6 December 2013 - 12:00am
Rusbridger: 'Patriotic about a free press'
Alan Rusbridger asked if he loved this country by Home Affairs Committte chair Keith Vaz, as reported by the Guardian: "I'm slightly surprised to be asked the question. But, yes, we are patriots and one of the things we are patriotic about is the nature of democracy, the nature of a free press and the fact that one can in this country discuss and report these things."
Dan Hodges on his Telegraph politics blog: "When politicians are summoning newspaper editors before them to question their patriotism then we’ve got a problem. It’s fashionable to complain of 'McCarthyism' whenever someone is challenged on just about anything these days. But what has just happened is the very definition of McCarthyism."
Carl Bernstein in an open letter to Alan Rusbridger: "As we learned in the United States during our experience with the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, it is essential that no prior governmental restraints or intimidation be imposed on a truly free press; otherwise, in such darkness, we encourage the risk of our democracies falling prey to despotism and demagoguery and even criminality by our elected leaders and government officials."
The Washington Post: "The pressures coming to bear on the Guardian, observers say, are testing the limits of press freedoms in one of the world’s most open societies. Although Britain is famously home to a fierce pack of news media outlets — including the tabloid hounds of old Fleet Street — it also has no enshrined constitutional right to free speech. The Guardian, in fact, has slipped into the single largest crack in the free speech laws that are on the books here — the dissemination of state secrets protecting queen and country in the British homeland."
Ex-Sun editor David Yelland in the Guardian: "Whether they are mad or just lack self-awareness, the fact is editors and proprietors in this country see themselves as the small guy, the powerless man struggling against the establishment. What they fail to grasp is that they have become the establishment themselves. They are the powerful, and others are the weak. Ask the McCanns, the Dowlers, or Christopher Jefferies."
@neilwallis1 on Twitter: "David Yelland always had this sad craving for approval & acceptance by the Liberal Establishment. And BBC/Guardian axis will love this."
Paul Vickers, in a statement on the progress of the Independent Press Standards Organisation: “The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with publishers representing more than 90% of the national press and the vast majority of the regional press, along with major magazine publishers, signing.”
Steve Hewlett in the Guardian: "By all means let the BBC use its airwaves to promote its programmes, services and even underlying purposes; but advancing its own corporate position in relation to matters of public controversy, including its own future, is a different matter. That would be another of those thin lines that for the sake of the BBC's long-term health and welfare really shouldn't be crossed."
Eleanor Mills, chair of Women in Journalism, in the Independent: "One of the things I’m particularly struck by is the lack of female bylines in the ‘deep ends’ of newspapers, in the main news sections and comment. That’s something I will be taking a look at. There’s a macho, misogynist culture on many news desks, particularly on the tabloids. That’s not acceptable, and I think in some ways that it’s going backwards.”
BBC news director James Harding, as reported by the Guardian: "Our response to Savile and McAlpine should not be that we shy away from investigative reporting and the coverage of difficult issues. In fact, we must renew our commitment to curious, inquisitive journalism in the public interest."
Attorney General Dominic Grieve on the Government website: "Blogs and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook mean that individuals can now reach thousands of people with a single tweet or post. This is an exciting prospect, but it can pose certain challenges to the criminal justice system. In days gone by, it was only the mainstream media that had the opportunity to bring information relating to a court case to such a large group of people that it could put a court case at risk. That is no longer the case, and is why I have decided to publish the advisories that I have previously only issued to the media."
Fleet Street Fox gives Peaches Geldof a bit of legal advice, on her Mirror blog: "As for Peaches - perhaps a new tattoo is in order. I suggest 'Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1976, section 4, b), ii) and section 5'. If that's not zingy enough, perhaps 'I am not a journalist' across the forehead might help."