SubScribe is even less of a fan of newspapers with entrenched ideas. An open mind is an essential part of a journalist's make-up. Approaching any subject with preconceived ideas is likely to lead to important nuances being missed or overlooked.
The Daily Mail has ranted loud and long about Leveson, the royal charter, the Guardian's role in unearthing the hacking scandal and about Hacked Off.
On Sunday, its sister paper splashed on the fact that Kent Police had used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to trawl through phone records and uncover the identity of the source of the Chris Huhne speeding ticket story. This was even though a judge had ordered that the source should remain anonymous.
Press Gazette has for more than a month been seeking signatures on a petition to stop police using this act to spy on journalists. The Save Our Sources campaign began after the disclosure that the Met had gone through the Sun political editor's phone records to discover whose leak started the Plebgate scandal.
SubScribe would hazard a guess that Littlejohn is no supporter of Hacked Off. But he doesn't mention the organisation in this column. It's appearance in the heading is hardly likely to have been the work of a lowly sub, rather to have been dictated from above. As it happens, Hacked Off is standing four square alongside the Mail on this.
Dr Evan Harris, associate director of the organisation, stood up at the Liberal Democrats' conference in Glasgow yesterday and persuaded his party to adopt a policy of creating public interest defences in law to protect responsible journalism.
Harris, a former LibDem MP, said that his party's ministers should do more to enhance, improve and protect press freedom, particularly in relation to investigative and public interest journalism. He pointed to various examples where this might work:
First is RIPA, and the lack of safeguards for journalistic material, including confidential sources and indeed for legally privileged material. The report of Operation Alice into the Plebgate affair
revealed...that the police had got the phone records, both the mobile phone and the desk phone, from Tom Newton-Dunn, the political editor at The Sun...
There is no judicial oversight or indeed any oversight for
the police for that decision. The police authorised themselves to do that, something they...should not be allowed to do. There must be greater safeguards.
The second area dealt with in this amendment are public interest defences. For example in the Computer Misuse Act, which would mean that when Sky News hacked into the computer of the "canoe man", who you may remember faked his death to get insurance money, they would not
have been threatened with the chilling impact of a police investigation.
Similarly with the Bribery Act. The Sun...ran an operation to expose fraud at a magistrates' court where a clerk was letting people off speeding tickets. And they ran the risk of a police investigation because they were effectively breaking the Bribery Act and had no statutory defence.
If the News of the World, instead of their thousands of innocent victims of hacking, had hacked the phone of Jimmy Savile to expose him when the police were failing to do so, then they should not have faced for that example the threat of a police investigation. But there is no public interest defence.
This is not the first time Harris's addresses to conference have attracted the Sun's attention. Three years ago it wrote:
A women's think-tank yesterday blasted the Lib Dems for plotting war on Page 3 — and hailed The Sun’s curvy babes as role models.The party’s po-faced conference motion this week to stop shopkeepers selling The Sun before a 9pm “watershed” was condemned by the organisation WomenOn.
The group said of the crusade led by Evan Harris: “Where should it stop? Should we ban all photos of people lest someone somewhere finds them attractive?”
Ex-MP Dr Harris brandished photos of topless Page 3 models on Monday as he ranted against “sexualised images” in newspapers and lads’ mags.
His potty idea for a TV-style watershed to restrict when publications can be sold is now official Lib Dem policy. WomenOn said it “smacks of desperation”.
Or maybe it's a case of "my enemy's enemy is my friend"?