Back Issues 12.08.04

SUNDAY TIMES IN THE CLEAR

The Sunday Times was cleared by the Press Council over the way reporters Barrie Penrose and Simon Freeman had obtained details of Mark Thatcher’s bank account. The paper’s investigation followed controversy over Thatcher’s consultancy work for a British company that had won a £300m contract in Oman. The Press Council ruled that subterfuge used by the reporters was “within permissible limits” because of the public interest.

LAMB WINS DAMAGES FROM TATLER

Tatler paid “substantial damages” to Sir Larry Lamb, editor of the Daily Express. The magazine and then editor, Tina Brown, apologised for the piece, which had claimed Sir Larry was sacked as editor The Sun and as editor-in-chief of the Western Mail in Australia.

MAXWELL APPALLED BY SNOOPING

In an interview with Press Gazette, Robert Maxwell was on a crusade to clean up British journalism and planned to introduce a
code of conduct for his journalists in the Mirror Group. Maxwell boasted that he had stopped a Mirror photographer being sent to Geneva to take pictures of Liz Taylor at Richard Burton’s graveside. He also threatened to withdraw from the Press Council because it had cleared The Sunday Times revelations about Mark Thatcher’s bank account. Fumed Maxwell: “I am appalled… authorising snooping on a person’s bank account. That is disgraceful.” A proper snoop into Maxwell’s bank accounts might have uncovered the cash he disgracefully looted from the Mirror pension fund.

TRAINEE PRINTERS BANGED OUT

When trainee journalists pass the National Certificate exam they probably get a simple “well done” from their colleagues and a drink down the office boozer. Not so these young printers from the Financial Times, who were “banged out” in traditional Fleet Street style after completing their five-year apprenticeships. Brian Calder and Tony Mainstone were tied to a barrow by their workmates, covered with printer’s ink, sawdust and paint and then left on a traffic island outside St Paul’s Cathedral.

TABLOIDS GO BARMY FOR BINGO

Bingo wars had broken out in Fleet Street, with both The Sun and the Daily Mirror offering prizes of £1m. Former Daily Star editor Derek Jameson warned: “Bingo fever and millionaire madness could produce blood on the Street.” He was worried that the Daily Star, where he started newspaper bingo, could be trampled underfoot. “Having started the whole process, I feel we must get back to sanity,” Jameson said. After producing its first £1m bingo winner, The Sun promised another £1m prize to come. The Sun said: “We can’t believe it either. We’ve all gone barmy.”

LOACH SL AMS FILM SCRAPPING

Award-winning film director Ken Loach attacked a decision by Central Television to scrap two documentaries he had made about trade unions. He claimed the move was politically motivated. Central said the programmes were libellous

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