Jour­nal­ism un­der fire from abuse and trolls

The Guardian - - JOURNAL -

What with Don­ald Trump’s bom­bas­tic dis­par­age­ment of jour­nal­ists and Bri­tish politi­cians’ do-lit­tle dis­re­gard of those who heckle and troll work­ing jour­nal­ists for their “awk­ward” ques­tions, it can­not be long be­fore vi­tu­per­a­tion begets vi­o­lence. BBC chair­man David Cle­menti nailed the prob­lem at the Royal Tele­vi­sion So­ci­ety con­fer­ence in Cambridge in high­light­ing the abuse suf­fered (par­tic­u­larly by women jour­nal­ists such as the BBC’s Laura Kuenss­berg and Emma Bar­nett) in re­porters’ hon­est pur­suit of news cov­er­age in the cur­rent highly charged po­lit­i­cal at­mos­phere (BBC calls for politi­cians to stop at­tacks on re­porters, 14 Septem­ber). When dan­ger is per­ceived in war zones, front-line war cor­re­spon­dents are af­forded the em­bed­ded pro­tec­tion of friendly forces; where ug­li­ness has threat­ened sports writ­ers – ei­ther from man­age­ment or sup­port­ers – ed­i­tors have aban­doned cov­er­age un­til such be­hav­iour is mod­er­ated.

The safety of po­lit­i­cal and other jour­nal­ists is no less im­por­tant than their duty and their right to ask, on be­half of the public, un­com­fort­able ques­tions of politi­cians. When heck­ling is al­lowed to get out of hand on the hus­tings what trusted, neu­tral body can or­gan­ise a boy­cott as a pun­ish­ment? Ipso? Of­com? The So­ci­ety of Ed­i­tors? David Banks (Daily Mir­ror ed­i­tor, 1992-94), Crookham, Northum­ber­land • In the same edi­tion, you report the BBC’s call for politi­cians to stop at­tack­ing its re­porters, the ed­i­tor of the Evening Stan­dard satir­i­cally wish­ing death on the prime min­is­ter and the BBC plan­ning a drama se­ries in which it “shreds” the print me­dia. Per­haps if these peo­ple all got to­gether in some­body’s club... W Stephen Gil­bert Cor­sham, Wilt­shire • Is Ge­orge Os­borne a news­pa­per ed­i­tor or politi­cian, asks Gaby Hinsliff (Opin­ion, 15 Septem­ber). She seems to have for­got­ten he’s also mak­ing £650k a year work­ing one day a week for Black­Rock, the world’s largest fund man­ager. Os­borne con­tin­ues too as un­paid chair of his think­tank, the North­ern Pow­er­house Part­ner­ship. He’s clearly a man of many roles; which makes it even harder than Hinsliff says to guess his mo­ti­va­tions. Dr Alex May Manch­ester • Laura Kuenss­berg’s cov­er­age of the po­lit­i­cal scene is con­sis­tently in­ci­sive, un­bi­ased and coura­geous. It is also without bias. I am shocked to read that this fine re­porter has re­ceived abuse from both left and right for do­ing her job. Les Far­ris South Pether­ton, Som­er­set

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