Nicholas Jones - Blog and Archive Website
When searching for news and checking facts reporters often have to bend the rules and possibly break the law. But through its covert mass purchase of confidential mobile phone messages the News of the World has blackened the reputation of British journalism. In a true democracy journalists have to be free to investigate without the constant fear of falling foul of the state or of being hounded by the police and the courts.  Indeed principled journalists are ready to go to jail rather than reveal their sources.  But there is a huge difference between a justified breach of personal privacy in support of investigative journalism and a blatant fishing trip for private and confidential information.

Journalists in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan fear that if there is approval for another round of repressive media laws they could finish up close to the bottom of the international list for media freedom.

Whatever reservations there might be over the way the leaked information was obtained, the publication of hitherto secret details about the endemic abuse of MPs’ expenses was without doubt in the public interest.  

Whether it was cash for questions or dodgy donations for peerages, politicians have all too regularly shown an almost suicidal disregard for the proper management of their financial affairs.  What has proved so damaging about the latest scandal over claims for second homes, furnishings and food was the systematic way in which so many MPs were prepared to abuse the taxpayers’ generosity.

 

Journalism at Your Service? 

International Journalism Festival, Perugia, 1.4.2009 

 

Two questions should trouble the journalists of Britain, Europe and America as we work through what will be a terrible year for the world economy. Why, during the boom years, didn’t we do more to investigate what was really happening in the financial markets?  And are journalists in danger now of being deflected from the task of holding our governments, banks and institutions to account? Journalists can play their part in serving the public interest by investigating what went wrong, by scrutinising what the politicians are saying, and by helping to ensure that rigorous controls are introduced to prevent the damaging financial speculation of the past.