Nine media stories you may have missed: From Mail on Sunday's Meghan front page statement to BBC Epstein lawyer interview - Press Gazette

Nine media stories you may have missed: From Mail on Sunday's Meghan front page statement to BBC Epstein lawyer interview

Mail on Sunday Meghan front page statement

Although journalists keep valiantly reporting every single day of the year, many in the industry shut down over the Christmas and New Year break.

We’ve rounded up some of the biggest media stories you may have missed if you’ve been logged off for the past two weeks.

Mail on Sunday’s front page statement

On Boxing Day the Mail on Sunday published its court-ordered front page statement telling readers of the Duchess of Sussex’s copyright victory.

The statement was initially ordered in March after a High Court judge ruled in Meghan’s favour without a full trial that the newspaper had infringed her copyright by publishing parts of a “personal and private” letter to her father in 2018.

The judge initially ordered the newspaper to print the statement in the same size as the original front page headline, but Mail publisher Associated Newspapers successfully appealed by arguing this “would represent a disproportionate amount of the front page” and have a “vastly disproportionate interference” on its freedom of expression rights.

The newspaper was instead allowed to run the notice along the bottom of the front page in a sub-banner in a smaller font as the wording required by the court was five times as long as the original headline.

Mail on Sunday Meghan front page statement
A man holds a copy of the Mail on Sunday with a printed a statement on its front page acknowledging that the Duchess of Sussex won her copyright claim against the newspaper’s publisher. Picture: PA Wire/Jonathan Brady

The statement was further delayed by a Court of Appeal challenge which the publisher lost in early December.

On page three, under the heading “The Duchess of Sussex”, it said: “Following a hearing on 19-20 January, 2021, and a further hearing on 5 May, 2021, the Court has given judgment for the Duchess of Sussex on her claim for copyright infringement.

“The Court found that Associated Newspapers infringed her copyright by publishing extracts of her handwritten letter to her father in The Mail on Sunday and on Mail Online.

“Financial remedies have been agreed.”

BBC Epstein lawyer interview didn’t meet standards

The BBC said an interview with Jeffrey Epstein’s former lawyer Alan Dershowitz following the conviction of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell did not meet its editorial standards and that it would investigate.

Concerns were raised over the decision to interview Dershowitz on the BBC News Channel on 29 December, as the news of Maxwell’s conviction for trafficking teenagers broke, in particular as he was introduced as a “constitutional lawyer” and no reference was made to his links to those involved in the case.

Alan Dershowitz leaves the Manhattan Federal Court in New York, following a status conference in the defamation lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre against Dershowitz over discovery issues in Manhattan, New York, US, December 2, 2019. Picture: Reuters/Mike Segar

Dershowitz represented paedophile Epstein and has been accused of sexual crimes by Virginia Giuffre, who also claims she was abused by Epstein, Maxwell and the Duke of York. Dershowitz used the airtime to denigrate Giuffre’s claims against himself and the Duke, both of whom vehemently deny any wrongdoing and have not been charged with any crime.

After receiving complaints, the BBC said in a statement: “The interview with Alan Dershowitz after the Ghislaine Maxwell verdict did not meet the BBC’s editorial standards, as Mr Dershowitz was not a suitable person to interview as an impartial analyst, and we did not make the relevant background clear to our audience. We will look into how this happened.”

New York Times vs Project Veritas

On Christmas Eve a New York judge upheld an order preventing the New York Times from publishing documents prepared by a lawyer for the conservative group Project Veritas, which is suing the newspaper for defamation.

Days later an appeals court temporarily lifted most of the judicial order, which required the newspaper to turn over or destroy copies of the legal memos, but kept the restriction on publication. Project Veritas has been told to file a response to the appeal by 14 January.

A NYT spokesperson said the order was “unconstitutional” and publisher AG Sulzberger said the initial ruling “should raise alarms not just for advocates of press freedoms but for anyone concerned about the dangers of government overreach into what the public can and cannot know”.

LBC owner Global reveals ad challenges

Global, which owns radio stations including Global and Classic FM and has just hired Andrew Marr from the BBC, published company accounts for the year to 31 March 2021 that showed a 12.5% revenue decline in its radio division year-on-year.

This included a 42% decline in April to June 2020 and 3% growth in the final quarter of the year. Global said, due to relaxation of pandemic restrictions, it is now seeing growth above pre-Covid levels across the radio portfolio.

Overall the company reported revenue of £434.1m, down £305.8m largely due to the impact of reduced commuting during the pandemic on its outdoor advertising business. It reported an operating loss of £39.2m, as costs did not decline at the same rate as revenue, compared to an operating profit of £67.5m the year before when a one-off cost of £219.1m is excluded.

New Year Honours

Several journalists and media figures were recognised in the New Year Honours.

Veteran broadcaster Moira Stuart, 72, was recognised for her services to media with a CBE.

Stuart, whose BBC career spanned nearly five decades before she left to join Classic FM in 2019, said: “I’m so moved and lifted by this recognition of my work.

“Because over the years, since my first Radio 4 news bulletin in 1978 through to my last BBC News summary in 2018, I’ve been committed to public service broadcasting, which gave me the chance to shift barriers, open doors, and change so many stagnant stereotypes.

“No it hasn’t been easy, but this magnificent honour means so much to me, and I shall cherish it always.”

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis was made a CBE for services to broadcasting and consumer rights, following an OBE in 2014.

Of his work helping households and businesses alike during the Covid-19 pandemic Lewis, who presents the Martin Lewis Money Show on ITV, said: “I had to learn quite a lot in a short time in helping to communicate to the public what help they could get and where they needed to seek it, along with communicating with the Government to point out the holes in what they were offering, and, let’s be clear, there are holes.”

Vanity Fair style director Michael Roberts was awarded a CBE for services to fashion.

ITV presenter Kate Garraway was made an MBE for her services to broadcasting, journalism and charity after documenting her husband Derek Draper’s battle with coronavirus.

Garraway said on Good Morning Britain: “I actually feel very awkward about it all really, I don’t know why, because I’m thrilled to bits and incredibly honoured but you just sort of think, ‘What? Me?’ and then you think it’s not real.”

Tyrone Constitution and Strabane Weekly News editor Sam Atchison was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to Journalism and the community in County Tyrone.

ITV journalist Gary Burgess dies aged 46

ITV journalist Gary Burgess died aged 46 on Sunday 2 January after battling cancer for many years and receiving a terminal diagnosis in November 2020.

In a message he wrote to be published by ITV after his death, Burgess said: “I’ve had the best life. I’ve had the luckiest life. I met my soul mate and the love of my life who went on to become my husband. I got to work with some of the most amazing people in newsrooms and studios doing the job I absolutely adore. And I’ve been able to share my own relatively short time on this planet surrounded by friends and loved ones who have enriched my life in ways they may never truly understand.”

Burgess, who had also worked at Island FM in Guernsey, BBC Guernsey, Channel 103, the Jersey Evening Post, and Radio Wave in Blackpool where he started his career and set a record for the longest radio show, staying on air for 76 hours to raise money for a new cancer unit.

He joined ITV Channel TV in 2011 as a Guernsey reporter and moved to Jersey for the broadcaster a year later as one of its chief reporters. He resigned in August this year following his terminal diagnosis.

High-profile Twitter suspensions

The controversial Politics For All account and its associated brands including News For All were suspended from Twitter on Sunday 2 January, as was the account for owner Nick Moar. The reason has not yet been revealed.

The brands’ tweets regularly go viral and frustrate many journalists for the way in which they selectively take lines from news articles and add the link in a separate tweet.

On the same day US Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene was permanently banned from Twitter for what the platform described as repeated violations of its Covid-19 misinformation policy.

Twitter and Youtube took down an interview by US podcaster Joe Rogan with Dr Robert Malone, who claimed people advocating for Covid-19 vaccinations were suffering from “mass formation psychosis”. Twitter also deleted Malone’s account and Rogan encouraged people to join alternative Gettr, where Greene has also set up an account.

Eamonn Holmes starts at GB News

On Monday 3 January Eamonn Holmes launched a new breakfast show on GB News, leaving ITV after hosting This Morning for 15 years to do so.

He joined co-host Isabel Webster to launch Breakfast With Eamonn And Isabel, airing from 6am to 9.30am. The first show included an interview with Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi.

TV presenter Eamonn Holmes leaves the offices of GB News at The Point in Paddington, London, after he joined co-host Isabel Webster for the first episode of the channel’s new ‘Breakfast with Eamonn and Isabel’ programme on Monday. Picture date: Monday January 3, 2022. Picture: PA Wire/Kirsty O’Connor

Holmes told the audience: “I’m having some lovely messages from people all around the country who are looking forward to whatever we’re going to do differently. Hopefully we are going to do lots of things differently.

“We’re going to do news, but we’re going to do news with views. We’re going to do your news, because if it is important to you, it is important to us.”

Hong Kong newspaper closures

Two more pro-democracy news outlets in Hong Kong have closed following the forced closure of Apple Daily last year in what was described as a “chilling blow for freedom of expression”.

Stand News, set up in 2014 as a non-profit, shut down on Wednesday 29 December after police raided its office, froze its assets and arrested senior staff, Reuters reported.

Days later the independent outlet Citizen News said it would close after five years on Tuesday 4 January, citing the “deteriorating media environment” in Hong Kong and the need to protect its staff.

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