Richard Littlejohn was in hot water with the Radio Authority over remarks he made on LBC Newstalk about a demo outside the Commons supporting the reduction of the homosexual age of consent. Littlejohn said: “The police should have turned the dogs on ’em and if that had failed, brought out the flamethrowers.” Littlejohn was also rapped by the RA for saying feminism had been “hijacked by hatchet-faced, shaven headed dykes in boiler suits who despise men”.
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Editor Stewart Steven’s contacts gave the Evening Standard such a long beat on Labour leader John Smith’s death that the first edition carrying the story was on sale to reporters outside Bart’s hospital before it was officially confirmed.
HORROR IN RWANDA
ITN diplomatic correspondent James Mates, who was reporting on the fighting in Rwanda, told Press Gazette it was his most horrific assignment. He said: “There has been nothing like Rwanda since Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were at it in Cambodia. There are dead bodies everywhere.”
UNDERFUNDED AND UNDERCOVER
The Independent was under financial pressure and had announced that it was cutting casual shifts and leaving 40 vacancies unfilled.
The cuts came in advance of the newspaper’s move from City Road to join Mirror Group at Canary Wharf. Also on the front page, television journalist Sue Lloyd-Roberts told how she had secretly filmed in China. She had entered the country on a tourist visa and filmed using a camera hidden in a holdall. Her series of films, shown by the BBC, caused an international outcry as they revealed gulags and the effects of continued nuclear testing in China.
NEIL OUT – WITHEROW IN
It was the end of an era at the Sunday Times with editor Andrew Neil leaving to launch a current affairs show for Rupert Murdoch’s Fox TV in New York. He was replaced by managing editor (news) John Witherow, who was made “acting” editor, before eventually being confirmed in the post he still holds a decade later. Neil set off for New York in typically bullish style. “I am going to the toughest television market in the world, but I come from the toughest newspaper market in the world and that will stand me in good stead.”
EMAP SEES IT COMING
It was probably one of the best bits of business Emap has ever done. The company had just bought FHM magazine for an undisclosed sum from Chris Astride. The magazine was then selling 76,000 copies a month and gave Emap a presence in the men’s market, which reaped dividends as “lads’ mags” boomed. Emap Metro managing director Sue Hawken said at the time: “We could see the growth in the market.” She was spot on. FHM now sells more than 600,000 copies a month.
VICTORY FOR JOURNALISTS’ RIGHTS
In a victory for the right of journalists to protect their sources, the European Court of Human Rights had backed British reporter Bill Goodwin. It ruled that his rights had been violated by the UK court order demanding that he reveal his sources or face a
fine or prison. In 1990 Goodwin was a trainee reporter on The Engineer magazine when he was leaked details about computer company Tetra’s finances. He was fined £5,000 for refusing to name his source.
KISS AND MAKE UP
The Daily Mirror and Daily Express apologised to Prince Edward after publishing a picture of him kissing Sophie Rhys-Jones in the grounds of Balmoral. It followed a complaint by Buckingham Palace to the Press Complaints Commission.