Keynesian Spirits

All Hail The Guardian

The newspaper industry has been under great financial pressures for the last decade or so, pressures that have intensified with a severe economic downturn and the rise of the internet and social media. In the past few years, newspapers have seen large falls in subscriptions, and sales in general, as we shift our ways of getting news. A large number of advertisers have pulled back partly due to the recessions and weak recoveries, but mostly because more channels of communication are now available to them and they are preferring to target consumers through the internet. Many newspapers have been shut down, many others restructured substantially by hastily arranged new owners and the survivors have been cutting jobs furiously, but they nevertheless continue to bleed.

However, great reporting by newspapers such as the Guardian continues to remind us of the central role newspapers play in our democracies and why they must be protected. For many years now, the Guardian has strongly pursued the story of phone-hacking by the Murdoch-owned tabloid, News of the World. The Guardian was criticised by some for pursuing this line due to a political agenda. Rebekah Brooks, former editor of the News of the World and former head of News International even wrote a letter in 2009 to the Chairman of the Commons culture committee stating that News International would “refute allegations that illegal phone tapping was a widespread practice” and that the Guardian had “substantially and likely deliberately misled the British public.” Many others, including high-up police officers like Yates, were equally dismissive. However, today it is the Guardian and its high quality journalism that stand vindicated.

Nick Davies, the extraordinary investigative reporter who doggedly pursued the phone-hacking scandal until it actually led to some accountability was also a major player in the Wikileaks’ US embassy cables’ release. Many of his early reports failed to generate much reaction and it is nearly after more than five years of hard work that the issue got the attention it deserved. It is such investigative, dogged, principled and unstintingly honest and righteous journalism that every nation requires to prosper. Reporting must be without fear or favour.


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