Media in the Press 7.1.11

POST-graduate student, Sandra Juncu, from Edinburgh Napier University takes a look at what made it into today’s media…..

Tommy Sheridan is in the headlines again: he is to appeal being found guilty in his recent perjury case and he is also taking the News of the World and Scotland Yard to court.

The Herald and The Scotsman both give the story front page coverage but choose to focus on different aspects. Under the headline, ‘Sheridan in phone hacking legal bid’, The Herald (page 6) reports how the former Scottish Socialist Party leader’s home address, mobile phone number and pin codes were discovered in two notebooks belonging to Glenn Mulcaire, an investigator hired by the News of the World.

Policemen found the personal information during a previous raid in the investigator’s house but did not disclose it for four years, until Aamer Anwar, the convicted politician’s lawyer, won a court order instructing their release. The Herald quotes Anwar declaring that “Mr Sheridan wants to know who instructed the hacking, why wasn’t there a full and transparent investigation by the Metropolitan Police and why wasn’t he informed”.

The same private investigator is said to have been asked by (now suspended) NoW assistant editor, Ian Edmondson, to hack into actress, Sienna Miller’s phone. At that time, editor, Andy Coulson, the Prime Minister’s communications director since May, has denied being aware of the detective’s activities. This is the reason for which Ed Balls, Shadow Home Secretary, is reported in both the Herald and the Scottish Daily Mail to have raised questions about the appointment of Coulson. “How can the head of media in Number 10 be somebody who is involved in illegal activity?,” Balls is reported to have said on BBC’s World at One, according to the Scottish Daily Mail (page 8).

The Scotsman (page 4) reserves the biggest part of the its Sheridan coverage to events related to the perjury trial, which followed a defamation case won by Sheridan five years ago against the News of the World following claims about his sex life. Three new defence witnesses have come forward to help the politician clear his name. One of them, Fatima Uygun, political activist and wife of deceased Scottish folk singer, Alistar Hullet, declares that she met him, together with her husband, on the night of an alleged sex club visit.

In other news, the EastEnders ‘baby swap’ saga still continues, with the Scottish Daily Mail (pages 6 and 7) claiming that the BBC is planning to shorten the storyline which saw one of the characters – played by Samantha Womack – swap her dead new-born baby with the alive new-born of another character. The storyline is understood to have attracted some 6000 complaints to the BBC. Both the Scottish Daily Express (page 9) and the Scottish Daily Mail report Womack, insisting, in a press statement released yesterday, that she is not leaving the show in May due to the complaints but because, as her agent is quoted by the Daily Express, “her contract comes to a natural end”.

Hit BBC TV show, Dragon’s Den, is in the press on two counts. The Daily Record (page 27) reports that Duncan Bannatyne, one of the millionaires featured in the programme, has been the target of angry ‘twits’ after he displeased Twitter users when he decided to ignore all comments from people with profile pictures in which they are seen smoking.

The Scottish Daily Mail (page 45), meanwhile, advises readers to say their goodbyes to Dragon, James Caan, who has quit the show. The self-made millionaire is reported denying speculation that his decision is due to the publicity which followed him being caught on camera offering to buy a baby from a poor family caught up in severe flooding in Pakistan.

Switching from TV to radio, a new show on BBC Radio Scotland, called Speak Up!, is promising to honour the best orators. Its host – top mimic and voiceover man, Lewis MacLeod – is promising to review all kinds of speeches: whether they brought tears in the eyes of a nation or to the ones of a wedding party, reports The Scottish Sun (page 5).

Remaining with radio, the Scottish Daily Mail (page 4) talks about a supposedly ‘less-than-pleasurable’ experience on a BBC Radio 2 phone-in involving Labour leader, Ed Miliband. The politician is reported to have been grilled by listeners about his lifestyle, career and much discussed-relationship with his brother, David.

And finally, The Daily Record (page 9) lets us in on the confidential information of Sky Sports presenter, Di Stewart’s wedding. The “glamour girl” wed professional golfer, Nick Dougherty, in a ceremony dubbed by the newspaper as a “secret Scottish wedding” attended by Prince Harry and Zara Phillips.