A senior regional editor has written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him not to judge the industry by the standards of the News of the World.
Media website Holdthefrontpage.co.uk today carries a report by Paul Linford as the phone-hacking scandal continued to dominate the news agenda, that Ipswich Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover has appealed to Mr Cameron not to use what he called a “condemnatory catch-all” for newspapers.
The Prime Minister yesterday promised a public inquiry into phone-hacking at the Rupert Murdoch-owned title following allegations that it hacked into the voicemail messages of teenage murder victim Milly Dowler and relatives of those killed in the 7/7 attacks.
Linford says that Pickover decided to speak out amid fears that what the Press Complaints Commission has called “this terrible moment in British journalism” will be used to herald a fresh clampdown on the whole industry – including the regional press.
In a letter to the PM, he wrote: “I join you today in condemning the practice of phone-hacking in the strongest possible terms.
“As editor of a hard-campaigning, respected, responsible, accountable, regional evening newspaper – and as past president of Britain’s Society of Editors – I am disgusted at the practices which have been detailed.
“But when you describe newspapers, please, please do not use it as a condemnatory catch-all.
“Please differentiate between the work done by local newspapers, like mine, and the activities the nation is so repulsed by.
“Day in, day out, local newspapers like mine, working against the odds in a difficult economic climate, produce the news and information that helps people run their lives. We create community cohesion.
“With good, dogged, honest journalism as our beacon, we help make local life a better place to be.
“We investigate without fear – yet we uphold the law.
“Thousands of journalists up and down the land deserve better than being caught up in something which has sickened each and ever one of them to the core.”