Media in the Press 1.2.11

CLAUDIE Qumsieh, a post-graduate Journalism student at Edinburgh Napier University, casts her eyes over the media stories making the papers today…

A well-known sportsman has won an appeal against a ruling which would have allowed the press to unmask him as having had an affair with two women, behind the back of his long-term partner. The piece is being interpreted by some as a restriction on press freedom.

The Herald (page 12) reports that the sportsman, referred to in court as JIH, had discovered that News Group Newspapers was planning to publish a story based on information provided by one of the people he is said to have had an alleged sexual encounter with (known as ZZ). The sportsman had been in a long-term relationship with XX.

High Court Judge, Lord Neuberger – in overturning a previous ruling allowing the media to identify the sportsperson – is quoted, saying: “Since his relationship with XX had started, but before August 2010, a story had been published without JIH having received any prior notice, suggesting he had a sexual liaison with another person, who I shall call YY. The story whose publication JIH is seeking to prevent concerns an alleged sexual encounter he had with a different person, to whom I shall refer as ZZ, last year.”

The previous ruling placed a ban on the details of the alleged sexual liaison being made public, but not the identity of the sportsman. It prompted the current appeal by JIH.

The story is also covered by the Scottish Daily Mail (page 8), which says: “The Appeal Court judgment will be seen as a victory for the rich and famous who use privacy rules to silence the media.” It quotes Niri Shan, of law firm, Taylor Wessing, as saying: “This allows the rich and powerful to ensure the affairs pass without scrutiny. This isn’t about privacy at all, but about protecting commercial contracts.”

Meanwhile, as reported on allmediascotland yesterday, football pundit, Derek Johnstone, has left Radio Clyde to join Real Radio Scotland. The Scottish Sun (page 3) reports that “the veteran broadcaster’s sudden transfer was hailed as a major coup in the battle for supremacy between the Glasgow-based stations”.

The Daily Record (page 8) covers the BBC’s attempts to curb any suggestions of sexism and ageism, by welcoming 63 year-old Julia Somerville back on the news – as noted in yesterday’s Media in the Press. Writes the paper’s Joan Burnie: “There will have to be an awful lot more, or at least as many as there are of older men, before anyone can say this is a genuine breakthrough rather than tokenism.”

She goes on: “Where are the equivalents of the Dimbleby brothers or Jeremy Paxman? When did you last see a woman with grey hair read the news? Even if Somerville has some, they were well covered up on Saturday.”

Elsewhere in the Daily Record (page 7), it reports of a ‘stand-in weather girl’ setting ‘pulses soaring’, alongside a photo of a bikini-clad Lara Lewington, who made an emergency appearance on BBC Scotland to cover for regular weather presenter, Judith Ralston – who is heavily pregnant.

Because Lewington presented the weather from a London studio, a ‘source’ is quoted saying: “Some of the producers are worried that this could set a precedent. What nobody wants is for the bean counters to decide it was such a success that they will keep it that way.” A BBC Scotland spokesman is quoted, saying: “We needed a quick cover due to unforeseen circumstances. Lara was brought in as a one-off.”

More newsreaders making the headlines, this time the younger side of the spectrum: Emma Crosby is to become “the face of Channel 5 News” according to the Scottish Daily Express (page 25). The 33 year-old has worked at Sky, the BBC and GMTV. Crosby is quoted, saying she is “hugely excited about joining the team”. She is further quoted, adding: “From the outset, Channel 5 News has always enjoyed the reputation of offering viewers something a little bit different.” Crosby will anchor the daily 7pm bulletin, starting on Valentine’s Day.

Elsewhere in the news, most papers have covered a new ‘Deals’ feature on social networking site, Facebook, which will allow – as reported by Katie Hodge in The Scotsman (page 21) – Facebook users “to cash in on special shop discounts and deals in cafes and restaurants with a new mobile phone feature”.

‘Places Deals’ uses the user’s location and then flags up offers in their local area. Starbucks, Debenhams and Argos are just some of the brands who have created offers in conjunction with Facebook. The story is also covered by The Herald (page 8) and The Scottish Sun (page 22), which reports that Facebook users will “save up to £1,000 a year”.

And finally, six detained journalists have been freed in Egypt, as reported in The Scotsman (page 7). Satellite channel, Al Jazeera, said the English Service journalists were freed, a day after the news network was told by Egyptian authorities to shut down its operations in the country. Al Jazeera saw its satellite signal to some parts of the Middle East cut on Sunday. The US state Department had called for the release of the journalists.