World of the Newspaper

    I’m sure we all use the word “disgusted” too easily. But I felt physically sick when I first heard about the News of the World (or someone working on its behalf) allegedly ‘hacking’ Milly Dowler’s phone.

    It’s only a few days since her murderer was convicted, and now this comes down. It’s hard to believe that anyone, in any occupation can sink so low. But of course, it gets worse: they seem to have done it to the families of other murdered girls, too.

    Oh, obviously they’re not as low as the bampots who actually did the murders. But not by much.

    I’m a profound believer in free speech, and know that a free press is essential to a functioning democracy. But shit like this works against those noble ideals. It’s not exercising our freedoms to ensure that we keep them; it’s abusing them, and so making it more likely that they’ll be curtailed.

    Because the backlash is coming, News Corp; already advertisers are starting to withdraw from your spiteful rag. (And I hope that some good can come of this: that the public will finally see what hideous, mean-spirited rags tabloid papers are, and start to boycott them.) But bigger than that is that fact there is now bound to be an inquiry.

    And it seems to me that there is a strong chance that such an inquiry will recommend introducing some kind of statutory regulation of newspapers. And then we’d all suffer.