How Free Is The Press?

The common man has a vote in Parliament. He has a Parliamentary representative whom he can badger and heckle and whose tenure of office rests upon his consent. If he likes to make use of the machinery of a democracy, he can have questions asked in the House; in the last resort, he can destroy one government and make another. But there is no machinery by which he can control the organs which mould opinion. For that, his sole resource is a penny a day and his native wit and will. In time of crisis, the newspapers are first with the cry: “Let the people know the facts!” But perhaps Fact is a deity invoked by the people only in the last emergency when the easy gods of peace have failed them.

By Dorothy Sayers

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