Back Issues 17.06.05

JUNE 1975

BY JON SLATTERY

“Irresponsible and undesirable”

Press
Gazette led on a story that a splash in the Sunday People headlined
“Hit man squeals on 200 villains” had led to a retrial being ordered at
the Old Bailey. The article gave the antecedents of a prosecution
witness who had not completed his evidence. The prosecution counsel
described the report as “irresponsible and totally undesirable”. The
report was referred to the DPP and Attorney General to consider
contempt charges.

Too many papers, says Times boss

The owner of The Times, Lord Thomson, claimed the right number of
national newspapers in Britain would be four. Speaking at the Foreign
Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong, Lord Thomson said there were too
many national newspapers in Britain from an economic point of view. He
declared he would carry on with The Times “unless the labour force gets
so obstreperous that we won’t put up with what they are doing”.

Strike nearly led to riot

Allegations of a “near-riot” on an NUJ picket line and counter
claims of victimisation were made at a strike at the Stratford Express
in East London. It followed the sacking of FoC Aidan White for alleged
bad timekeeping. Editor Leon Hickman said the picket line outside the
paper’s office had turned nasty, prompting a big police presence. He
said: “I’ve never seen so many policemen, more than at Wembley for a
cup final. There were 70 police there and another 30 or 40 in reserve
nearby.” The NUJ claimed White had been victimised. White is now
general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists.

Murdoch shuffles the pack

Rupert Murdoch was shuffling his editors in the UK. Editorial
director Larry Lamb was returning to edit The Sun, a post he had
relinquished four years earlier. Sun editor Bernard Shrimsley was
switched to edit The News of the World. Peter Stephens, editor of the
News of the World was switched to associate editor of The Sun. Lamb
told Press Gazette: “There is nothing sinister in these moves.”

Editor and photographer are seized by citizen’s arrest

The editor and photographer of the Oxford Journal were seized by
citizen’s arrest outside the city’s magistrates’ court following a case
in which a man was charged after a National Front demonstration. The
man and his friends grabbed photographer Robert Judges after he took a
picture of him. When editor John Elworthy joined the group they were
accused of taking an illegal picture within the precincts of the court
and told they had both been subjected to a citizen’s arrest.

Police allowed Judges and Elworthy to leave with the film intact.

They claimed the picture was taken several yards from the court at a spot often used by the press.

Press Council clears Express in borderline case

The Press Council rejected a complaint against the Daily Express by
the Marquess of Ailesbury after it published a picture of Lord Lucan’s
children. Lord Ailesbury said publication had come after the Official
Solicitor had asked there should be no more publicity about the
children, who had been made wards of court. Express editor Alastair
Burnet said the Lucan affair – the peer went missing after his nanny
was found bludgeoned to death – was so exceptional that he considered
it perfectly proper to publish pictures of the children, provided that
they were not in bad taste and were properly acquired.

The Press Council described it as a “borderline” case but said it was not prepared to say the editor was wrong to publish.

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