The Press: Tragic Disaster

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Should newsmen be licensed as lawyers and doctors are? Proposals to license them are pending in Belgium and The Netherlands, and in Italy journalists must now register with the Ministry of Justice. Last week in Rome, Editor Erwin Canham of the Christian Science Monitor warned an international congress of journalists against the "tragic disaster" of licensing.

Said Editor Canham: "Close parallels have been drawn between the newspaper profession and such other registered and carefully qualified professions as medicine. But the parallels were false and dangerous: "Ideas must always be free, Tney must never be licensed . . " It made no difference, he added, whether licensing was by a government agency or by a self-regulating body of journalists. Said Canham: "Consider the great martyrs in the battle for freedom of the press. If their right to express their great ideas had depended on the vote of their own colleagues, many of them would have been voted out of the profession."