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These are deeply troubling times for press freedom. On 7th July, the News of the World, a newspaper of some 168 years’ standing, which could boast 7.5m readers on a good Sunday, was silenced. It was shut down by its proprietor, Rupert Murdoch, but under pressure from a relentless Guardian investigation into phone hacking and a Twitter campaign to get big corporations to pull their ads from Murdoch’s top tabloid.

The following day, Prime Minister David Cameron promised to clean up the press. Seemingly having forgotten that the media are supposed to investigate the government, rather than vice versa, he…

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