It is reassuring to see that our politicians have voted to set up a watchdog which will regulate the dissemination of news. However, given that official bodies are, almost without exception, subject to exploitation and perversion – for reference, see the Metropolitan Police, the government, NHS management, local councils, FIFA, the EEC, the BBC, day nurseries, tea clubs, or most anything else that you might care to think of – it should be more than obvious that handing power over our news media to a single body, elected or otherwise, is foolish in the extreme.
This country’s free press works in all of our interests and often uncovers dishonesty and corruption: investigative journalists exposed many of our MPs as having made extensive, fraudulent expenses claims only a couple of years ago; other reporters have unearthed how many MPs, on all sides of the house, have personal financial interests in private health care providers and stand to gain from the stealth privatisation of the NHS; still more ‘hacks’ recently reported on Iain Duncan Smith making a change in the law to retroactively legalise what is effectively corporate-slavery imposed upon those of us who are still suffering the worst ravages of this financial-sector-led recession.
Whyever might politicians be in favour of muzzling newspapers? I simply can’t imagine.
On top of this blatant, shameful attempt at the erosion of our society’s right to access, amongst other things, information directly relating to our own democratically-elected government, some MPs seem to think that they’re in a position to dictate who ought (and, more chillingly, who ought not) be able to enter parliament and report on goings-on within its chambers. Whilst I’m obviously referring specifically to Jim Sheridan in this instance, don’t for one moment kid yourself that he’s alone in his thinking.
Granted, some areas of the press have indulged in despicable and frankly unforgivable behaviour in recent years, but censorship of journalism is a hugely damaging over-reaction, comparable to surrendering the right to free speech simply because one has been offended by a few of the words of another. Moreover, passing judgement on this absolutely shouldn’t be left to self-interested parties.
What we are witnessing amounts to the deconstruction of modern civilisation by cultural and societal vandals. We may also be the last generation permitted to even talk about it.