Free speech

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I am well aware of the excellent work done by Suzie Vestri and the See Me charity in combatting mental health discrimination.

However I am concerned at her article (Platform, 3 December) raising the question of certain terms of which she disapproves in the context of the Leveson report and discussion of it by the Scottish Parliament.

The clear implication is that she wants newspapers to be forbidden from using these terms.

A week ago another pressure group commenting on the Leveson report expressed the view (against all precepts of logic and language) that the term “bogus asylum seeker” should not be permitted in the press.

It seems to me that there is a large and worrying leap here moving on from regulation of the unacceptable practices of news gathering such as phone hacking and paparazzi intrusion, towards dictating the language and the content of public debate.

As in other areas of public life such as alcohol abuse, it seems to me that the need is not for new laws but for existing laws to be enforced more rigorously.

Until recently that has not happened in the hacking scandal because of the complicity and perhaps corruption of certain elements in the police.

The current arrests, if they lead to convictions and appropriate sentences, may serve to concentrate the minds of editors and journalists better than any new legislation.

Freedom of speech is the foundation of our democracy and we must not allow it to be curtailed by anyone, however well intentioned.

Robert Cairns