By Paul Anderson
Tribune 27 January 2012
“Which is where Nick Cohen’s fiery new polemic about freedom of expression, You Can’t Read This Book, comes in. He recognises that we need regulation to preserve media freedom. The book’s big theme is that formal legal guarantees of freedom of expression are not enough to sustain its practice.
Fear – fear of being fired for stepping out of line by a corporation or government organisation that employs you, fear of the libel action that might come from a super-rich crook with a holiday home in London, fear of being assassinated for offending the religious sensibilities of some imam in Iran (who might well broadcast on Press TV) – is as potent a constraint on free expression as the censor of a totalitarian state, and a much larger and more present danger in western democracies than necessary tolerant democratic media regulation.
Cohen’s book is brilliant – add that to the cover blurb – but it doesn’t go far enough…”
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