Those who heap abuse on the press are the ‘real enemies of the people,” a senior editor has said.
Press Association editor in chief Peter Clifton said the media faces more pressure than ever from those who dismiss news they don’t like as ‘fake.’
He said: “We must re-double our efforts to stand firm, find the truth, champion freedom of speech, challenge authority, serve our audiences, and continue to irritate and undermine those who heap abuse and bile upon us – because they are the real enemies of the people.
He said while people might now want to consume news in different ways, moving away from newspapers to digital devices, “they still want it from organisations they can trust”.
He said journalists should “draw comfort from the fact that people are still fascinated by what is happening around them” regardless of the changes taking place across the news industry.
He was speaking at an annual service commemorating journalists and media workers killed or imprisoned in the course of their jobs worldwide held at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street.
He said: “There may have been bumps along the way, but this remains a profession full of honest, decent people who work way beyond the call of duty every day to find stories and serve their communities by shining a light into the dark corners.
“Our industry faces the significant challenge of declining print revenues, and digital services undermined by the enormous amount of advertising revenue being sucked away by social media and search engines.
He added: “Those siren voices ignore that trust in the news media is rising, particularly locally, and is far higher than the trust consumers have in news they search for randomly or find on social media.”