6 MAY 1972, Page 26

Press standards

Sir: Mr Worsthome (April 29) accuses me of "journalistic malpractice" on the grounds of a headline I did not write and an assurance I did not give. The argument is nine months old but since the slur is new perhaps you would allow me to recall that I did not accuse Alan Paton of changing his attitude to apartheid. What I did do was point out that he had changed his method of opposing it. We disagreed sharply over how significant that change was.

Mr Worsthome goes on to quote Mr Paton's complaint that I gave no indication that I intended Of "make a denigratory report." Of course I didn't, and nor did I say it would be friendly. Since when has a reporter been required to make such a declaration?

If Mr Worsthorne is so concerned about standards and press awards why doesn't he try persuading his own newspaper to enter for them? Then we would all have a touchstone.

John Clare The Times, Printing House Square, London EC4