21 FEBRUARY 1964, Page 20

SUPPRESSION SLR,—Mr. Folkard does not seem to understand the ordinary

principles upon which public controversy is conducted in England. Of course, an editor has no obligation to publish a letter from a correspondent: but it is a generally accepted principle that when a newspaper attacks an individual the latter should be granted a right of reply. Sometimes this is refused in the confident expectation that the correspondent will not be able to protect himself elsewhere. That is why some mass circulation papers feel that they can suppress legitimate retorts to their complaints, con- fident that they will appear nowhere else. I am glad, sir, that this is not one of your habits.

It is good for British journalism that there are papers like the Spectator in which people can explain their position when they are attacked by mass cir- culation papers and denied the right of reply. This process is, particularly salutary for the mass circula- tion newspapers themselves since, if continued, it must eventually convince them that suppression is of no service to them ultimately in concealing the bad faith in which they have acted.