Arguing for a free press is not, as some would have it, the same as arguing for a free pass.
But it is time politicians from all parties – as well as those who dismiss the “mainstream media” as a whole because they dislike the political standpoint of a particular newspaper, or because journalists sometimes err – understood the perils of the current, anti-media narrative.
Ask a hundred people and you might expect to encounter some recurring themes. The stiff upper lip might still be mentioned by a few, as might queueing. We are, after all, a nation that apparently likes to speak its mind.
Freedom of speech can mean all sorts of things though.
Nevertheless, it ought to be a matter of national shame that in this year’s World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders, the UK has fallen to number 40 in the global rankings, below the likes of Ghana, Lithuania, Uruguay and Jamaica.
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It should go without saying that the media must be accountable for its actions.
There have been times in the past when some sections of the press failed to meet their ethical and legal responsibilities, as became clear during the Leveson inquiry and associated legal claims over phone hacking.