The Media in the Press 22.1.10

Second-year journalism student, Aleksandra Jurczak, at Edinburgh Napier University, takes a look at the media stories making it into today’s newspapers….

The Guardian (page 15) continues with the story of alleged Chinese hacking attacks on search engine giants, Google, last month. It reports on the US secretary, Hillary Clinton, addressing Bejing yesterday to hold a thorough and open investigation into the hacking, saying: “In an international world, an attack on one nation’s networks can be an attack on all.” In an unusual criticism of China, says The Guardian, Clinton has linked online censorship by Eastern countries to the rise of communism in Europe. In response, China’s vice-foreign minister, He Yafei, is quoted saying: “The Google case should not be linked with relations between the two governments and countries; otherwise, it’s an over-interpretation.”

Closer to home, the BBC faces criticism from the Government’s finance watchdog over alleged lavish spending on its executives and presenters, says The Times (page 9). The National Audit Office is apparently also due to report, within the next six weeks, on a £400 million spend on new BBC headquarters in Manchester and large numbers of reporters sent to cover events such as the Olympic Games.

The report came to light yesterday after the criticism of BBC’s expenditure by the outgoing Channel 4 chair, Luke Johnson, at the Oxford Media Convention. He is reporting claiming that the delayed and over-budget revamp of the BBC's London HQ, Broadcasting House, was an example of the broadcaster’s lack of financial accountability, says The Guardian (page 12). “The BBC has so much money in it… can spend £1bn on something it already owns,” Johnson is quoted saying.

Meanwhile, The Scotsman (Business inset, page 3) reports that BSkyB faces a possible loss of over £500 million on its shares in ITV. The Court of Appeal ordered that a previous decision to force BSKyB to sell most of its shares should stand. “Sky’s appeal on competition issues is dismissed, so the direction that it must reduce its share holding to less than 7.5 per cent will stand,” quotes The Scotsman.

The ordering to cut BSkyB’s stake followed the finding by the Competition Commission in December that the group’s shareholding gave it influence over ITV’s strategy in a way that restricted the market, reports The Herald (page 14). BSkyB is said to have acquired 696 million shares in ITV in 2006. A BSkyB spokesperson is quoted, saying: “We will review the judgement and order carefully and consider next steps in due course.”

And finally…

Workers waste the equivalent of almost ten working years checking their e-mail accounts, a research by a Scottish IT training company has shown. The ‘addiction’ is said to cost the country’s economy more than £9 billion every year. “Stopping to check e-mails ten times a day requires a lot of brain switching so when it comes to getting sidetracked, e-mail is a major culprit,” says Howard Teale, general manager of Indicia Training – The Scotsman (page 5).