Journalists given responsibility to be fair and accurate, says Cardinal

Rules
on contempt of court for journalists should be toughened, according to
Helena Kennedy QC when asked by Press Gazette whether she thought
journalism made a positive contribution to British life.

But she
said: “I really am a fan of the press. In my work with the British
Council I see the results of the absence of a free press in other
countries and, by god, do you appreciate it when you have it. There is
a very high level of journalism in this country. “I do sometimes think
that comment is confused with reporting and I also feel strongly that
the press jeopardises a number of trials.

“The response to
contempt of court should be much tougher with editors being tried and
even sent to jail. We’re very weedy about that.”

Cardinal Cormac
Murphy O’Connor (right), head of the Catholic Church in Britain,
responded to the same question by saying: “Good journalism is an
essential way of holding public figures to account.

“And media reporting can change the world – Ethiopia in the 80s; the response to the Tsunami now.

“Journalists tend to be believed by their readers. This gives them a special responsibility to be fair and accurate.

“Am I alone in thinking that some standards have slipped?”

Last week a Press Gazette survey revealed that 52 per cent of Britons think journalism makes a positive contribution to society.

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