Iain Martin at the Telegraph has made point worth quoting at some length, particularly as readers from outside the UK may be not be able to read the entire article. He writes,
For weeks, print journalists of all kinds – from tabloids to broadsheet – have been trying to explain that the press cannot be free if the state, or parliament, wields power over it. At times it has been as though we are talking a different language from parts of the rest of the population, such has been the bafflement. What could there possibly be to worry about if politicians – even at one remove, through a quango they appoint – essentially authorise, underpin or license press regulation? It would be “independent”, wouldn’t it? Politicians and their increasingly large staffs of spinners, strategists and assorted hangers-on would not dream of using this as a chance to apply pressure, bully, cajole or generally lord it any more than they already do over journalists trying to write uncomfortable stories that involve said politicians.
Step forward Joanna Hindley, Mrs Miller’s special adviser, who has unwittingly just performed the press and her country a great act of service by the way she dealt with a Daily Telegraph reporter who was making perfectly fair enquiries about the rather eye-boggling expenses of the Culture Secretary.
As the Telegraph reports:
“When a reporter approached Mrs Miller’s office last Thursday, her special adviser, Joanna Hindley, pointed out that the Editor of The Telegraph was involved in meetings with the Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary over implementing the recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson.
“Maria has obviously been having quite a lot of editors’ meetings around Leveson at the moment. So I am just going to kind of flag up that connection for you to think about,” said Miss Hindley.
Miss Hindley also said the reporter should discuss the issue with “people a little higher up your organisation”.