November 13, 2012 12:33 am

We already have a ‘free press’ – it’s called the internet

From Mr Keith Phair.

Sir, Why are newspapers lobbying for self-regulation on the grounds that society needs a “free press”? (“MPs urge statutory regulation”, report, November 10.) Society already has a free press: it is called the internet where, as we know from the false allegations that mushroomed last week, anything goes and the burden of prepublication proof is non-existent.

The print and broadcast press does not need to join internet bloggers in the gutter of unsubstantiated gossip if it is to have a viable future. There is a clear role for well researched, well edited investigative journalism, which the public can rely on to be honest and truthful. To reach that nirvana, the press will have to raise its game significantly, given how far standards have slipped in recent years in the competition for sensationalist stories to drive sales. Good quality journalism is not incompatible with regulation. Quite the opposite!

Keith Phair, Felixstowe, Suffolk, UK

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