Archive for the ‘Journalism’ Category

Indefensible: ‘The Independent’ is propped up by Zimbabwe

June 29, 2008

“The Independent (sic) on Sunday” has an absurd lead story today.

The online edition has a different headline.

Blood money: the MPs cashing in on Zimbabwe’s misery

The non-story amounts to a few front bench Tories owning shares in blue-chip British companies. It is unimaginable that Labour ministers don’t have similar interests in the likes of Shell, BP, Rio Tinto or Barclays. The vast majority of British citizens hold a stake in these firms either directly, through a FTSE tracker or via their pension scheme.

The so-called split between Cameron and the top Tories amounts to a quote by Cameron that companies shouldn’t be “propping up” Mugabe’s regime. Do The Independent consider Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to be propping up Tesco’s culling of cut-price clucks?!

Oddly enough the newspaper fails to mention its own connection with comrade Bob’s regime. Yup, Independent News & Media (INM) the parent company of “The Independent” and “The Independent on Sunday” does business in Zimbabwe.

INM run a company called Clear Channel Independent (CCI). Page 12 of INM’s Annual Report states:

CCI is the largest and fastest-growing outdoor advertising company in South Africa — which will host the 2010 FIFA World Cup — with significant operations also in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

INM have owned 50% of CCI since 2001 and bought the remaining 50% earlier this year from the US based Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO). There is a notable absence from CCO’s 10-K annual report regarding its sale of CCI to INM.

On January 17, 2008, we entered into an agreement to sell our equity investment in Clear Channel Independent, an out-of-home advertising company headquartered in South Africa with operations in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia

Only one country missing from this list: Zimbabwe. This 10-K file was filed with the SEC prior to the INM annual report. Either INM have recently started business in Zimbabwe or CCI were rather embarrassed about their company’s involvement in the country.

There are specific webpages set up for CCI’s Zimbabwean operation:

Contact details for doing business in Zimbabwe are available on the site.

CCI is profitable and effectively subsidising, the loss-making, Independent Newspaper, from page 18 of INM’s annual report:

Clear Channel Independent, had another strong year delivering a near 20% revenue growth in constant currency and strong double-digit profit growth.

It begs the question: have CCI’s billboards or other advertising apparatus been used to promote Robert Mugabe or Zanu-PF?

Kenneth Clarke and Baroness Jay are non-executive directors of Independent News & Media.


Newsnight: time for more despair!

February 15, 2008

The BBC’s flagship televisual news programme gets it wrong yet again when it comes to compiling a simple markets round up.

The FTSE-100 actually finished down 0.80 points on Valentines day 2008, not 80 points.

This follows a debacle in late November of not one but two cock-ups on consecutive nights. Radio 4 made the same faux pas while Newsnight editor Peter Barron admitted the mistake had been a repeat of earlier events.

For international readers: this is what a $7bn per annum state-funded broadcaster gets you!

It’s The Sun wot measures it

January 2, 2008

How those journalistic oracles did in 2007, thanks to The Sun’s Ian King (via FT Alphaville):

Investor’s Chronicle UP 23.41%
Sunday Telegraph UP 14.67%
The Times UP 12.20%
Mail on Sunday UP 11.49%
Independent on Sunday UP 5.41%
The Sun DN 0.93%
Daily Telegraph DN 1.19%
Daily Express DN 1.33%
Daily Mail DN 2.60%
The Independent DN 5.04%
The Guardian DN 5.99%
Sunday Times DN 15.1%
The Observer DN 15.5%

Best tip of the year was Tanfield in the Investors Chronicle which rose by 151%. The biggest faller was Rank which was tipped by both the Daily Mail and the Guardian – it fell by 60 per cent.

Among the other clunkers – Oakdene Homes in the Mail (dn 41pc); RBS in the Mail, Times, Sunday Times, Independent and Telegraph (dn 33pc); Experian in the Indie (down 34pc); Debt Free Direct in the Guardian (dn 60pc); Libra Natural Resources in the Express (dn 61pc) and, to prove I’m not immune, Bellway dn 47pc in the Sun.

Biggest gainers were Concateno in the Mail on Sunday (up 85pc); ICI in the Mail (up 48pc); Gyrus in the Guardian (up 65pc) and Asos – tipped by both the Express and the Times and up 138pc. My best one on the Sun was Landore Resources…up 79pc.