The Day The Presses Stopped
“A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy.”
~ Nelson Mandela.
And who would speak for those without a voice, those impoverished by never knowing how to ask, those cowed and empty of the courage to question? For we all need heroes and messiahs, institutions and beacons; to follow, to believe in, to lead the way with words and deeds. And who we follow is as important as the the need to follow itself. Today the ghosts of Pulitzer and Pope, Voltaire and Locke, Jefferson and Kennedy, Rousseau and Russell, Mandela and Orwell, Thompson and Carlin, Hicks and Hitchens will surely be mourning, as should we all, the loss of a great institution of free thought and free press, a leading light of democratic thought in a world too often brimming with money moguls and Agenda Journalism. And it is in times of trouble, when hearts and minds are broken and political extremities stretched, that heroic voices are needed; it will be then that they will be most sorely missed. And then, my friends, is now. The world just lost a beacon as it enters one of its darkest hours.
~ Compo, March 26th 2016 – the day The Independent stopped its presses.
“The British press is extremely centralised, and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics. But the same kind of veiled censorship also operates in books and periodicals, as well as in plays, films and radio.”
~ George Orwell, from his proposed preface for Animal Farm, the 1945 essay ‘The Freedom Of The Press’.