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Value our freedom; Your say.

I SHOULD like to thank the editor and Mr Bulmer for printing and replying to my call for a debate on the NoW issue.

Mr Bulmer and I are not so far apart in our views, since I fully understand his three points of argument. Having been a spokesperson for the public (rather than a stereotyped policitician), of course, I also realise the importance of the press in airing important problems.

However, where I disagree is in the press being a complete mouthpiece for one person's ideas to the great exclusion of all others.

No journalist should be told what not and what to write, as happened in the time of Hitler's regime and sadly is happening nearer to home nowadays.

Freedom of the press is just that. Freedom to criticise and condemn where factually appropriate.

No paper should be dictated to by Government nor should caveats of the ilk: "We will not let you know what is going on, if you criticise us!" that was implemented here allegedly by the former Chief Executive, John Foster. the last to be "honoured" to the detriment of that freedom.

As to salacious gossip and commercial undertakings, why should papers stoop so low as to pay thousands for tittle tattle? This demeans both the gossiper and the press. Is that what Mr Bulmer means that the press should sell copy and make themselves commercially viable through this type of action? I sincerely hope not.

Meanwhile serious questions of misbehaviour must and will be expunged at all levels and in all undertakings.

Nobody has the right to tap into private phones or emails. Police, politicians of all hues and the press must come clean for the sake of public trust and the integrity of our once great nation.

JACKIE ELDER, Linthorpe.

* * * MR R G MORGAN in his letter clearly does not want emphasis on one scandal to cloud out attentions to others which are abounding.

He wants us to keep a wary eye on the MPs rather than concentrating on what the media outlets are doing.

My feeling is that some parts of the media have acted reprehensibly not only with the practice of hacking indiscriminately to unearth sensational stories, but the bribing of police officers not to follow up inquiries.

The political effect of media outlets has been largely the fault of politicians.

It is not surprising that the Murdoch empire sought to increase its share of the market and believed that the climate was favourable for doing so when political leaders encouraged them to believe that they had a considerable influence on how votes would go in General Elections.

I think that we can over-emphasise how much readers are persuaded by the newspapers they read.

Political parties are prepared to go to great lengths to obtain the support they need, but commercial organisations are mainly concerned by the share of the market they command and the profits they can make.

In the present atmosphere, what I fear most is we may not get the full account of the difficulty we are in as a country to climb out of recession and the bearing the financial problems in the countries we trade with could be a dead weight holding us back.

We need to have a clear sighted view of how the future is sizing up so that if necessary we can prepare ourselves for straightened times if they are on the horizon.

GEOFFREY BULMER, Billingham
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 8, 2011
Words:573
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