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The disappearance of the great independent agencies is something which should be of serious concern to anybody who cares about competent government and clean democracy of whatever political flavour.


They were the recorders of events, the checkers of facts, one might say the champions of truth. Their demise leaves the field open to the unbridled sewers of the so-called social media and for those who use and misuse them for their mischievous ends.


I would almost say hurrah for the French parliament which votes the funding of the AFP agency, whose journalists in my experience work very much by the rules that were ours. The AFP is not the mouthpiece of the French government that the agency’s detractors would have one believe. In some parts of the world, particularly in some developing countries, it has the growing reputation of taking over from Reuters as the guardian of accurate reporting. ■