The Media in the Press 18.11.09

Second-year Journalism student, Alex McConnell, of Strathclyde University, takes a look at the media stories making it into the pages of today’s papers…

As reported yesterday on, STV has launched a legal action against ITV plc – owner of most of the ITV network – in a row over media rights. And The Scotsman – page 16 – has it accusing ITV of being a “playground bully”. The Scottish broadcaster claims that it could be owed up to £12 million after ITV signed deals, covering Scotland, with BT Vision and Virgin Media without obtaining the prior consent of license-holders, STV central and STV North. The Daily Record (page 9) also reports that STV’s decision to opt out of peak-time shows, such as The Bill and Doc Martin, and replacing them with cheaper shows, has angered ITV and has led them to launch their own legal proceedings.

Elsewhere, the Scottish Daily Mail (page 9) and The Herald (page 7) report plans by internet search engine giant, Google, to make a deal with thousands of UK authors, allowing them to publish their books online. Google has reached a provisional settlement with writers' groups in the USA, Canada and Australia which would make out-of-print books available for purchase in digital format. The decision is still deemed to be controversial, as Google has previously faced legal action by U.S. rights' holders for converting books to digital form without permission – in 2004.

And accusations, reported yesterday, by First Minister, Alex Salmond, that the BBC 'needs to step up to the plate', to pay more for the broadcasting rights to the 2014 Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow get another airing, this time by Herald sports writer, Doug Gillon.

Salmond's comments were prompted by the Scottish Government having to step in to help shore up a £81 million projected Games budget shortfall.

And on page 16 of The Herald sports supplement, Gillon writes, in the Final Say column: “Glasgow 2014 has been treading delicately around enquiries on the issue. It's clear they'd prefer the host broadcaster to be the BBC, who have the expertise to do the job best. Yet that was once the view about their football and cricket coverage. Satellite channels now surpass what the Beeb once did best in those sports.”

Other media stories:

* The BBC Trust has rejected calls for non-religious contributors to be allowed to appear on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Thought of the Day’ and insists that the decision does not breach editorial guidelines on impartiality – The Guardian (page 7) and The Times (page 4).

* Swindon has become the first town in Britain to have a community-wide Wi-Fi network. It will offer free, high speed wireless access to all its 186,000 residents in a scheme that, if successful, could be rolled out to other towns in the UK -The Guardian (page 15) and the Daily Telegraph (page 5).

* Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger, has resigned from the Press Complaints Commission code committee. The resignation has come after the regulator criticised the newspaper’s coverage of the News of the World 'phone-hacking row' – The Scotsman (page 4).

* Thousands of customers of mobile phone operators, T-Mobile, have had their personal data stolen and sold to rival firms by rogue T-Mobile employees. The Guardian (page 5) reports that the government’s privacy watchdog has called the scandal the biggest data breach of its kind and that the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, has vowed to “close the entire unlawful industry in personal data”. The Scottish Sun (page 27) and The Times (page 3) also cover the story, including the Information Commissioner’s calls for custodial sentencing in misuse of data trials. However, previous calls for prison terms have caused concern in that it may hamper investigative journalism.

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