Media in the Press 8.12.10

The media’s right to report court cases in Scotland is not adequately safeguarded, the European Court of Human Rights is reported to have ruled. It is said to have found that the UK government had violated two articles of the Human Rights Convention – the treaty designed to protect freedom of expression.

The Herald (page 8) picks up the story, reporting that in Scotland, if an appeal is made – under section 4(2) of the Contempt of Court Act 1982 – the publication of any report of court proceedings can be banned until its completion.

Explaining the difficulties this legislation poses to the media reporting Scottish cases, The Herald writes: “While in England and Wales people can appeal against such orders at the Court of Appeal, this part of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 does not apply to Scotland.”

The report continues: “Instead, Scottish courts give interim orders for 48 hours, tell the legal representatives of media organisations and give them the opportunity to address the court on the terms of the interim order.”

A spokesperson from the ECHR is quoted, saying: “… under the present system, any Scottish court which makes a section 4(2) order is under no obligation to hear representations of the media.”

Elsewhere, today’s Scottish Sun reports that Coronation Street’s 50th anniversary episode – which climaxed with a tram crashing into the set’s iconic cobbled streets – failed to impress some viewers.

Under the headline ‘Amateur Tramatics’ the opening pars read: “It was a £1 million spectacular bringing death and destruction to Corrie’s famous cobbles. But hundreds of fans branded Monday’s 50th anniversary tram crash laughable.”

One disappointed viewer is quoted, saying: “I thought it was hilariously bad – the acting, the CGI, the stunt, it was all so bad!!!” Another derided the finale, calling it “… naff beyond words”.

Elsewhere, the Scottish Daily Mail (page 11) reports that Monty Don is to make a return to the BBC’s Gardeners’ World programme, three years after he was forced to quit following a minor stroke. It is hoped that Don’s return will reinvigorate the gardening show, which has suffered from a slump in popularity following changes to the format.

Writes TV correspondent Paul Revoir: “Former presenters and fans had condemned ‘toe curling’ changes following Don’s departure. Comparing it to Top Gear, they claimed it was packed with gimmicks and fancy camera work, but lacked practical gardening tips.”

Alison Kirkham, a senior BBC commissioning editor is quoted, saying: “I’m delighted to welcome Monty back and I really look forward to him sharing his expertise in his own environment.”

And finally, following Jim Naughtie’s unfortunate mispronunciation of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s surname – as reported in on Monday – the Scottish Daily Express (page 36) recounts the greatest blunders committed while on air.

In her summary of the great gaffes, reporter Julie Carpenter recalls one unfortunate edition of the BBC’s Question Time where “…the usually urbane and unflappable chairman David Dimbleby was sitting round the table with Robin Cook when he accidentally referred to the late Foreign Secretary by rhyming his last name with ‘sock’.”

Continuing her round-up, Carpenter quotes BBC newsreader Simon McCoy who told viewers, “Britain’s biggest teaching union has voted to ballot its members on a series of one-day strikes over pee – er, over pay.”

Carpenter ends her plunder of the classic blunders with this nugget: “Weakest Link presenter Anne Robinson was the subject of rather ungallant comments by newsreader Peter Sissons, who, not realising the camera was on him, watched a piece of footage on BBC News 24 and then exclaimed: 'That’s not Anne Robinson is it? Jesus Christ! She’s even got new t**s!'”