Newspaper review: Press regulation concerns papers


Details of a possible deal on press regulation emerged too late for the first editions of Monday's newspapers, but according to many headlines nothing less than free speech is at stake.

A cartoon in the Daily Telegraph illustrates the point with an image of fish and chips wrapped in a newspaper bearing the words "Free Press".

The Telegraph says victims of thalidomide, the Mid Staffs scandal and child abuse are among those who have warned politicians not to throw away 300 years of press freedom.

In the Daily Mirror's view, MPs should value free speech and resist the temptation to impose constraints that dictators around the world will use as a retort the next time Britain criticises the gagging of a dissident.

The story is the lead in the Guardian, Sun and Independent.

The Sun's front page is dominated by a picture of Winston Churchill and the headline, "D-Day".

It features a 1949 quote from the wartime prime minister on a free press, and warns that state regulation would be greeted with dismay in the world's democracies and delight by its dictators.

The Daily Mail urges MPs to put aside what it calls petty bitterness over the exposure by the free press of the expenses scandal.

But the Guardian says there are good and bad things in both the proposals put forward by the Conservatives, and Labour and the Liberal Democrats and there was "no cause for hyperventilating".

It is not a straight choice between virtue and evil and nothing in either to signal the death of press freedom, it argues.

In an editorial, the Independent says it "like Mr Clegg and Mr Miliband, believes that a light form of statute... is needed".

But it adds: "Press freedom is sacrosanct and must embrace the notion of being able to operate without interference from Parliament."

'EU bank robbery'

Another story to garner widespread coverage and horrify many newspapers is the levy on savings in Cyprus.

The Times describes it as an almighty gamble.

It says the eurozone is threatened with a "new round of chaos".

If savers elsewhere fear their money will be taken away from them, they will withdraw it at the first sign of trouble - policymakers have increased the risk of bank runs in Europe, it says.

The Daily Mail carries the headline "The great EU bank robbery".

A rubicon has been crossed, says the newspaper. It fears the measure could have the capacity to cause what it calls a "monetary tsunami". Where next? it asks.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Alex Spillus says European officials insist the levy is a one-off but reckons that as with every step taken during the eurozone crisis, it is a gamble whose consequences can never quite be predicted.

Railway revival

The Budget is the main story for the Financial Times.

It says grim economic figures are again likely to dominate the chancellor's speech on Wednesday.

He will use any available money to ease pressure on households and support growth, it adds.

The Times reports that lower-paid workers are likely to be given an income tax cut as part of a package designed to help those who "want to work hard and get on".

The Guardian says George Osborne has made a big effort to reach out to Conservative MPs before what it calls "make-or-break Wednesday".

The Times looks at the revival of Britain's disused railway lines, 50 years after the Beeching report recommended the closure of thousands of miles of track.

It says that across the country, lines previously abandoned to nature are being re-opened by local authorities seeking to relieve congestion on the roads.

Home of the daleks

The Daily Telegraph reports on comments by the chairman of the National Trust who has suggested that visitors to Britain's historic houses should be able to treat them as their own.

Sir Simon Jenkins told the Oxford Literary Festival the Trust was changing its policy from "do not touch", to "please enter".

Where appropriate, it wanted to move away from a pure art historical approach towards the houses as if they were museum objects.

Finally, there are affectionate tributes to BBC Television Centre, which has been sold for redevelopment.

TV news bulletins on BBC One were broadcast from there for the last time on Sunday.

The Sun describes the building, in west London, as a proud monument to British broadcasting.

It says generations of schoolchildren knew the address and postcode off by heart as it was where you sent your entries for competitions.

For the Guardian, it was the home of the Daleks, Blue Peter and Top of the Pops. This was where the magic of enlightening and entertaining television was made, it adds in an editorial.

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