Back Issues 13.03.03

It’s Max-Well for some

Litigious Mirror Group publisher Robert Maxwell had struck again. He had won “substantial damages” against the publishers and authors of an unauthorised biography Maxwell: A Portrait of Power. Unsold copies of the book by Peter Thompson and Anthony Delano were withdrawn and pulped. Maxwell also warned bookshops they could be sued if they continued to sell another biography, Maxwell the Outsider, by Tom Bower.

Monk replaces Miles

Ian Monk was appointed news editor of the Daily Mail. Monk, now a director of PR firm McLaurin Media, had been the Mail’s foreign editor. He succeeded Tim Miles who left to write a television play.

Drink to blame, again!

Guardian sketch writer Andrew Rawnsley was put “on trial” in the Commons after being accused by Labour MP Tony Banks of a potential breach of privilege. Rawnsley had, according to Banks, “insultingly” suggested that drink, laziness and incompetence were the reasons for poor attendance in the Commons. The charge was thrown out after MPs came down against a further inquiry into the case.

Forced handover

The BBC and ITN were caught up in the controversy of whether unbroadcast material should be given to the police. The broadcasters claimed they had no alternative but to comply with the law and hand over unshown film of the violence at a Belfast funeral which ended with the murder of two Army Corporals.

Conservative MPs called for new laws forcing the media to hand over any evidence on request and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said: “Either one is on the side of justice in these matters or on the side of the terrorist.”

But Labour’s broadcasting spokesman, Robert Corbett, said: “It is quite wrong that anger over the slaughter in Belfast should be turned on the broadcasters. But for the bravery of the BBC and ITN camera crews Saturday’s savagery might have been hidden from the world – which is what the terrorists would love.”

The NUJ argued that handing over film put journalists and camera crews at risk.

Good News About McCarthy

The speaker of the Iranian Parliament had indicated that John McCarthy, kidnapped in Beirut two years earlier, was still alive.

Scottish Quality

After months of speculation, Thomson Regional Newspapers announced that it was launching Scotland on Sunday. Scotland had been without its own quality Sunday since the closure of the Sunday Standard more than four years earlier. The new paper was described as “an independent commentator on Scottish affairs, a voice of reason and common sense”.

Just call in

Call In, Northern & Shell’s new weekly “phone-fun” tabloid, launched with a nipple count to make the Sunday Sport blush, according to Press Gazette. It included stories such as “Elvis’ Ghost Made Me Pregnant” and an agony column by Streatham madam Cynthia Payne. Associate editor of the title was topless model Suzanne Mizzi – but she resigned and gave up journalism after just two weeks.

Indy’s Record figures

The Independent newspaper, launched in October 1986, had reached a record circulation of 387,000 and editor and managing director Andreas Whittam Smith predicted the paper would go into profit in the second half of the financial year. The paper is now averaging sales of around 222,000.

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