Tag Archives: New Statesman

New Statesman: Hugh Grant turns the tables on the phone hackers

Hugh Grant secretly recorded a conversation with former News of the World deputy features editor Paul McMullen, during which the reporter claimed that former NotW editor Rebekah Brooks “absolutely” knew about illegal phone hacking.

The revelation appears in an article Grant has written for the New Statesman, which is guest-edited this week by the actor’s former partner Jemima Khan.

Grant, who believes he was himself a victim of phone hacking, ended up talking to McMullan when his “midlife crisis car” broke down in a Kent village just before Christmas and he was forced to accept a lift from the reporter, who was following him.

He was Paul McMullan, one of two ex-NoW hacks who had blown the whistle (in the Guardian and on Channel 4’s Dispatches) on the full extent of phone-hacking at the paper, particularly under its former editor Andy Coulson. This was interesting, as I had been a victim – a fact he confirmed as we drove along. He also had an unusual defence of the practice: that phone hacking was a price you had to pay for living in a free society. I asked how that worked exactly, but we ran out of time, and next thing we had arrived and he was asking me if I would pose for a photo with him, “not for publication, just for the wall of the pub”.

I agreed and the picture duly appeared in the Mail on Sunday that weekend with his creative version of the encounter. He had asked me to drop into his pub some time. So when, some months later, Jemima asked me to write a piece for this paper, it occurred to me it might be interesting to take him up on his invitation.

So Grant returned to the the Castle Inn Pub in Dover wearing a hidden microphone, and the fruits of his chat with McMullan will be published in this week’s New Statesman. An edited version is at this link.

New Statesman: Seymour Hersh on scoops and sources

World-renowned investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has been interviewed by the News Statesman. A few highlights:

Do you ever worry that your phone is bugged?

Some people I only talk to in their home or their office, but I arrange the calls here. To bug me legally they’d have to get a warrant; once you have something illegally you can’t use it very much. If the 9/11 attacks taught us one thing, it’s that the agencies collect lots of wonderful stuff they don’t share with anybody.

You rely a lot on unnamed sources. Is that a dangerous technique, or an invaluable one?

Look at the serious press in the UK, France, America: every single day there are unnamed sources. But I believe people in my profession should be held to an extremely high standard. I welcome the fact that people can sue me.

Full story at this link…

Jon Bernstein to join New Statesman as deputy editor

Jon Bernstein, former multimedia editor at Channel 4 is to join the New Statesman as deputy editor, replacing Emily Mann.

Writing on his blog, Bernstein announced that from November 12 he will be joining the New Statesman as deputy editor.

“I’ll be working under Jason Cowley and alongside his very talented team. And I’m pretty excited about it,” said Bernstein.

Jon joined ITN in 2005 as editor of the Channel 4 FactCheck website. Prior to that he was editor-in-chief of the DirectGov website, then editor-in-chief at silicon.com.

He was a founding blogger on TheMediaBlog.co.uk and writes guest posts for the very blog you’re reading, the Journalism.co.uk Editors’ Blog.

More information:

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New Statesman’s senior editor (politics) responds to accusations about his religious beliefs

A fascinating, if disquieting, saga has been evolving online over the past week: it started with three articles published on the Harry’s Place blog claiming to expose the religious views of the New Statesman’s senior editor (politics) Mehdi Hasan.

Following the articles, and Martin Bright’s (no) comment on his Spectator blog, Hasan has responded, here and here, with a list of reasons as to why he argues he is not an Islamist or Islamic extremist. He also argues that the HP pieces are quoting him ‘selectively, and out of context’.

Other reading: political blogger Sunny Hundal’s take on it here for Liberal Conspiracy (July 27), and a previous piece for context on Hasan and Harry’s Place, here on Pickled Politics (July 22).

Amnesty International Media Awards winners in full

Here are the winners from last night’s Amnesty International Media Awards; nominees and judges were reported here. The awards, designed to recognise ‘excellence in human rights reporting’, feature ten categories spread across print, broadcast and online journalism.

Gaby Rado Memorial Award
Aleem Maqbool, BBC News

International Television & Radio
World’s Untold Stories:  The Forgotten People, CNN, Dan Rivers and Mary Rogers

Nations & Regions
The Fight for Justice, The Herald Magazine by Lucy Adams

National newspapers
MI5 and the Torture Chambers of Pakistan, The Guardian by Ian Cobain

New media
Kenya: The Cry of Blood – Extra Judicial Killings and Disappearances, Wikileaks, Julian Assange

Periodicals – consumer magazines
The ‘No Place for Children’ campaign, New Statesman, Sir Al Aynsley Green, and Gillian Slovo

Periodicals – newspaper supplements
Why do the Italians Hate Us? The Observer Magazine, Dan McDougall and Robin Hammond

No One Much Cares, Newsweek, Eugene Richards

Forgotten: The Central African Republic, BBC Radio 4 – Today Programme, Edward Main, Ceri Thomas, Mike Thomson

Television documentary and docu-drama
Dispatches: Saving Africa’s Witch Children, Channel 4 / Red Rebel Films / Southern Star Factual, Mags Gavan, Joost Van der Valk, Alice Keens-Soper, Paul Woolwich

Television news
Kiwanja Massacre: Congo, Channel 4 News / ITN, Ben De Pear, Jonathan Miller, Stuart Webb and Robert Chamwami

Special award
This year’s Special Award for Journalism Under Threat was awarded to Eynulla Fәtullayev, from Azerbaijan.

Early Day Motion support for New Statesman negotiations not really needed

Update: The National Union of Journalists met with New Statesman management today and talks on a recognition agreement will continue, the NUJ has confirmed.

27 MPs have signed an early day motion supporting recognition of the UK National Union of Journalists by the New Statesman magazine management, but their support isn’t really needed anymore after the New Statesman owners agreed – last week – to meet the union after all.

The NUJ originally reported that the magazine management was refusing to recognise the union. In response, an Early Day Motion, proposed by MP John Cummings, was submitted on January 20, and asked for ‘the owners of the New Statesman to recognise the NUJ, to suspend the redundancies and to begin negotiations with the union over the future of the magazine.’

But on January 15 it had been announced that New Statesman management members will meet with the union to discuss the right to negotiate pay and work conditions.

Journalism.co.uk asked NUJ campaigns officer, Miles Barter, if the MPs’ support was a bit redundant. “It is yes,” he said. “The EDM was put in when they [New Statesman] weren’t [meeting with NUJ],” he said, but added that the NUJ is ‘grateful for their solidarity.’

NUJ Releases: New Statesman to discuss recognition / Irish NUJ urges Indy News&Media staff to resist wage cuts

Two more releases from the NUJ: the New Statesman is to meet to discuss NUJ recognition; and the the Irish Executive Council of the NUJ is urging members at Independent News and Media Plc not to sign up to a company-wide campaign to reduce wages.

NUJ Release – New Statesman doesn’t recognise union

The National Union of Journalists reports that the New Statesman is refusing to enter negotiations with the union:

“The union wrote to the company in May last year asking for a voluntary recognition agreement to cover pay and working conditions.

“But journalists on the magazine – who are almost all NUJ members – have been told by their boss that the company won’t play ball.”

Full release…

Index on Censorship names John Kampfner as chief exec

Former New Statesman editor John Kampfner has been named as chief executive of the press freedom magazine Index on Censorship.

“As a leading journalist and broadcaster John brings the vision and leadership skills needed to place Index at the centre of the debate surrounding freedom of expression and champion this vital human right nationally and globally,” said Jonathan Dimbleby, chairman of Index on Censorship, in an announcement on the Index on Censorship’s website.