One diplomat told The Daily Telegraph: “The BBC has to make amends, particularly to assuage the hurt sentiment of a very large number of people.
“We understand the free press – they are welcome to explain and to challenge as long as it is fair and above the belt. Can this pass as acceptable journalism? The BBC has a global reputation. We expect the BBC to make amends.”
No, there\’s nothing in the \”free press\” bit that says it has to be fair and or above the belt. For the perfectly logical reason that what is fair, what is above the belt, is manipulable. So we don\’t restrict the press in that manner for fear of who will manipulate those meanings into the non-reporting of what they don\’t want reported and the reporting only of what they do.
Now, as to the reputation thing, that\’s fine. Perhaps the BBC\’s reputation is to be built on being above the belt and fair. Unlike, say, mine, which is to be vile and kick for the grollies. Or Socialist Worker which is to believe in the magic money tree. Or the well known liberalism of The Reactionary and Feudal Herald.
That is, the freedom of the press does indeed allow you to use fairness and above the beltness as a positioning exercise, sure, but it doesn\’t in fact require you to do so. Which is rather the point of that \”free\” bit in there, d\’ye see?