Media in the Press 31.1.11

FEARGHUS Roulston, a post-graduate Journalism student at Edinburgh Napier University, casts his eyes over the media stories making the papers today…

On a fairly quiet day for media stories in the press, further dimensions to the case of alleged phone hacking by News of the World reporters take centre stage. Both The Scotsman and The Herald focus on claims by former MP George Galloway that the paper has offered him money as he prepares a civil action against it. The Herald (page 6) reports Galloway’s comments to BBC1’s The Politics Show, where he claimed: “I have began a civil action for breach of privacy…The News of The World are busily offering me substantial sums of money.”

In a further twist, the lawyer for former MSP, Tommy Sheridan – jailed last week for three years after being found guilty of lying during a defamation case against the News of the World five years ago – is reported claiming the paper attempted to access his answer-phone messages. It is widely reported that Aamer Anwar has filed a complaint with police about the newspaper’s conduct. Anwar – says The Herald (page 6) – has been working with Mark Lewis, a lawyer understood to be representing a number of public figures with complaints about phone-hacking. It is being noted the pair have apparently compiled a list of other 20 Scots who also have suspicions about the security of their phone messages.

The Daily Record (page 6) alleges Anwar was the victim of an attempted ‘blagging call’ – an attempt to trick his phone company, Vodafone, into giving out his security PIN number to a third party.

Meanwhile, his client, Sheridan, continues to make the news. According to the Scottish Daily Express (page 19), Sheridan will be able to claim his £8,500 MSP pension despite his jailing. Emma Boon, campaign director of the Taxpayer’s Alliance, is quoted in the paper, saying: “Infuriatingly for taxpayers, there is nothing to stop him claiming his generous, taxpayer-funded pension.”

Finally, several papers report that the BBC is set to replace outgoing morning radio presenter, Shelagh Fogarty, with an older woman, in an attempt to counter accusations of ageism. The Scottish Sun (page 4, TV Biz) claims Fiona Philips (50) and Julia Bradbury (40) are front-runners for the breakfast spot on BBC Radio 5 live. The story is also in the Scottish Daily Mail (page 5), which points to 63 year-old Julia Somerville’s new role as the presenter of the BBC’s evening news, as the BBC appears to be trying to avoid accusations of ageism.