Apparently our UK press now lies at number 40 in Reporters Without Borders’ ‘Press Freedom Index’. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Press_Freedom_Index; which also describes the methodology.) That’s way below most other ‘developed’ countries of the world, apart from the USA (at no. 43). My second home, Sweden, is at no. 2, flanked by the other Nordic countries at the top of the list.
This should be borne in mind when our powerful right-wing press barons, who are mainly responsible for this situation, refer to the ‘great British tradition’ of ‘freedom of the press’, as a reason for resisting the regulatory framework recommended by the Leveson Inquiry, which had the object of ensuring greater press freedom from them.
It should also affect our attitude to our Press’s (and the BBC’s) reporting of the current British General Election campaign, which is appalling by any but the most Machiavellian standards; and will probably be largely responsible for returning Theresa May to power on June 8.
Social media may compensate for this to a certain extent; but mainly for the young people who are into it, but who apparently won’t vote; and with the same doubts about its veracity as plague the print media. For example, today’s story about May’s presenting a tiny meeting of Tory supporters in a hut in a wood somewhere as if it were a public rally in Aberdeen – https://skwawkbox.org/2017/04/30/did-mays-scottish-stunt-breach-contract-force-a-charity-to-breach-its-articles-ge17/ – is tasty; but can it be true? That’s the other ill effect of ‘fake news’: to taint even the genuine brand.