As Mr Cameron promised a public inquiry into phone-hacking at the Rupert Murdoch-owned title, Ipswich Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover appealed to him not to use what he called a “condemnatory catch-all” for newspapers.
The hacking scandal continued to intensify yesterday following allegations that the NoTW hacked into the voicemail messages of teenage murder victim Milly Dowler and relatives of those killed in the 7/7 attacks.
Mr 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.”
“Sick of references in TV #phonehacking coverage to ‘the press’ as if we’re all the same. Local papers are blameless & a force for good,” he said.
In the latest developments in the hacking affair today, it emerged that families of members of the armed forces killed in Afghanistan and Iraq may have been targeted.
It was also claimed that some police officers had received up to £30,000 for giving information to journalists.