UK to restrict free press

“A free press cannot be free if it is dependent on and accountable to a regulatory body recognized by the state," http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/20/world/europe/british-newspapers-new-press-rules.html?ref=world “The bitter irony is this long-drawn out debate comes when the Internet — which, being global, has no regulatory restraints — is driving newspapers out of business.” “If politicians had devoted half as much of their energies to keeping a dying industry alive, instead of hammering another nail into its coffin, democracy would be in a healthier state today.” ”We need to go back a long way — to 1695, and the abolition of the newspaper licensing laws — to find a time when the press has been subject to statutory regulation. Last night, Parliament decided that 318 years was long enough to let newspapers and magazines remain beyond its influence, and agreed a set of measures that will involve the state, albeit tangentially, in their governance,”
The agreement announced Monday creates a system under which erring newspapers will face big fines and come up against a tougher press regulator with new powers to investigate abuses and order prominent corrections in publications that breach standards. The idea of legislation raised alarms among those cherishing three centuries of broad peacetime freedom for Britain’s newspapers. They included Prime Minister David Cameron, who said a law establishing a press watchdog would cross a Rubicon — Caesar’s point of no return — toward government control because it could be amended to be even stricter by future governments that might want to curb the press. The media have for centuries “been lifting up the big, flat rocks to let the daylight in on the creepy-crawlies; and in all that time we have never come close to the state licensing of newspapers.”
The Sun published a photograph of Winston Churchill on its front page on Monday, quoting him as defending a free press as “the most dangerous foe of tyranny.”

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