Brian Cathcart Profile picture
Journalist/author. He/him. Ex-prof of journalism, Kingston Univ, and ex-director, Hacked Off. Write mainly about untrusted UK national press.
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Jul 11 6 tweets 2 min read
Some questions for @TheSun to answer in the so-called #BBCscandal, which may be yet another #SUNscandal.

1. Before publishing on Saturday, did you contact or attempt to contact the young person allegedly at the centre of events, to seek their comment?

2. If not, why not?
3. If you did contact them, why did you not quote them?

4. Did you receive a denial of your story last Friday or Saturday, coming from or sent on behalf of the young person?

5. If you did, why did you not mention it in any of your subsequent reports?
Jul 8 25 tweets 5 min read
This @Guardian article is wrong in so many ways it is hard to know where to start. Perhaps most importantly, and certainly most perversely, it is wrong in ways that are bad for the future of journalism. A thread...… The article reports on a government plan to repeal Section 40, which was part of the Leveson press reforms designed (1) to make independent press regulation effective and (2) to protect journalists from legal bullying. The @Guardian doesn't tell you either of those things.
Jun 30 10 tweets 4 min read
After the #Clarkson /Sun ruling they will big up IPSO, aka @ipsonews, as a real, muscular press regulator.
Here are 10 facts you need to know.
1. Supposedly empowered to slap £1 million fines on erring papers, in nine years IPSO has never handed down even a £10 fine. 🧵 2. Nor, in those nine years, has @ipsonews ever detected a single instance of racism in the papers it regulates. It dismissed complaints when a Sun columnist called refugees cockroaches, and it took no action against the Daily Mail over this vile cartoon. 2/
Mar 30 5 tweets 2 min read
The disastrous state of public trust in the UK press. Here is the latest World Values Study from King's College London. 3,056 UK people were asked how much confidence they have in the press. How did their responses compare with other countries? 1/5… Out of 20 countries, only Egypt showed up worse in the World Values Study. These findings amply confirm the picture painted year after year by the surveys from the EBU, like this last year - showing the UK 32nd out of 37 European countries. (2/5)
Oct 6, 2022 8 tweets 2 min read
Among the responses we are likely to hear to today's news that the Mail is being sued for hacking and blagging are 1. this is ancient history and 2. that it's just bleating celebs. Let's consider these now. 1/8 The alleged wrongdoing is probably dated between 1996 and 2012. Not quite as long ago as, say, Martin Bashir's BBC interview with Princess Diana (1995), a subject the Daily Mail thought was fresh enough to justify a fierce campaign against the BBC just in the past year. 2/8
Jun 20, 2022 10 tweets 3 min read
A thread on #CarrieGate and journalism.

We are often told by Tory ministers and Tory papers that journalism is vital to a healthy democracy. This is often deployed as an pretext by the former to do favours for the latter. It's true none the less . . . 1/10 . . . and one of the reasons our democracy is in such a mess is that we don't have nearly enough decent journalism. As #CarrieGate shows.

Journalists serve democracy by informing citizens of the state of the world. They can't tell you everything, but . . . 2/10
Jun 13, 2022 12 tweets 4 min read
For those who celebrating @carolecadwalla's wonderful #libel victory who now want an overhaul of libel law to prevent journalists being bullied in this way, I have good news. A potentially very useful, if not quite complete, solution is ready and waiting. 1/12 Leveson proposed, and in 2013 Parliament endorsed in law, an arrangement to protect news publishers from 'chilling' by wealthy litigants. Why is it not in force? Because the newspaper corporations didn't like it and the Conservative government shelved it at their behest. 2/12
May 12, 2022 10 tweets 3 min read
Some further observations on the government's corrupt Covid 'bung' to its press cronies, as discussed in yesterday's remarkable tweet by Dominic Cummings @Dominic2306 🧵 ('him' = Boris Johnson) @BylineTimes 1/10 Image First I should repeat that we don't just have the word of a disaffected former adviser for this. Though never reported in the mainstream (for obvious reasons) this was in plain sight. I last wrote about it here: (2/10)…
Mar 30, 2022 16 tweets 3 min read
When national newspapers and their journalists complain about being bullied by unscrupulous lawyers acting for shady rich people (and they are complaining about it a lot just now), there is something very important they are not telling you. A thread. 1/15 Make no mistake: this kind of bullying, which is known in journalism as 'chilling', sometimes happens and is not good. Rich litigants – individuals and companies – are sometimes able to hamstring worthwhile journalism by imposing huge legal costs risks on news publishers. 2/15
Feb 20, 2022 11 tweets 3 min read
More shameful and dishonest journalism here from the Telegraph. Nowhere in this article did the interviewee say anything like this. What she actually said that she is ‘full of love’ for the National Trust. And that’s only the start. . . (thread) This is the Telegraph pursuing the ludicrous vendetta of the right-wing papers against was they call the ‘increasingly woke’ National Trust (see below). And there isn't just one unsubstantiated headline in this case, there are two. 2/…
Jan 28, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
What we are witnessing is the UK's equivalent of the storming of the Capitol. Johnson should no longer be PM and everybody bar a few fanatics knows it, but (with the Met's assistance) an outrageous attempt is being made to keep him in office. 1/4 The constitution, such as it is, is being torn up. Governments and PMs are supposed to be constrained by the law and the police are meant to uphold the law. MPs are not supposed to lie and other MPs are meant to police that. Such checks and balances are being set aside. 2/4
Dec 2, 2021 17 tweets 3 min read
You can read the full #Meghan judgment here:…) But here is a thread of extracts. 'The extensive new evidence seems to have been more directed at correcting allegations raised in the pleadings than at issues relevant to the question at hand, namely whether the judge should have granted summary judgment in this case.'
Dec 2, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
The Mail's tactic in the #meghan case was always to pretend, in public, that it was the Duchess who was on trial. She never was. It was the Mail that was required to defend what it had done, and it simply could not. 1/5 She has won resoundingly at every stage. A High Court judge who the Mail almost certainly believed would be sympathy to its case gave victory to the Duchess in February without even holding a trial... 2/5
Nov 18, 2021 5 tweets 3 min read
So there we have it. The front page lead on @thetimes of London (prop: R Murdoch, ed: J Witherow) is once again a load of tendentious nonsense and the foreign minister of a European country discovers to her dismay just how low the paper has sunk. 1/5 The Albanian ambassador tells @guardian that he told @thetimes 'at least 10 times' yesterday that its story was groundless, but Witherow & Co went ahead and published anyway, on the basis that 'Albanian officials did not deny unofficial talks'. 2/5…
Sep 29, 2021 9 tweets 3 min read
I don’t write much about broadcast journalism but I'm fascinated by the questions about news values raised by the BBC’s refusal to report or discuss the @PeterStefanovi2 viral video of Boris Johnson lies. There’s been a small development... 1/9 I wrote this article (below) saying that, given what I and others (inc ITV and Sky) considered to be the obvious newsworthiness of Stefanovic's film, I could only conclude that the BBC had blacklisted him. 2/9…
Sep 14, 2021 6 tweets 3 min read
Did you know the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe has urged MPs to vote against parts of the Police, Crime Sentencing & Courts Bill and warned it may breach the European Convention on Human Rights? @AdamWagner1 @davidallengreen 1/6… The letter is dated 1 July but doesn't seem to have had much coverage. The Commissioner's warning should surely carry weight given that the Council of Europe (*not* an EU body) is the continent's leading institutional human rights watchdog. @libertyhq @BBCNews 2/6
May 18, 2021 6 tweets 2 min read
Priti Patel has thrust herself into the formally *independent* business of the *independent* panel on the #DanielMorgan murder, demanding more time to read the report before MPs or the public see it and threatening to black out passages of text. 1/6 Bear in mind that this case is all about corruption. It is the most investigated unsolved murder in UK history because of corruption – corrupt police officers, corrupt journalists, and perhaps others. The panel report has been 8 years in the making. 2/6
May 11, 2021 10 tweets 3 min read
Were you frustrated by the ending of #LineOfDuty? Imagine what it's like to fight police corruption in real life for 34 years – and still not have seen your brother's murderers brought to book? Maybe, just maybe, things are going to change for @AlastairMorgan next week. 1/9 After 5 failed investigations, an 'independent panel' has been reviewing the Daniel Morgan case *for 8 years*. It reports on Monday. Has it got to the truth? Or did corruption (which the police have admitted in the past) block the panel's way too? We're about to find out. 2/9
Mar 31, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
Leaked to friendly hacks. No prior peer review. It doesn't look as though even the government had much faith its big race report will stand up to scrutiny. 1/4… In truth this is no 'commission', just a panel handpicked by the Conservatives to provide a veneer of respectability for their awful slogans of prejudice. No institutional racism? Please. 2/4
Mar 9, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
There is nothing new in what the press is doing to #MeghanAndHarry, though the scale and venom are amazing. They did the same to Caroline Flack – also in the full knowledge that she had mental health problems. There are countless victims. They – and we – deserve better. 1/5 Journalism is supposed to be a force for good, and if we are seeing anything that gives ground for hope today it is those few journalists who are stepping back and saying 'Not in my name'. 2/5
Feb 10, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read
Judgment in the latest stage of the breach of privacy and copyright case brought by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex against Associated Newspapers will be handed down tomorrow, Thursday, at 4pm. A short thread on what can happen. #MeghanAndHarry 1/5 It's an application by the Duchess for 'summary judgment', seeking to cut short proceedings on the grounds that, her lawyers claim, Associated's case is so weak there's no need for a trial. 2/5