PA Editor-in-Chief Pete Clifton described those who attempt to silence the free press with bile and abuse and “dismiss news they don’t like as fake” as “the real enemies of the people.”
He was speaking at the annual Journalists’ Service at St Bride’s Church in Fleet Street, which honours reporters and media workers killed and endangered in their mission to bring the news. The service on Tuesday 20 November also commemorated the 150th anniversary of PA.
Pete highlighted PA’s enduring principles of speed, accuracy, balance and impartiality in a rapidly changing and pressured news environment.
He said: “We should draw comfort from the fact that people are still fascinated by what is happening around them. They might want to consume the news in different ways, but they still want it from organisations they can trust. We face more pressure than ever from those who dismiss news they don’t like as fake.
“So we must re-double our efforts to stand firm, find the truth, champion freedom of speech, challenge authority, serve our audiences, and continue to irritate and undermine those who heap abuse and bile upon us – because they are the real enemies of the people.
He added: “Our industry faces the significant challenge of declining print revenues, and digital services undermined by the enormous amount of advertising revenue being sucked away by social media and search engines.
“Great minds are now looking at how this imbalance can be redressed, and no doubt many of us will await with interest the findings of the Cairncross Review into the future of the UK media.”
The service was led by the Rector of St Bride’s, the Reverend Alison Joyce. The other speakers on the night were Mail on Sunday columnist Alexandra Schulman, Daily Telegraph Editor Chris Evans and ITV News National Editor, Allegra Stratton.