The freedom of the press to carry out serious investigative journalism is under imminent threat at both national and local levels.
In recent years, we have locally benefited from the excellent reporting in this newspaper of many contentious topics. These include the botched West of Horsham Developer Agreements (S106) with not only woeful Affordable Housing volumes but also the underfunding of infrastructure there by some £15m; the initial attempt to demolish and not replace the Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre facilities after a bogus report conveniently declared it surplus to requirement; and the Hobsons Choice consultation on the massive North of Horsham development apparently pre-determined politically rather than being democratically debated in the council chamber. There are many others.
Nationally we can all doubtless remember the Daily Telegraph exposure of the MPs’ expenses scandal.
The Government are currently consulting on proposals which could in future inhibit the press in airing such ‘hot topics’ and delving into them (Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013).
If you are concerned about this and want to keep the press free from political control and interference then please access www.freethepress.co.uk and have your say. But hurry, you only have until 10th January to respond and help maintain the cleansing spotlight of ‘unshackled reporting’ that is necessary for us to hold the ‘establishment’ (at all levels) to account.
Cox Green Rudgwick
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