The Sudanese government has initiated a sweeping crackdown on the country’s press, confiscating the printed copies of 14 daily newspapers.
The National Intelligence and Security Service seized the newspapers, according to Sudan’s press council, which said it had “deep regret at this step to block this large number of newspapers”.
Sudan often confiscates isolated print runs because of stories that anger the government, but this an extraordinarily large number.
The country’s Journalists for Human Rights group said the action “represents an unprecedented escalation by the authorities against freedom of the press and expression”.
The publications were “seized in accordance with the law,” the country’s information minister said in comments reported by The Guardian.
A sit-in outside the press conference offices was organised by journalists, about 50 of whom attended. Sudan ranks poorly on international press freedom indexes.
Buffett buys into 21st Century Fox
Billionaire Warren Buffett, who owns dozens of local newspapers in the US, has bought into Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, purchasing almost million shares in an effort to boost his media holdings.
Mr Buffett’s investment vehicle Berkshire Hathaway made the acquisitions during the fourth quarter of the year.
21st Century Fox was formed after News Corporation split its entertainment and mass media businesses from its publishing arm.
Mr Buffett has also invested in Charter Communications, a cable TV provider in the United States, and fellow providers DirecTV, Liberty Global and Viacom.
The billionaire has previously signalled his belief in the future of newspapers after buying up almost 70 of them over the last few years.
American journalists hopeful for drone go-ahead
The US Federal Aviation Administration has proposed new regulations for the use of drones, prompting optimism among journalists that they could have greater freedom to use them in newsgathering.
If the proposal is adopted without much debate, new rules could be in place in a year.
NiemanLab writer Matt Waite wrote: “Put simply, drones for journalism become very possible and very legal under these rules.”
Under the suggested regulations, pilots would not need a license but would have to undertake a knowledge test in order to operate a drone.
The Transport Security administration would have to ‘vet’ applicants, and the drones would have to be registered.
Flights would only be possible during the day, drones would not be able to fly directly over people, and in cities, permission from air traffic control would be necessary.
However, compared to the regulations currently in the US, which are currently very restrictive, journalists would have far more freedom to use drones as part of normal newsgathering activities.
Mirror apologies for phone hacking
The UK’s Daily Mirror has published an open apology to its readers admitting the paper has practiced phone hacking, following dozens of compensation claims by public figures who say their voicemails were tapped.
The paper’s parent company, Trinity Mirror, published the apology in last Friday’s edition on page two, and described the hacking as an “unacceptable intrusion”.
“Some years ago voicemails left on certain people’s phones were unlawfully accessed,” the paper said.
“And in many cases the information obtained was used in stories in our national newspapers.
“It was unlawful and should never have happened, and fell far below the standards our readers expect and deserve … We are taking this opportunity to give every victim a sincere and unreserved apology for what happened.”
Last month, Trinity Mirror settled claims with five celebrities, including singers Cilla Black and Peter Andre for phone hacking by the Mirror between 2000 and 2006.
In September, the company faced claims from 10 celebrities after admitting it hacked the phones of four others.
The Mirror had previously denied that there was any evidence phone hacking took place at the newspaper.
News International title News of the World was closed in 2011 as a result of phone hacking allegations that led to a number of inquiries and arrests.
New York Times media writer David Carr dead at 58
The editor of The New York Times has described David Carr as “the finest media reporter of his generation” following the Times journalist’s sudden death last week.
Mr Carr collapsed in the New York newsroom at 9pm local time, and was pronounced dead a short time later. He was 58 years old.
Author of the Times’ Media Equation column, Mr Carr was followed globally for his plain-spoken but lively critiques and sharp analysis of the media landscape in the US and overseas.
“His unending passion for journalism and for truth will be missed by his family at the Times, by his readers around the world and by people who love journalism,” executive editor Dean Baquet wrote in an email to staff.
Mr Carr’s success at The New York Times is made more remarkable by the fact that he had once been a cocaine addict and dealer, battling drug and alcohol addiction and the cancer Hodgkin’s Lymphoma before and joining the newspaper in 2002 after arehabilitation.
An autopsy showed Mr Carr died of complications from lung cancer. His funeral was held on Tuesday.
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