The Society of Editors has called on Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn to clarify his party’s stance on press freedom.
Last week the Leader of the Opposition said he supported a free press, but confirmed that Labour planned for changes that will affect the media if it forms the next government. In particular, Mr Corbyn attacked some elements of the printed press and announced that ‘change is coming.’
Now the Society of Editors, which campaigns for and on behalf of a free press in the UK, has called on Mr Corbyn to explain what plans his party has for attempts to control the media.
“The Society of Editors does not align itself with any political party nor stance, however we do stand for a free press, a self-regulated press, and we are concerned that in his statement Mr Corbyn appears to be suggesting Labour have plans to change the media landscape in the UK,” said the Society’s Executive Director Ian Murray.
“If that is the case then we would ask him to clarify what those proposed changes are and to urge him to resist any temptation to attempt to silence voices that may be opposed to his point of view through press restrictions.”
Mr Corbyn’s comments came after he was asked questions over alleged meetings with a former Czech spy during the eighties. In a video statement Mr Corbyn said: “A free press is essential for democracy and we don’t want to close it down.”
But in an attack on the “press barons” he added: “We’ve got news for them, change is coming.”
Murray commented: “The media in the UK is rightly held up as a beacon of freedom throughout the world, particularly in those countries where politicians and rulers close down any voices of opposition to their power. While we are pleased to note that Mr Corbyn recognises the role of a free press in a free society, he has also announced that Labour does have plans to change the media landscape in some way.
“The Society calls on Mr Corbyn to explain what changes his party has in mind so that these can be openly debated.”