A number of newspapers, including the Telegraph, Times and Daily Mail, have picked up on comments from MI5 boss Sir Andrew Parker who suggested the Guardian has jeapordised "the safety of this country and its citizens" by lifting the lid on the extent of secret surveillance operations by GCHQ:
"[The Guardian] revealed how GCHQ was able to hoover up vast amounts of personal information, including websites visited, emails sent and received, text messages, calls and passwords..."
Which is clearly in the public interest.
The Mail goes on to remind readers that "David Cameron authorised the destruction of computers at The Guardian offices" and "sent Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood to demand that Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger destroy files".
The Mail clearly believes the government was right to try to silence and intimidate The Guardian.
Meanwhile over at The Telegraph, the paper claims:
"Sources find it incomprehensible that exposing spy agency techniques for tracking terrorists has been argued to be in the public interest... and it is understood the Guardian continued to expose the information despite pleas from the Government not to reveal intelligence techniques."
The Telegraph clearly believes the government should have been able to silence the Guardian, despite a Telegraph editorial earlier this week which stated:
"A free press is one that is free from government or political interference… For all their protestations to the contrary, our politicians are proposing to bring back statutory press control for the first time in more than 300 years. This is unacceptable."
...unless the government is trying to hush up the Guardian, in which case that's OK apparently.
The Daily Mail too is aggressively opposed to any state interference in the media. Earlier this week the paper was quick to run a quote from Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors and one of the few people to stand up for the Mail in the wake of its hatchet job on Ralph Miliband. Satchwell told the Mail:
"An editor should be free to edit the papers in the way that he wants."
…unless it's the Guardian's editor, in which case, that's different apparently.
With such ifs, buts and exceptions it's no wonder some papers want a system of self-regulation. It would certainly make it a lot easier to make it up as they go along.