In 1787 Edmund Burke first used the term “the Fourth Estate” to describe the news media or printed journalism.
Today more than ever the Fourth Estate is the last bastion for the protection of the public from the on-going perfidy of our elected politicians and public servants. Like rats in a laboratory maze our politicians and senior public servants have learned that however venal or incompetent their activities, they only have to wait the situation out until it becomes yesterday’s news.
Even modest journals like our own Lynn News have a role to play in protecting the public from the over-zealous indiscretions of local politicians and officers.
Here I am referring to the recent disgraceful conduct of the Norfolk County Council officers in the matter of the Cory Wheelabrator’s Incinerator. The Lynn News took a stand in the interests of the public good, and we should all recognise this.
It is a sad fact that we are now conditioned to accept lies and prevarication from those in public office.
Be warned that the UK has the highest number of journalists imprisoned in the world.
And if David Cameron had his way that number would be even higher.
I am not defending the members of the gutter press, and their newspapers for the great unwashed, with a reading age of eight years old; they have their own paper with a three lettered name, that given time, their readers can spell out.
I am pleading for the serious investigative journalists who are the champions of our society.
Shortly, we are being asked to go the ballot box to select another set of representatives by means of our democratic system, when you cast your vote, reflect that this paragon of society for whom you are casting a vote , may well turn out to be just another cheat or liar, and it is only the fourth estate that will protect us in the final analysis.
David Press (grumpy old man),
Fitton Hall, St Germans