St Mary Magdalene † St Bartholomew † St Alban †
Sunday 10th July 2011
Stop the Front Page!
I have rewritten this article a number of times. Each time I thought I had written the final version, another shocking piece of news appeared about the conduct of some journalists and executives at News of the World. Now, we hear today’s edition will be the last under that name. Although, I suspect, a new Sunday newspaper will reappear in the not too distant future.
The fact that someone at the paper thought it appropriate to listen to the desperate messages of a family to the murdered girl, Milly Dowler. and also to remove some of those messages from the family, so offering them false hope at their most dreadful of times. Or any other the other horrendous allegations we have heard this week has been shocking.
The freedom of the press is central to any democracy. Thank goodness we have a vibrant and free press in our country. That freedom often allows them unique access into other people’s lives. Yet that freedom has to impose on the press the responsibility to act in an appropriate fashion. For some parts of our press the great responsibility to cover the news accurately and fairly has been lost. To get a story, by whatever means necessary, seems to have been their only motive.
As a nation we deserve better but equally we deserve better from the Police. They seem to have never really investigated this crime a few years ago and plainly did not or would not examine all the evidence that was available. Their first investigation was a shambles. We deserve better from the Police. All institutions make mistakes. We have seen over the past few years, mistakes made by Parliament, the Banks and the Church. The question for me is how those human institutions react to their mistakes.
Do they sweep them under the carpet or face those mistakes head on? How do they change their behaviour?
For some parts of the Press and some in the Police this will be a time to do some deep soul searching as how they can change to fulfil the vital and important responsibilities that society places upon them.