Culture Secretary defends Jeremy Clarkson’s ‘right to say what he wants’

The Culture Secretary has defended Jeremy Clarkson’s “right to say what he wants” after his Sun newspaper column on the Duchess of Sussex was widely criticized.

His post, in which Clarkson, 62, said he “hated” Meghan and dreamed of her being paraded through British towns and humiliated in public, became the subject of criticism. Most complained by the Independent Press Standards Organization (Ipso) after its publication last month.

The Sun later said it regretted publishing the column, while Clarkson said he was “appalled by causing so much hurt”.

We must have a free press, we must have a position where people can express opinions with which we disagree.Michelle Donelan

A spokesman for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex called The Sun’s apology “little more than a PR stunt”.

Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan told BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show on Wednesday: “I defend his right to say what he wants.

“I very, very much believe in freedom of speech. Obviously, we all have to be mindful of what we say and its consequences, but I’m a big believer in free speech.

“I think he has a right to say what he wants to say, but obviously it will get the same reaction as it gets and it will make some people nervous.

“I’m not going to say what he said and I don’t agree with the comments he’s made, obviously not, of course I don’t.


Michelle Donelan (James Manning/PA)

“We have to have the freedom of the press, we have to be in a position where people can express views that we all disagree with.

“That’s the nature of our media and journalism and that’s important for democracy, it’s important to expose things, it’s important to challenge democracy, force politicians to must take responsibility.

“I read the newspaper every day, I see many stories that I disagree with or views that I disagree with and that is absolutely true.

“And I will always defend the freedom of journalists and their ability and right to be able to write that content. That’s not to say I agree with all of that, but that’s the nature of free speech – that shouldn’t stray into illegal content or go in certain directions, of course. .”


The Duchess of Sussex (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

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In an interview with The News Agents podcast, she added: “I really think we need to put Clarkson’s remarks into context.

“They are not breaking the law. They are so outrageous. And he faced an outcry that followed them. And he had to apologize very publicly.”

In an interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby on Sunday to discuss his autobiography Spare, Harry called the article about his wife “cruel”.

The duke added that the work encourages people around the world to believe it is an acceptable way of treating women.

On Thursday, Ms Donelan confirmed the Government had scrapped a plan to privatize Channel 4 led by her predecessor, Nadine Dorries, under Boris Johnson’s prime minister.

The move prompted Ms Dorries to attack the reversal.

Ms Donelan said she spoke with Ms Dorries prior to the announcement and that she was a “very respected colleague”.

She added: “She has the right to voice her opinion on these things. I know that she worked very hard on this agenda.

“She talks about this from a different point of view, but we both share that concern about sustainability.”

Ms. Donelan denied the initial decision to privatize Channel 4 was ideological.

“Basically, what pushed this agenda in the first place was around sustainability and taking care of taxpayers’ interests,” she said.

“That’s certainly been the focus of the work I’ve done.” Culture Secretary defends Jeremy Clarkson’s ‘right to say what he wants’

Fry Electronics Team

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