The Sunday Times’ Sarah Baxter tells the British public they have two days to save press freedom whilst Meryl Streep urges the press to take on Donald Trump in America
The world is in flux and unsurprisingly our press is in turmoil too. With Donald Trump attacking the media at a whim on Twitter and, in Britain, this Tuesday, the government’s consultation on the regulation of newspapers due to end, the likelihood is that an organisation funded by the son of two fascists – the black-shirted leader of the British Union of Fascists Oswald Mosley and his Hitler sympathising wife Diana Mitford – will take control of regulating our newspapers.
Yesterday, in The Sunday Times, deputy editor Sarah Baxter penned an impassioned column titled: “You have two days to help save press freedom from ghosts in black shirts”. She went further than most in condemning Max Mosley – who has guaranteed £3.8 million in funding through the Alexander Mosley Charitable Trust to allow the creation of IMPRESS, a body that boldly describes itself as “blazing a trail for a fairer, better kind of press regulation” – as “unsavoury” and the funder of a “crackpot organisation”.
In urging readers to sign a letter to the government supporting the ability of the press to remain free, Baxter rightly illustrated how Oswald Mosley himself wanted to silence the press in the 1930s and how “the criminal activities of the likes of the gangland boss David Hunt would never have come to light” if IMPRESS were to be the British media’s approved regulators.
IMPRESS, essentially, is a press regulator that came about, just like Donald Trump’s administration, because of anger. Max Mosley’s motivation is that he was furious at having suffered press intrusion over coverage of an S&M orgy he took part in appearing in the News of the World and he is backed by bleating “celebrities” such as Hugh Grant – who quite happily seeks out publicity when he’s got a film out, but wants to do whatever he wants the rest of the time. It’s a kneejerk reaction backed by angry, rich men and it is, as Baxter rightly concludes, an organisation that will be run by “self-appointed opponents of the press”. IMPRESS is not about the public good and we at The Steeple Times urge readers to vehemently oppose it.
Later in the day, at the Golden Globes in Los Angeles, Meryl Streep took up a similar mantle when she spoke after receiving a lifetime achievement award. She used her speech, in part, to state:
“We need the principled press to hold power to account… [We need the] famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press [to support the Committee to Protect Journalists]… We’re going to need them and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth”.
Ms Streep’s words could as equally apply in Britain. In this, the age of unrest and the age of the decline of reason, we need a strong and independent media that is capable of exposing the ludicrous and the corrupt. IMPRESS, simply put, will never have this as its priority and thus, it’s a body that does not deserve to exist.
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