Murdoch’s papers defenders of media freedom? Don’t make me laugh

The hypocrisy and double standards from Murdoch and News Corp on media freedom and protection of sources is truly breathtaking.

Sun journalists are rightly celebrating  the collapse of cases against them brought by Operation Elveden. The paper was quite correct to say the journalists should never have been pursued for doing their jobs and that the prosecutions represented a threat to media freedom by creating a chilling effect deterring sources from blowing the whistle on issues of public interest. (more…)

Now a police force is using Buzzfeed to publicise odd FOI requests

Online Journalism Blog

Two years ago the newspaper group Local World received a lot of attention over their decision to allow local councillors, police forces and others publish directly on their site.

And one year ago Torbay Police hailed the “historic moment” as they published their own story to the local news website, a moment which the Chartered Institute of Journalistscondemned as “wholly unacceptable” and Dominic Ponsford critiqued in some detail.

But why bother going through the local press when you can publish on Buzzfeed?

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Avon and Somerset Police calculate an “average” cost for an FOI request which is higher than the maximum

Some interesting observations from Paul Bradshaw on anti-Freedom of Information moans.

Online Journalism Blog

£540 is claimed - but £450 is the maximum

While I’m on the subject of Freedom of Information, here’s an odd story in the recent onslaught of anti-FOI press releases, from Avon and Somerset Police.

The police force is just one of manypublicbodies recently to moan about “bizarre and comical” FOI requests*. They claim that Freedom Of Information cost the body over half a million pounds last year. But can we trust their calculations?

Here’s how they say they arrived at their figure of £514,620:

"The cost of answering requests is calculated on a basis of £30 per hour , with an average time of 18 hours per request." “The cost of answering requests is calculated on a basis of £30 per hour , with an average time of 18 hours per request.”

That’s an average cost of £540.

Now, here’s the guidance on costs from the Information Commissioner:

“The cost limit for complying with a request or a linked series of requests from the same person or group is set at £450 for [non central] public authorities.”

So somehow Avon and Somerset…

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Daily Express censors letter from British Red Cross criticising it

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the UK gutter press)

The Daily Express – like most of the UK press – doesn’t like to be criticised.

And – like most of the UK press – it doesn’t like to give a right of reply to anyone, not even to respected organisations such as the British Red Cross.

That’s why the newspaper is refusing to publish a joint letter from the British Red Cross, Refugee Action and the Refugee Council which is critical of it.

This is the letter the Daily Express doesn’t want you to see. So please share it as widely as possible.

Dear Sir,

The stream of aggressive stories about asylum seekers appearing in this paper in recent days is of serious concern to all of us who work with and support people fleeing persecution.

Your readers would be forgiven for thinking the UK is being flooded by asylum seekers. This couldn’t…

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Thinking of doing your student project online? Here are 5 mistakes to avoid

Excellent post by Paul Bradshaw which should be read by ALL online journalists.

Online Journalism Blog

Journalism courses often expect students to spend a large part of their final year or semester producing an independent project. Here, for those about to embark on such a project online, or putting together a proposal for one, I list some common pitfalls to watch out for…

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First test for IPSO as Tories cry entrapment over Sunday Mirror Tory sex sting

The new newspaper regulator,  IPSO, is facing its first test after the Sunday Mirror’s sting on a Tory MP was attacked as a “fishing expedition”.

Brooks Newman resigned his post as civil society minister after being caught sending compromising pictures of himself in paisley pyjamas to someone he thought was a twenty-something Tory PR girl called Sophie. In fact, “Sophie” was a male reporter, using a picture of a Swedish model, who had emailed a number of MPs and it was Newmark who took the bait.  (more…)

BBC reporter caught red-handed manipulating video in Scottish indy campaign

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the BBC!)

Even a hardened old cynic like me is a little bit shocked by this.

The BBC’s Political Editor Nick Robinson edited out an answer by Alex Salmond and told viewers the Scottish First Minister didn’t answer his question:

But Mr Salmond did answer the question. Compare Robinson’s version with this unedited footage of what really happened:

There was a time when a clear case of factual manipulation by a BBC reporter like this would have been a sacking matter at the corporation.

No longer it seems.


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