Letter: Specious arguments in favour of broadcasting freedom

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your reports (21 January) made a major contribution to a sensible debate about the role of freedom in modern society.

The editors of the tabloid press, the Red Hot Dutch porn merchant and the television company keen to expose the gruesome details of mass murder all argue that their motive is not so much to make money, but to serve their 'popular' public.

Lord Gilmour, a staunch, traditional Tory, demolishes this self-serving case by arguing that if 'popular' demand were to regulate our approach to freedom, then we would also have to legalise drug pushers, who obviously would not survive if there were no 'popular' demand.

One can go further and show that if head-counting indicators of demand were to regulate our lives, we would certainly have the death penalty, and we would not have succeeded in imposing legislation to control various kinds of once 'popular' behaviour, such as not wearing seat-belts.

Lord Gilmour concludes that 'apparent demand is not a sign of virtue', so let these mercenary protagonists of a specious freedom to publish produce better arguments.

Yours sincerely,

FRANK HELLER

London, NW3

21 January

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