We need a free press more than ever

7 October 2012

I’m a bit late with this, as the book has been out a few days or so. But it’s worth getting hold of Mick Hume’s book about newspapers: There is No Such Thing As A Free Press. It’s very good, a timely defence of freedom of the press at the time of Leveson, but rightly critical too of our manifest failings; our narcissism and laziness and sense of self importance. Here’s Hume at the end of the book in admonishing mode:

‘Journalism should be more humble – and take itself more seriously. We need journalism to recognise that its primary responsibility is to report and reflect the world, not to run it or rescue it. Yet at the same time journalism should take itself more seriously and recognise just how important it is. A free media has a vital role to play in informing public debate with the facts and the arguments that society needs to get close to the truth.’

Yes, I make that about right. Mick’s book was printed by Societas and you can get a copy for nine quid in your local bookstore.

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  • rndtechnologies786


  • John Steadman

    The role of the press at this moment should be, most emphatically, to expose and highlight the curb on free speech that is progressing at a rate of knots at the present time; yet they seem to me to be complicit in this, the scandalous Mohammed cartoon episodel being only one wholly outrageous example.
    Yes, we see a stream of stories, or mini-exposés, of Big Brother Britain, where, for example, we find pathetic drunken non-entities being sent down for foul-mouthing fellow passengers on the 6.15 to Orpington or launching a stupid diatribe against some hapless victim on Twitter. But where is the follow-up, where are the camapigns, where is the pressure, the determination to bring home to Joe in the street what is going on in this country in his name? Where is the willingness to do that from which our elected representaives shy away, intimidated by the the now swaggering PC opinion-making elite? Where is the determination to tackle systematically – systematically – the religious fanatics, diversity thugs and purveyors of victimhood who exploit with increasing success the folly and cowardice of our law-makers and executors?
    Self-censorship, should not be any part of the mission of the editor, except in the most obvious and pressing of circumstances. And while the antics of of tarts wiith tits and drug-drenched, pampered here today and gone tomorrow celebs might sell a copy or two, their obsession with them will do little to address the problem of the curtailment of our liberties at the hands of the pusillanimous crowd-pleasing rabble at Westminister whom we have, inexplicably, elected to govern us.
    Levenson should not be used as an excuse for continued abandonment of one of the most essential duties of the press – to defend our freedoms now under ruthless and wholly brazen attack by a morally bankrupt gutless political establishment.

    • DavidH

      Agree totally about the inadequacies of the press at this time. But you can’t talk about the “duties of the press” as though they are under some kind of obligation to perform. They are private entities and if they want to sell themselves and become part of the rotten establishment then that’s their right. The shame is that nobody else is taking up the vacancy as the true “free press”. And the real shame that possibly nobody would want to read it anyway.

  • Alastair Morgan

    We need a free press, of course. But Leveson has really only scratched the surface of the criminality that has been going on in the media. Recent allegations of burglaries on MPs on behalf of TNOW reported to the Met but not acted upon are disturbing enough. And we still haven’t got to the bottom of the role played by TNOW around the murder of my brother, Daniel Morgan. We know that they attempted to interfere with a murder inquiry. This came out in the Leveson inquiry. But the motives are extremely murky. It has also been alleged that Southern Investigations was spying on Lord Stevens on behalf of TNOW. The web of illicit intrusions, possible blackmail etc. woven by some sections of the media has really only been touched upon. Maybe a “Free press” is the key to cleaning up this appalling mess.

  • DavidH

    Free press? Most newspapers seem to think free press is about the freedom to run the latest celebrity caught with no clothes on, or shagging the wrong person. What could be more in the public interest? Or of interest to the public?? They don’t seem as interested in the freedom to investigate abuses by those in power, to question the cosy relationships between government and big business and finance, to ask what kind of choices voters are actually being offered, to call out politicians when they use meaningless PR slogans to hide their lack of substance.

  • Roy

    The press are either completely impotent to address any foul misdeeds that constantly pose themselves in front of our very eyes, or they are are blind, or they are treasonably inclined. The same goes for our elected personages and our esteemed public broadcaster. How can it it be otherwise since none work for, speak or act for the long standing indigene citizens of these Islands. While giving all support imaginable to the UN camp, with snuggles and embraces for the EU. Along with the continuing import with financial help to individuals who are sworn enemies of our state to settle here among us. The press with its media uncles and aunts continue as if if under a trance, unable to get a grip to what is happening. Unable to see the light of this darkening abyss swallowing all our age old freedoms slowly but surely before our glazed unseeing eyes.

  • Sarah

    Public debaters don’t turn to the press for their facts. They turn to academics and professionals. Journalists don’t inform anyone of any importance, they just inform one another. Debate would be considerably freer and better without them.

    • Eddie

      Academics? Don’t make me laugh!
      Most academics are plodders of very mediocre mind who saw a gravy train and hopped on it so they could get their safe-as-houses jobs, call themselves pretty things l;ike doctor and professor, enjoy their massive gold-plated ring-fenced pensions, and smugly criticise all those who work in the real world whilst earning £50k for doing very little indeed. Would this country be a worse place if most academics just ceased to be?
      Most academics also merely rig research so it backs up their already-decided conclusions. It’s called confirmation bias and it is rife. Most academics are left wing of course – well, they’re about the only people who can afford to be socialists these days, and thise silly leftwing way of seeing, if enforced, would not hurt and impoverish them.
      Most academics should be ignored by all intelligent persons: what they do is usually just tawdry propaganda for their own political views. Most are intelletcually mediocre and wouldn’t know creativity, vision, intelligence or original thinking if it bummed them in the library!
      I used to be a lecturer so know of what I speak (unlike you Sarah – but then, you are someone who thinks women don’t have vaginas…Zzzzzzzz)

    • Eddie

      And Sarah, if you want to know how shot to shit our dumbed down, politically correct, online-plagiarised university system is, just read a campus novel of recent years like Crump or Campus Conspiracy or others.
      NEVER trust an academic, deary. They merely bleat their findings according to their prejudices, flocking in the ovines way along their career paths.
      FAR better to listen to those outside the scam of academe – including some journalists and free thinkers (academics are NOT free thinkers, mere parroters of fashionable orthodox opinion).

  • Eddie

    Yes, but which UK newspaper has had the guts to defend our hard-won values by publishing the so-called ‘Mohammed cartoons’? Not a single one.
    Unless the media can have the courage to do that, it really is not doing its job properly.
    Ditto for the BBC and all TV channels who obey Islamist demands in not showing the subject of a news story: which is in no way provocative use of any artefact in that context.
    You left ‘cowardice’ off your list of failings, Rod.

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