Censorship by the press

Photograph by MIL22

Can there be such a thing as irony unbound?

Read on and believe.

The Independent, a ‘liberal’ London newspaper, declined to publish a reader’s comment on press reform linked to a post here, ‘Advice for Lord Justice Leveson from Lao Tse: how to shape the afterlife of the 4th Estate and assist the birth of its successor.’

The author of the Independent article, ‘Leveson, Politics and the Press,’ to which the comment referred, is Kirsty Hughes, CEO of Index on Censorship.

Erm, … did we mention irony?

What did the post held for moderation in perpetuity say? Why does this act of censorship matter? For the answer to that second question, do read an excellent London School of Economics paper by a Swedish researcher, Sanna Trygg, cited below.

But first, that censored comment in full — first, as a screen shot, then as more legible text (for further authentication, if necessary,  please write to postgutenberg@gmail.com for a copy of the software file):

Comment on press reform censored by The Independent newspaper, 10 July 2012

 • 3 minutes ago

You say,

=== But the state will over-regulate given a chance. Voluntary and professional standards combined with good corporate governance remain the only route to go if we still credit press freedom and democracy as inextricable. ===

Not the only route. … Here is the best way to avert the risk of political interference and raise press standards:


Lord Justice Leveson’s highest priority should be to open the way to the largest number of competitors for the 4th Estate.

In other words, _expand, don’t compress_ should be the principle guiding his recommendations to the government in September.

Check bad behaviour on the part of today’s media elite by maximising opportunities for the outsiders of the 5th Estate to offer alternative presentations of facts and unfamiliar opinions, and to challenge and expose the biases and mistakes of every sort of media, new and old.

… that’s an extract from ‘Advice for Lord Justice Leveson from Lao Tse: how to shape the afterlife of the 4th Estate and assist the birth of its successor’. https://post-gutenberg.com/2012…

In ‘Is Comment Free? Ethical, editorial and political problems of moderating online news‘, Sanna Trygg observed that on the websites of newspapers,

Moderation is determined partly by legal concerns but mainly by the newspaper’s editorial policy and to a degree by its desire to control the debate agenda. 

In her conclusion, she said that the old print media of the 4th Estate …

… attach great importance to freedom of expression, and critical debate. […] [T]hey claim to do society and democracy a favour by offering free debate and public expression. But readers are, in a sense, being misled. Mainstream media still has the monopoly over conversation and that debate is not entirely free. Traditional media still define what is worth discussing and what is not. The idealistic purpose of the traditional media is compromised by the mission to survive as a business in a highly competitive economic environment.

What can we do about this?

Change the ‘business model’!


Co-owning media is on the horizon — and press coverage of the Leveson Inquiry shows why we need this


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