Monday, 18 March 2013
RIP PRESS FREEDOM?
As a journalist with 20 years experience of working on local newspapers and writing for national ones, I obviously have a very strong view on politicians and powerful upper middle class organisations like Hacked Off trying to bring in measures that would control the press.
My own prolem with legislation is that it is always a step by step approach. First a little thing and as the years go on, law gets built up and then within a decade or two there are so many laws that no one dares to write a thing unless it has the approval of law makers - ie parliament - first. It's just a very dangerous road to go down and I'm not sure that those who want to go down that path do so for justice or revenge.
What I do know is that the majority of newspapers and journalists play very much by the rules even if some of the elite don't like those rules. They don't seem to care that if those accused of the hacking scandal are guilty, then they are a minority that played fast and loose with rules and they broke the law. As law is there to stop this kind of behaviour then why have another law when one exists?
And what constitutes truth? I know I read a lot of garbage in the Guardian, for example, usually some public health nonsense which isn't true but uses the Guardian to as a mouthpiece to fool the public but as it is doing Government's work for it then I doubt that it would ever be held to account. Certainly not by the many who choose a certain lifestyle who are defamed by the paper on a regular basis and then denied the legal right of reply because of the paper's own prejudicial bias.
I could write a post of several thousand words on this issue but the Fleet Street Fox pretty much says what I would have said only a bit better. So if press freedom and restrictions are something that interest you then do pop along over there and read how Governent in its desire to control free speech are about the make a dog's dinner of something they would be wise not to meddle with at all but if they do then Foxy is spot on when she says :
We need a Press regulator where editors aren’t welcome. Its members should be made up of ordinary members of the public, because I trust them more than I do anyone in Westminster. Alongside them, for expertise, should be a smaller number of ordinary journalists – hacks, snappers, subs, local and national – who know the ground and have the experience and wit to know what’s fair and what’s beyond the pale. No Establishment figures, no appointees, no editors.
Amen to that.
Nick Cohen, ironically writing in The Guardian, is also spot on and his views are also well worth a good read.