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Writing for Rupert

The HarperCollins affair which briefly convulsed the British media raises a host of big questions about free speech, the way we deal with dictators and the power of media proprietors. Timothy Garton Ash, one of the writers who left HarperCollins in protest, draws some unexpected conclusions

I must start by declaring an interest. My last book, The File, was superbly edited and published by Stuart Proffitt at HarperCollins. I was looking forward to working with him on two further books. But in mid-February, I began to hear rumours of strange goings-on. When the Sunday Telegraph reported Proffitt’s involvement in a row over Rupert Murdoch’s desire to drop Chris Patten’s book about Asia, I telephoned him at home. He explained that he could not explain-for legal reasons-but said an announcement would come soon.

Then, on Friday 27th February, came the bombshell. The Daily Telegraph published a statutory…

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