Another Sad Day for Press Freedoms

Today has been another miserable day for freedom of the Press.

Nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who was working on reception at the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was staying recently when Australian DJs made a prank call, has died in an apparent suicide.

All for the sake of radio ratings.

I berate anyone (and I have seen several tweets trying to shift the blame on the hospital for failing to take adequate security measures) who tries to defend these two pranksters. Of course, they haven't broken any rules, but the story couldn't have come at a more poignant time than following the recent Leveson Inquiry into press standards.

It appears some elements of the press have learned nothing.

As an outsider looking into the press industry I recognise the need to have a strong independent Press. But it has to be a 'responsible' Press which is accountable for the consequences of its actions. It's irrelevant whether the Royal Family did or did not complain about the hoax; the damage has been done and the public clearly have no appetite for excuses in this instance.

The media and press industry needs to be careful that it doesn't stumble over its own self-importance. I'm seeing a lot of adverts on the television with journalists defending their position and right to hold government to account, but isn't it the role of the electorate to do just that, not the press? Their role is to report stories in a fair and transparent manner, yet we all know that ratings and readership drive stories. Money talks and sensation sells!

To balance the argument, I do agree that others may have questions to answer. For example, did the hospital omit to take proper information security measures or did the security services fail to carry out a proper risk assessment.

But nothing - repeat NOTHING - excuses the two radio presenters from their irresponsible behaviour.

Yet, I don't want to see a crusade between government and the press (which seems to be taking place on TV) aimed at trying to win over the hearts and minds of the general public. Neither are indispensable. We have elections every 5 years and there's always Twitter and Facebook to encourage debate and find out what's really happening in the big wide world.

I'd rather have informed debate and hold the government to account myself when I vote, thanks!