Journalists in this country are “being treated worse than terrorists and paedophiles”, according to well-known lawyer, Paul McBride.
In a part-reprise of what he said at a recent Journalists' Charity (aka Press Fund) lunch in Glasgow, the QC writes in today's The Sunday Post: “In London, there are many unsolved murders, rapes and child abductions, yet politicians have decreed that News International, who have exposed their own wrongdoings, are the biggest threat to the United Kingdom.”
He refers to the estimated £200million cost of the Leveson Inquiry into press standards (following allegations of phone-hacking at the now defunct News of the World) plus three ongoing police inquiries, which involved the arrest of five Sun journalists just over a week ago on suspicion of making illegal payments to public officials.
He continues: “Had it not been our vigorous Press we wouldn't have known about the recent cricketing and football scandals, and we'd still be in the dark about MPs' expenses and cash for honours.”
And later he writes: “Honest police officers are now frightened to talk legitimately to the Press and honest journalists are frightened to look for wrongdoing in our public figures because of the fear of having their careers ruined.”
At the start of the week, The Sun's associate editor, Trevor Kavanagh, and the Daily Mail's Richard Littlejohn, expressed similar sentiments.
Meanwhile, also today, in his diary for the Sunday Herald, Alan Taylor reflects on when The Sun was “either eerily silent or cheering the Old Bill on”, when it came to the arrest of others.