Freedom of the Press Under Siege

Churchill Freedom of the Press

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and one, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.

John Stuart Mill

Freedom of the press appears to be under siege in what used to be thought of as free nations.

It comes after talks were held overnight between the Lib Dem and Labour leaders and a senior Tory minister on a new press watchdog.

But Tory Maria Miller said leaders still needed to discuss details.

An overhaul of press regulation began after it was revealed that journalists had hacked thousands of phones.

Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry into press ethics in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal called for a new, independent regulator backed by legislation, which prompted months of political wrangling.

The prime minister had opposed establishing a watchdog backed by law, but the other parties have pushed for it.

The BBC’s Nick Robinson said Labour and the Liberal Democrats appeared to have accepted a watered-down version of their demands for full legal underpinning of a royal charter establishing a new watchdog.

Ms Miller said: “We’re very close to a deal. What has been accepted by all the main parties is that the prime minister’s royal charter should go ahead, and more importantly we’ve stopped Labour’s extreme version of the press law.”

Go here to BBC News to read the appalling rest.  Politicians tend to hate the media covering them and that is to be expected.  Few of us like to be criticized, and politicians tend to have bigger egos than most.  That is precisely however why a media free of any form of government control is so important.  The natural tendency is for those wielding political power to seek to co-opt those members of the media friendly to them and to neuter those who are not.  That is precisely why the Founding Fathers put into the First Amendment the guarantee of freedom of the press and took from Congress the power to regulate the press, because they understood this natural tendency and wished to erect a barrier against it.  Freedom is rarely lost all at once.  It is lost over time, by fragments.  This attempt to regulate the media is one such fragment of freedom lost.

 

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