It is heartening to read of concerted press vigorous rejection of political
external governance. No-one can claim the free press is perfect. No human
organisation can be. But it can appear, wrongly, that press members are
above the law when clearly this is not the case as perpetrators of illegal
phone hacking have found. It ill behoves politicians to constrain a free
press when without such freedom one wonders if the MP's expenses scandal
would ever have seen the light of day.
When my profession, medicine, lost its self-regulated status some years ago
a quondam president of the General Medical Council, its governing body,
declared in a published interview that wherever medical self-regulation had
been abandoned in other jurisdictions patient care standards had
deteriorated. Never a truer word. Press freedom, warts and all, is too
important to be left in the gift of politicians.
Dr Dermot J Ward
Chairman, Society of Clinical Psychiatrists.
4 Jubilee Terrace Chichester West Sussex PO19 7XT