Clarkson on UK press freedom

writes:

OVER the past few years, my wife’s phone has been hacked.

Friends have been pursued across ploughed fields by the paparazzi.

Every girl I ever spoke to was billed in the next day’s papers as a “mystery blonde”.

And every little thing I ever did was twisted by wilfully obtuse journalists to make it look like I was Hitler.

Newspapers, and the people who produce them and write them and own them, are a constant thorn in my side, an unending headache, and I sometimes lay awake at night wondering what the editor of the Daily Mail would look like without a head.

So you’d expect me to be whooping for joy at the news that over the Christmas break, while you’re making merry with the party poppers and the crackers, various shadowy Government people are drawing up plans to bring the nation’s newspapers to heel.

But he isn’t.

But I’m not. I’m horrified to the point of panicky breathlessness. And you should be too.

If you were asked to define what is actually meant by a “free country”, you may say that it’s the freedom to worship whatever God you hold dear or the freedom to vote in an election.

But actually, the keystone of freedom is a press that is completely and utterly free from any sort of government interference.

Beware politicians who want the Government to either fund the or control it.

If any newspaper fails to sign up to a new regulatory body — it’s called Impress and it’s funded in part by Max Mosley — then they will be hounded into bankruptcy by the most disgusting plan to emerge from Britain since the invention of the concentration camp.

It is this.

If a newspaper prints a completely true story about a government minister — or anyone else for that matter — he can sue.

And the paper will be forced to pay his legal costs.

EVEN IF HE LOSES THE CASE.

This means that newspapers will be full of nothing but the loveliness of Theresa May’s hair and how Rolf Harris has many good points.

Glad we don’t have this in NZ.

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