be axed and the conmen and charlatans would be victorious."



NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet in a statement: “The NUJ believes that by partially implementing Section 40, it would potentially bring benefits to those regulators that have established proper systems of arbitration. Those who have not would continue to deal with the courts as they do today. The government should continue to encourage those regulators that do not have effective arbitration in place to establish such systems. While providing significant benefits for those with systems of arbitration, ministers should now rule out implementing Section 40 in a way that could lead to publishers facing potentially ruinous legal costs. Therefore the NUJ favours option (d), that the government should partially commence Section 40 and keep under review those elements that apply to publishers outside a recognised regulator."


Ex-Croydon Advertiser editor Glenn Ebrey [email protected] on Twitter: "Something odd about local paper groups that have turned their backs on 'proper' journalism fighting to now protect, er, proper journalism...They are right to oppose Section 40, of course, but should look a little closer to home when bemoaning the death of local papers"


Damian Collins, chairman of the culture, media and sport committee, in the Daily Telegraph on Section 40: “Some have said that the risk of heavy costs being awarded against the newspapers is not as great as some fear. But I believe it is wrong in principle, and once established could create a new industry of ambulance-chasing lawyers encouraging people to hire them on no-win, no-fee terms to take up complaints against the press. These lawyers could set high fees and know that there would be a good chance of getting paid even if they lost the case.”


Roy Greenslade on giving up his daily MediaGuardian blog at the end of this month, reported by Press Gazette: “I am sad to be giving up the blog, but I think the work of holding newspapers – their owners, controllers, editors and journalists – to account remains vital because they still set the daily agenda and therefore remain hugely influential."


Donald Trump to CNN's Jim Acosta over the Russian allegations, as reported by CBS: "Your organisation is terrible...I am not going to give you a question, you're fake news. Trump on Buzzfeed which published the Russian allegations in full: "Buzzfeed which is a failing pile of garbage... will suffer the consequences"


Burt Reynolds in the Observer Magazine"Dumping a helicopter full of horse shit on the National Enquirer made me feel great. They’d been writing crap about me for years so I thought it was only fitting. One Christmas Eve my pilot and I loaded my helicopter with manure from my ranch, flew over the building and watched it cascade down their giant Christmas tree."

Meryl Streep in her Golden Globes speech, as reported by the Guardian"We need a principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood foreign press, and all of us in our community, to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re going to need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth."
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