Sunday, 10 July 2011

Free press and free markets

Tom Paine is back to blogging with a vengeance, and continues to write great stuff on the News of the World saga.

Earlier this morning, he noted:
News International's share price is falling. But so is that of BSkyB, its acquisition target. The market says - in effect - that the takeover adds value; that BSkyB is better fully owned by Murdoch. That the politicians are about to exact vengeance for years of having to crawl to a man who could only be ethically superior to the likes of them is destroying economic value. That, gentle reader, is what governments do. What the "eevil" Murdoch does is create it. Neither can be trusted, of course, because they are human. But a society that trusts those who destroy more than those who create deserves its fate.
In his latest post, he writes:

I am concerned by the current threat to our free press and glad that the question is being raised in the mainstream media. I am not surprised Andrew Gilligan is prominent among the warning voices. As he points out in the Daily Telegraph;

In my career as a journalist I have lied, I have received stolen goods and for these things I have won two of the top awards in the profession.

Quite. And the Daily Telegraph committed at least one crime to expose the rampant expenses fraud in Westminster. When the hysteria dies down, let it please be remembered that no-one cared about the News of the World hacks hacking phones until they crossed not a legal but a moral boundary. The real danger now is that "the great and the good" (not to mention the self-serving slebs) will screen their wrongdoings for ever from the people's gaze, using the weapon of a sentimental indignation that cannot safely or properly be translated into law.

I recommend the whole article.

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