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The press is abusive enough, but very salutary and suggestive

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I tend to Thomas Jefferson's opinion that "To the press alone, chequered as it is with abusive, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression", or as my predecessor, Governor Bowring, put it more modestly in 1855 "the press is abusive enough, but very salutary and suggestive".    @


Speech at the opening ceremony of the Fifth Triennial Conference of the Commonwealth Journalists Association 
January 27, 1997

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Note :

Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826), who helped to draft the American Constitution, was the third President of the United States. He was elected Vice President in 1797 and President for years later. He was re-elected in 1805. His quote was from the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions made in 1799. The statement was included in the Macmillan Dictionary of Political Quotations published in 1993. Under the chapter of "Media and the Press", there are two other hackneyed quotations from Jefferson:

"The basis of our government's being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter." Letter to Col. Edward Carrington, January 16, 1787

"From forty years' experience of the wretched guess-work of the newspapers of what is not done in the open daylight, and of their falsehood even as to that, I rarely think them worth reading, and almost never worth notice." Letter to James Monroe, February 4, 1816

Sir John Bowring, LLD, on the other hand, was the sixth Governor of Hong Kong. He ruled from 1854-1859.

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