'Can't this almost treacherous ant-war coverage be banned?'

Former editor of The European, Charles Garside, has written to the Attorney General to ask if there is a law which would prohibit the anti-war coverage of some sections of the media.

He told Press Gazette that he believes the stance of some editors “seems breathtakingly close to treachery”.

Garside, who was also deputy editor of The Times and the Sunday Express but is now an hotelier, said in his letter he was becoming increasingly concerned about the coverage.

While he is committed to press freedom in normal circumstances, he told Lord Goldsmith, and recognised that a number of media organisations were genuinely and vehemently opposed before hostilities commenced, “does the law not change when the country actually goes to war?”

He asked if the Attorney General’s department was monitoring whether the media’s continued support for anti-war factions was having any direct impact on the prosecution of the war itself and “on the members of the armed services who are putting their lives at risk in the service of this country”. He continued: “Propaganda may be the quietest weapon of war but it can be just as deadly. It can give a war a new shape, provide new concerns, change attitudes and bolster opposition leaders and forces.”

He asked: “Are you satisfied that British servicemen and women and the British public are being best served by all sections of the British media at this time? If not, what can and is being done about it?”

Garside said he was 100 per cent behind local newspaper proprietor Sir Ray Tindle’s ban on anti-war discussion in his papers.

“If you think about it, because we are now at war, our national papers are our local papers and they should be adopting an element of what Ray Tindle is talking about. This isn’t about the circulation war any more. This is about real people.”

By Jean Morgan

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