The 2018 World Press Freedom Index is just out and following Leveson, Section 40 and the Lords' attempts to introduce press regulation by the backdoor the UK ranking has now slipped to No 40 in the world, in between Trinidad & Tobago and Burkina Faso. But heck we are still ahead of Burkina Faso but, perhaps, not for long.
As the Government moves to ban Russia Today altogether for challenging its very "dodgy dossier" narrative in Syria and as Rod Liddle of the Sunday Times faces a Police Investigation for telling a mild joke about the whining, self-pitying, welfare-addicted race of moaning dwarfs who dwell West of Offa's Dyke, by 2019 the hot money is on Britain sinking well below Burkina Faso. At the current rate, we will be lucky to stay ahead of Botswana (48) and Senegal (50).
It may stick in the craw to defend the fake news team at Channel 4 fake News or the grossly overpaid millionaire script readers at the BBC demanding, in the name of feminism and equality, gargantuan pay rises, paid for under threat of jail by folks earning a fraction of what they do. Too many of the media class are such good buddies with the folks in power who they are meant to hold to account that the Fourth Estate in Britain is, rightly, seen by many as corrupt, as part of the problem, not the solution.
Yet despite it all a free press will provide some check on corruption and abuse of power in the political, corporate and sporting world and elsewhere. There are many good folks in my profession who have not been corrupted and it is in all of our interests that they are allowed to work unhindered by the State. But in Airstrip One things are heading in the wrong direction.