13 DECEMBER 1963, Page 17

SIR,-1 feel very strongly the need of imposing some restrictions

on the present unbridled power

of our handful of press magnates, and intend to raise the matter in public debate at the earliest convenient opportunity, because it has already be- come a classic example of power without responsi- bility, which is always bad.

There is, however, another side to the story which must not be overlooked. In order to be an efficient, modern journalist, and to discharge your proper function as such, you have to go flat out for the news; and have an editor with the guts to publish what you write, it he has reason to believe that it is unmalicious, accurate and based on first- hand knowledge. Lady Jean Campbell is a startling example of what can be achieved, given the neces- sary will and courage; but there are not very many others.

The real danger is that the press of this country, in sharp contrast to that of the United States and France, will become, simultaneously, smug (from a sense of its own uncontrolled and semi-monopo- listic power) and irresponsible.

Someone should have the right to ask the so- called 'Press Barons' what they are up to, and why.

I can think of no body better devised for this purpose than the House of Lords itself. It would mean putting all the big ones into it. Why not?

Under existing conditions, the increase in the num- ber of created peers would he imperceptible; and those that were 'elevated' would constitute, in fact if not in theory, an estate of the realm in their own right, House of Lords, SW I