WAN-IFRA

Shaping the Future of the Newspaper

Date

Fri - 19.12.2014


Ownership and Regulations

By Umar Cheema

There couldn’t have been a greater admission. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani recently told journalists that running government is not an easy job under the watch of a critical media. His remarks are dictated by personal experience.

Mr. Gillani is running a government rocked by corruption scandals. His family is not immune either. Two of the PM’s sons—both lawmakers—have been implicated in mega scams. He himself faces contempt of court charges for not proceeding against President Asif Ali Zardari who allegedly stashed huge amounts of money in Swiss banks. Mr. Gillani’s close advisors also face court trials on corruption allegations.

In the foreign press, Pakistan receives negative coverage due to terrorism-related reports. Inside the country, people are more concerned about rampant corruption, one of the key reasons behind a disaffected population turning to militancy. “There are seven days in a week but Islamabad manages to produce eight scandals a week,” writes Dr. Farrukh Saleem, an economist. The more information that is transmitted to the public, the further frustration it spreads, resulting in stimulating debates about the accountability of the government.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-05-03 15:43

As the fallout continues over allegations of phone hacking and corruption at News International, Rupert Murdoch appeared before the Leveson Inquiry today to answer questions about his personal relationship with politicians and the political influence wielded by his UK newspapers.

Under the intense gaze of international media outlets, Murdoch told the inquiry that he had never used the reporting from his papers as a way to further his business interests. "I have never asked a prime minister for anything," Murdoch told the inquiry, also stating, "I take a particularly strong pride that we have never pushed our commercial interests in our newspapers."

With questions scrutinising his relationships with UK Prime Ministers as far back as Margaret Thatcher, the inquiry sought to establish whether the media mogul had undue political influence in the UK. Murdoch downplayed his political pull, saying for example that, “I met Mr. Blair, if you look at the record, an average of two, maybe three times in the same year.” He also stressed, "I, in 10 years he was in power, never asked Mr Blair for anything, nor did I receive any favours."

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-04-25 17:52

The lawyer representing Bradley Manning, the 24-year-old US soldier accused of having leaked a massive trove of classified documents to WikiLeaks, has said that his trial is being endangered by the US government’s lack of transparency and by failures on the part of the prosecution.

The Courthouse News Service reported yesterday that Manning’s attorney David Coombs has condemned "a cataclysmic failing of the government to understand all aspects of the discovery process."

According to the article, Coombs has complained of the prosecution first refusing to share certain evidence with the defence on the grounds that it was classified, only to reverse its statements within a matter of days. Coombs has also implied that government prosecutors have made mistakes with the legal process, and have failed demonstrated full knowledge of their legal obligations.

The Courthouse News Service reports that in Coomb’s memo “nearly every line of text quoting a government memo or email has been blacked out in redactions”. The article points out that the information that has been withheld reflects “the intense secrecy surrounding the case”.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-04-25 09:51

Gavin O’Reilly has resigned from his position as group CEO of Independent News & Media, it was widely reported today. According to the Guardian, he has had a long-running dispute with the company’s biggest shareholder, Denis O’Brien, who has a 22% stake in the company, compared to the O’Reilly family’s 13%.

“After 19 eventful years with the company, it is time for me to pursue new opportunities. It had become clear that recent and public shareholder tensions were proving an unnecessary distraction for both me and the company and this was not in the best interests of the company," O'Reilly is quoted in the Irish Independent as saying.

Sir Anthony O’Reilly, Gavin’s father, acquired the Irish Independent in 1973 and as CCO he built up an international newspaper group with papers in the UK, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Gavin O’Reilly took over as CEO in May 2009, as part of a deal with O’Brien to change the company’s strategy. INM’s London-based papers, the Independent and Independent on Sunday, both loss-making, were sold to Alexander Lebedev in early 2010 to reduce the company’s massive debt.

O’Reilly will be replace by Vincent Crowley, chief operations officer of the group.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2012-04-20 16:11

A little over a month ago, James Murdoch stepped down as chairman of News International. Now it has been announced that he is resigning as BSkyB chairman too. The Guardian writes that Nicholas Ferguson will replace James Murdoch as chairman of the UK satellite company as it continues to assessed by OfCom to determine whether it is a “fit and proper” broadcaster in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at News International.

News International chief executive Tom Mockridge has been named as the new BSkyB deputy chairman. James Murdoch will continue as non-executive director of the company, said BSkyB in a statement, quoted in full by The Guardian. He will also continue in his role as deputy chief operating officer of News Corp.

In the statement, Murdoch explained that "as attention continues to be paid to past events at News International, I am determined that the interests of BSkyB should not be undermined by matters outside the scope of this company.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-04-03 17:37

Germany may have a strong female figure at the head of its government, but when it comes to the newsroom, the balance of power is heavily tipped in favour of men

This is the complaint or Pro Quote, a new campaign in Germany, which calls for a quota to be imposed on newsrooms to ensure that at least 30% of executive positions are held by women.

"At Germany's roughly 360 daily and weekly newspapers, only 2% of the editors-in-chief are women," states the petition, which also points out that of the country's 12 public radio directors, only three are female.

The petition calls for 30% of top positions "at every level of the hierarchy" to be filled by women within five years.

Pro Quote already has 700 signatories, many of whom already work for well-know media outlets such as Spiegel, Die Zeit and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The first 210 names are accompanied by pictures and comments on the campaigns website. An article in the Guardian names Anne Will, one of Germany's most well-know political TV presenters, Sandra Maischberger, another prominent TV host, and Dagmar Engel, editor in chief of Deutsche Welle, as supporters of the campaign.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-28 18:17

Last month it may have seemed that Ashley Highfield, appointed CEO of Johnston Press last July, wasn't moving forward with plans to restructure the company particularly quickly.

But now it appears that changes are taking place at the publisher. The Scotsman, one of the biggest papers owned by the group, reported yesterday that three Johnston Press executives were "in consultation over their future with the publishing company".

One of these is Michael Johnston, divisional managing director for Scotland and North-East, who is the last member of the company's founding family to still work with the group. 

Were Johnston to leave the company, his departure would mark the end of a long history; Johnston Press was founded as a printing business in Falkirk 1767 and bought its first newspaper, the Falkirk Herald, in 1846. 

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-23 17:37

Legal experts and human rights advocates have raised questions about the state of international laws protecting journalists and their sources in the wake of the News of the World phone hacking scandal and the fallout from WikiLeaks publication of classified documents

Speaking at the UNESCO conference The Media World after WikiLeaks and News of the World, Jane Kirtley, director at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism, stated that she was "very nervous" about a number of cases in the United States, which she saw as laying a ground work for greater limits being placed on freedom.

Among the factors that caused her concern were the lack of a federal shield law to protect journalistic sources in the United States, and the recent seizure of the Mega Uploads domain name, despite the fact that it was outside of US jurisdiction.

Agnès Callamard, executive director of Article 19, likewise criticised the US government's reaction to the embassy cable leaks, calling some of the initial reactions reminiscent of the "McCarthy era".

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-16 18:11

Yesterday the Associated Press filed a lawsuit in the Southern district of New York against Oslo-based Meltwater News for copyright infringement. The AP complains that the Norwegian company sells articles, which are produced and owned by the AP, to paying customers without a license. The news wire wants an injunction against Meltwater as well as financial compensation.

Laura Malone, AP acting general council, is quoted in the AP's press release about the suit: "Meltwater earns substantial fees for redistributing premium news content, while bearing none of the costs associated with creating that content."

The AP also complains that, because Meltwater only pays to distribute, but not to create journalism, it can afford to undercut the AP's rates. The news agency has already lost clients to Meltwater including the US department of Homeland Security and fees from Lexis Nexis and Factiva.

What's more, the AP complains that Meltwater shares "lengthier" and "more systematic" extracts from AP news articles than other aggregators, without adding its own editorial commentary. The AP accuses Meltwater of holding onto a "vast archive of AP articles", a high proportion of which are no longer publically available on the internet.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-15 15:02

On Saturday morning, senior journalists at The Sun, Britain's biggest-selling daily, were arrested over allegations of corrupt payments to police officers and other public officials. The journalists were released on bail without being charged, but the arrests have caused a furor in the British media, and a serious conflict at The Sun, described by Guardian media commentator Roy Greenslade as a "civil war".

Time will tell how the crisis will affect News Corp in general and The Sun in particular, but Robert Andrews at paidContent has published an article suggesting that, as yet, the ethics scandal at News Corp has not impacted on The Sun's bottom line.

Andrews writes that although The Sun's circulation has declined by 15% over the past year, "last year's sales pattern merely followed that which has flowed for the last decade..."

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-14 15:06

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