A few weeks ago, a Conservative-led government, with support from all parties, formally put an end to more than three centuries of freedom of the press in Britain. This hard-won liberty has often proved an inspiration to the world, not least to our own Founding Fathers, yet its disappearance barely made the papers on this side of the Atlantic. Perhaps because we already have an informal kind of press regulation here—in the form of a media establishment empowered to enforce a broad uniformity, if not quite unanimity, of opinion on its members—it didn’t look like much of an additional step for the British to have set up a formal, legal mechanism to rein in any journalists who might be thought to be causing trouble. A New York Times editorial...


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