Press freedom ‘frustrating and even dangerous’ for powerful figures – Myrie

BBC journalist and presenter Clive Myrie has said freedom of the press is “annoying, frustrating and even dangerous” for powerful and influential figures as he was presented with an award for his outstanding contribution to journalism.

The 58-year-old said the US had become a “shining example of toxicity of our modern age” – saying the BBC had been forced to write to the White House to ask for a review of the security arrangements for members of the press at former president Donald Trump’s rallies following attacks on reporters.

But Myrie also criticised the UK, saying recent attacks on media freedoms, such as the detention of an LBC journalist covering a Just Stop Oil protest, looked “no better than Russia, China, Iran or Saudi Arabia”.

He told the Society of Editors Media Freedom Conference that billions of people in countries such as Russia and China “struggle to access journalism produced without intervention from politicians” or “threats to their wellbeing”.

Myrie was presented with a special fellowship award for outstanding contribution to journalism during the event on Wednesday.

Speaking about how powerful figures were now against press freedoms, he said: “There are too many people, entities, sections of society, governments, who don’t think, don’t understand what our role is.

“It is about trying to fully inform the public.

“A plurality of opinion is not what they want.

“They seek propaganda and bolstering of their own narrow point of view.

“They want to shut down conversations, not open them up.

“They are the true enemies of the people. They are the true enemies of democracy.”