That we enjoy the press enjoy freedom in this country is a valuable gift; a gift which is restricted or not awarded at all to those in China and Vietnam, and in the past, South American regimes like those in Pinochet’s Chile, Hugo Banzer’s Bolivia or Jorge Videla’s Argentina. In North Korea any criticism, however small, of the regime’s leadership or its legacy may result in being to imprisoned in the countries death camps where torture will likely await its victims.
Communist regimes have killed millions but to solely concentrate on this and ignore the crimes against humanity enacted by fascist regimes – Mussolini’s and those of Spain’s fascists included – during the same period is surely the very antithesis of balanced journalism. At its best it can be described as misguided, at its worst, propaganda. To base the core of your argument the diary of a 17 year old who had just fled the Nazis as the Daily Mail did surely goes against not just basic editorial research but common sense. I had many beliefs myself at seventeen which have evolved since; I’m sure most people’s beliefs have changed throughout their life experiences.
It is important to recognise that other newspapers like the Sunday Mirror have been guilty of similar practises not withstanding the whole hacking scandal, when in 2007 they reported on the contents of Mr Cameron’s bin, and criticised him for using non-biodegradable nappies. What this tells us, however, is that standards must be held across the media and how, critically, politics (left or right-wing) can distort journalism into a ugly medium of smear and misleading information.
To those who use this issue to raise the prospect of regulation; the condemnation of the Daily Mail is not about stifling the debate or censorship but rather a call by the decent people of this country to use journalism maturely, ethically and responsibly. That is, rather than dragging it through the gutter like The Daily Mail do on a daily basis with their attacks on minorities or anyone else who don’t fit into their narrow moral view.
It is a right which we should hold dear and protect but in doing so retain its value, integrity and ability to assist those without a voice – for example, Stephen Grey’s (of Thomson Reuters) work to expose America’s rendition programme – instead of unfairly attacking them in death. And, yes, this includes Margaret Thatcher.