How social media help authoritarians

mail

Have you heard? Do you know? Are you, as they say, ‘in the loop’? When the Mail on Sunday said a ‘sensational affair’ between ‘high profile figures’ close to Cameron had ‘rocked’ No. 10, did you have the faintest idea what it was talking about?

I did, but then I’m a journalist. Friends in the lobby filled me in on a story which had been doing the rounds for months. I even know which law stopped the Mail on Sunday following the basics of journalism and giving its readers the ‘whos’, ‘whats’, ‘whens’, ‘whys’ and ‘hows’. (Although with most affairs the ‘whys’ are self-evident. It is the ‘whos’ and, for the voyeuristic, the ‘whats’ and the ‘hows’ that stir the blood.) I cannot say any more in print. I cannot even tell you which restriction on freedom of speech is stopping publication. If I did, you might just be able to work out the names of the lovers.

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