We still need the press!

With the fate of much of the mainstream media in the melting pot, I offer this encomium from Simon Jenkins.
“As for the antics of the press, victim of Speaker Martin’s wrath, I cannot see what the Telegraph has done wrong. It presumably paid for material that had been stolen and which it has published. It thus offends the rule against profiting from crime. But a more glaring public interest defence cannot be imagined. Publication was the only way to reveal a systematic fraud on the public accounts, whose perpetrators had already shown they were determined to use the courts to suppress it. Those who chant the obituary of the “mainstream media” might care to cite any electronic organisation able to put together such an investigation. Like the Guardian’s recent disclosure of corporate tax avoidance, this work requires staff and resources. When the BBC tried to reveal the truth about the Iraq war dossiers, its cowering chairman and director general were driven by a mere Downing Street press officer into resignation.

Crude, unfair, bolshie, whatever, the old-fashioned newspaper is still ­desperately needed to keep democracy on its toes. God forbid that it should ever cease.”

A Lib Dem footnote about the Bangor boy who actually managed to miss a crucial deadline to claim for a new TV. “NOT ALLOWED (purchased during dissolution)”

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London