Media in the Press 26.1.11

FREELANCER, Adeline Amar, reviews the media stories in today’s newspapers…

It’s the front page of many of today’s newspapers for Andy Gray, sacked by Sky Sports as a football pundit after his part in sexist comments about a female assistant football referee, made at the weekend. The former Scotland striker adorns the front page of Scottish Daily Mail, the Daily Record and The Scottish Sun and what appears to have finally did for him was a tape recording – from last month – showing Gray making suggestive comments to fellow presenter, Charlotte Jackson, asking her to tuck a microphone into his trousers.

Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, is quoted by The Scotsman (page 8) saying: “Andy Gray’s contract has been terminated for unacceptable behaviour. After issuing a warning yesterday, we have no hesitation in taking this action after becoming aware of new information today.”

The Herald (page 5) reports suggestions that the decision to sack Gray might have been motivated by his suspicions that the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World’s reporters “may have hacked into his mobile phone”.

Meanwhile, The Scotsman reports that Westminster Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has delayed the final decision on whether Murdoch’s News Corporation can acquire the remaining stake (61 per cent) of BSkyB it does not already own. News Corp, which already own The Sun and The Times, made an offer in June. However, their plans have been slowed down by a report from media regulator, Ofcom, suggesting the deal “would pose a thread to competition and media plurality” (page 6).

Ofcom’s statement is supported by the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Guardian and Daily Mirror, as well as the BBC, Channel 4 and BT. News Corp has suggested the report is deficient and the proposed deal would not affect media plurality in the UK.

Hunter is quoted by The Herald (page 4) saying: “News Corporation says that it wishes me to consider undertakings in lieu which it contends could sufficiently alleviate the concerns I have.”

Finally – as reported by allmediascotland – a judgment yesterday allowed the use of Twitter by journalists from the courtroom where former MSP, Tommy Sheridan, was being sentenced today, for committing perjury. Says The Herald (page 4), the Scottish Courts Service has allowed the use of mobile phones, laptops, webboks and iPads “providing they are totally silent”.