A couple of weeks ago I was invited out for lunch at the Frontline Club in London, nothing to do with the military I assure you. It’s a club that enjoys a history mired in the freelance news industry and current affairs. Journos from the national mainstream television news agencies and press go there to debate, talk and discuss. Memorable photos from wars and conflict line the walls just to remind us of the courage and tragedy of journalism in all its different forms, oh and before I forget Julian Assange holed up there before being banged up in the Ecuadorian Embassy.
As you can imagine, there is much talk about press freedom of speech and State intervention or control. I don’t think readers will need three guesses to know where I stand on this!
For all our faults, we in the UK have managed to create a press and media unshackled by government censorship even if it has taken hundreds of years to do it. We mustn’t give up this founding principle of democracy – ever.
I know only too well what it is like to be on the receiving end of abuse and insult but I would not in a million years seek State control of an individual’s right to have a different opinion to mine no matter how offensive. It’s these freedoms that make us what we are. Apart from anything else there is enough law out there as it is to protect people from stuff that goes over the top.
In my view the Welsh media are already far too passive and compliant where establishment shenanigans are concerned, can you imagine what it would be like if Parliament or God forbid the Welsh Assembly had state control of the media (that would be me out of a job for a start!)?? There would be no Sun, no Daily Mail and for that matter no Guardian or Times, not to mention all the TV current affairs documentaries taking our masters to task?
Freedom of speech and expression are above politics and shouldn’t even be put on the negotiating table, full stop.