Sunday 9 August 2009

Observer plea: 'Unthinkable that one liberal newspaper would seek to extinguish another'

A plea to save the Observer from closure is made in a letter to the Sunday Times Business section, which ran Guardian chiefs plot Observer closure story last week.
Among those who have signed the letter are Rory Bremner, Helena Kennedy, Ben Summerskill, Neal Ascherson, Jenni Murray, Cristina Odone, Denis MacShane, David Davis, Dylan Jones, and Mariella Frostrup.
The letter says:"We read with alarm that The Guardian is considering closing its sister paper, The Observer. It seems unthinkable to us that one liberal newspaper would seek to extinguish another. A pluralist press is vital for a thriving democracy.
"Stifling an elegant voice that has kept millions informed and entertained since the Enlightenment, that has both reported on and helped drive British cultural life, and which is as relevant now as it was when it took principled stands on the American civil war, the Suez crisis and South African apartheid, seems to us to be tragically shortsighted. We recognise that all media are under intense economic pressure, but the recession should not be used as an excuse to close a paper that offers a unique international perspective. The British press is rightly admired for its diversity of opinion, and The Observer has an important place at its core.
"Perhaps a clue to this dangerous proposal lies in the Guardian group’s aim to turn its website into “the world’s leading liberal voice”. So liberal, in fact, that it can find no room for another point of view."
Signed by Rory Bremner, AC Grayling, Ben Summerskill, Mark Frankland, Jenni Murray, Cristina Odone, Denis MacShane, David Davis, Dylan Jones, Mariella Frostrup, Peter Kosminsky, Stanley Johnson, Mary Warnock, Marina Warner, Helena Kennedy, Alexandra Shulman, Fatima Bhutto, Ed Husain, Armando Iannucci, Nikhil Kumar, Ian Buruma, Samuel West, Aravind Adiga, Jennifer Formichelli, Avi Shlaim, John Gray, Karol Sikora, Colin Byrne, Ronald Harwood, Richard Harries, Anthony Seldon, Stephen Frears, Konnie Huq, Neal Ascherson, Neil LaBute.

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