A free press is not exactly a prerequisite for a free society, but it’s absence is (or should be) extremely worrying. In all of the comment in the MSN last week, this aspect of the climbdown of the Andersonstown News after pressure was applied over an article the paper published from its erstwhile columnist/humourist, Squinter seemed largely to be missed. It’s all the more puzzling since Gerry Adams is sitting on the fourth safest majority in the House of Commons with a whopping 68.6 per cent of the popular vote. On Thursday Alex Maskey expressed the hope that the paper’s response to his party’s concerns should be an end to the matter. Over at the Guardian, I’ve argued that there that both reflects badly on his paper and raises questions about just how ready Sinn Fein is to live with the vigorous scrutiny of a courageous and free press.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty