The Only Security For All is in a Regulated Press?
Thomas Jefferson once taught us that “the only security for all is in a free press” and I think he was on to something. If big companies or even governments didn’t have the risk of being publicly shamed or even found out at all for wrong doing then what’s to stop them? Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t stop them a lot of the time anyway, but its better then nothing. However Thomas’ theory doesn’t seem to stand true in our modern world where self regulation really does mean a free reign, nothing is crossing the line when you’re the one holding the paint brush.
Recently in the UK the press have been found guilty of hacking a young murder victim’s phone to listen to her answer phone messages along with plenty of other high profile phone hacking cases involving numerous celebrities, so it seems that Jefferson was wrong, not everyone is secure with the press free to do as they please.
Problem is though, where do we draw the line? I’m really stumped on this, on one it’s nice to have a free press that can talk about potential corruption of the government that we wouldn’t know about otherwise. But on the others much of the time they chose to report the news immaturely, bending the stories to sound them more interesting to sell more papers. I like the idea of a third party regulating them, because the government certainly can’t be put in charge of it in any way, think of the amount of scandals that would be covered up so easily and how much dirty point scoring could be used (something I’ve touched on previously, this would just give the bigger parties a bigger mouth to shout with).
But at the same time, anyone in charge is going to chose to run it in whatever way benefits them most. Another option would be to make the news free, not free as in freedom, free as in readers don’t pay for it either. So there is no need to try and produce popular stories, just important ones. That said with the internet most stories are available online for free, however I wonder how many of them are ripped straight from newspapers or bigger, supported websites?
What is your take on all this? How should the press be regulated, by whom or should it be at all?