3 OCTOBER 1947, Page 4

The Press is well in the news this week—in rather

a diverse collection of scraps. The Institute of Journalists has adopted a resolution deploring the recent cut in the paper-ration. It could hardly let its annual conference pass without that. I deplore the cut as much as anyone, but I frankly can't interpret it as a blow at the freedom of the Press. The Government in its anxiety for economy has been slashing right and left, and it has hit petrol even harder than paper. There is plenty of ineptitude in each case, but there seems no basis foi a charge of special malignity. And when the paper question is used as a political stick to beat the Government with, as I observe it was at a gathering consisting of Conservative M.P.s and editors of certain weekly periodicals, the position of newspaper men who are opposing the cut purely as newspaper men is considerably prejudiced. At the same time, Mr. J. B. Priestley has been having a go at the Press for representing things in general as worse than they are. I should have thought that the general situation was quite as black as generally depicted, and that it was all to the good to make the public realise that. I should have thought, too, that the judicial character of the Royal Commission on the Press was unnecessarily compromised when one of its members attacks the Press from a public platform.