LETTER: Threat to our free speech

Your letters
Your letters

Most newspapers sign up to an independent regulator (eg IPSO) but are now faced with the imposition of a state-backed regulator.

It seems that libel costs can in future be awarded against any newspaper, which does not sign up to the regulator’s scheme, even where the newspaper has successfully defended a claim.

That poses a direct threat to (what used to be called) the free press, making newspapers far more risk averse, when deciding whether or not to investigate a particular issue. Even a remote risk of being sued, is likely to drive investigative journalism into retreat.

Any form of state control of the press represents a Rubicon that the last PM undertook not to cross. It is something that would not even be entertained in the United States, where such an infringement to a free press would be unconstitutional.

The offending UK Act was apparently passed by Parliament in 2013, no doubt helping to protect MPs from unexpected (and possibly embarrassing) revelations.

Despite that some will have fought the proposals and it would be nice to hear from our local MPs, how they voted and what if anything they now propose to counter the loss of press freedom.

Whilst at it, they might also let us have their views on the ECJ (European Court of Justice) 2001 ruling, that the EU can lawfully suppress political criticism of its institutions and of leading figures, sweeping aside English Common Law and 50 years of precedents on civil liberties.

Presumably that was one of the future EU reforms that they had in mind, when they decided to back the Remain campaign?

Roger J. Arthur

Melrose Place, Storrington


Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be among the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make our website your homepage at www.wscountytimes.co.uk

2 Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wscountytimes

3 Follow us on Twitter @wscountytimes

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

The County Times – always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.