The Press: Shredding the Gag

Journalistic freedom in Britain occasionally takes second place to legal restraints such as the Official Secrets Act, which guards government information. Even in civil affairs, a stiff law restricts coverage of matters under court review if the stories could influence the outcome of specific cases. For ten years this civil restriction has throttled coverage of a poignant and important story: the long legal fight, still proceeding in the courts, over damages to be paid to those crippled by the drug thalidomide. The London Sunday Times has now torn apart the gag rule, setting...

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