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Threat from political correctness

This week is Local Newspaper Week, but all is not well.

New laws, including the Human Rights Bill, which can restrict information to journalists, are increasingly concerning the local press.

This article, by Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, first appeared in the Bolton Evening News.

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There is a new bout of political correctness spreading across the country. It is pernicious and threatens to undermine the fabric of local communities.

Most worrying is that the disease is wrapped up in new laws that most of us welcome and support wholeheartedly.

The laws concern human rights and data protection. Few would argue with the principles behind them. Newspapers certainly support them because they are about protecting ordinary people against the state and big organisations. That is a key role for editors and journalists.

They are the same laws that Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas used to protect the exclusivity of their wedding pictures. Sadly, some organisations are missing the point of the laws and they are using, or rather misusing them, to cut off the flow of information to the public through the media.

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