When asked what he thought of western civilisation, the Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi replied that 'I think it would be a great idea'. The verdicts handed down from the phone hacking trial together with the information contained during the eight months at the Old Bailey suggest pretty much the same thing. We need a free and fearless press because we certainly don't appear to have one now.
Now the hacking trial verdicts have confirmed that the country's biggest newspaper company suffered a catastrophic collapse in standards, the question must be: has Rupert Murdoch done what is necessary to ensure it won't happen again? And the answer is no, he has not. In fact Murdoch has done the reverse. He has joined a conspiracy with other press bosses to prevent the changes that were demanded by the Leveson Inquiry - changes endorsed by all parties in Parliament, by victims of press abuse and by the public.
This trial was the eye of a perfect storm in that was a very high-profile case and a much more far-reaching prosecution in terms of punishment and implication than we saw in 2006... Whether or not the law around phone hacking is changed or new offences created will probably depend on the public reaction to Coulson's sentence.
The whole of the British press - despite the fact that 95% of it was never involved in the hacking of phones which led to this crackdown - was subjected to a judicial inquiry with draconian powers, greater than those handed to the Chilcot Inquiry which is looking into the war in Iraq in which 100,000 people died... Not only has this been hugely dangerous for the press in Britain, it has robbed us of all moral authority to be able to try to help countries battling authoritarianism in establishing a free press.
There is no reason to doubt Sir Alan's sincerity, nor his personal desire to act independently. But it will be fascinating to see how he tries to put his personal independence into practice from a position where the independence and freedom to manoeuvre is so seriously compromised and constrained before he has even stepped over the threshold.
As the corporation gears up to negotiating the renewal of the Royal Charter and defending the licence fee (why Ian Fletcher was brought in, after all), W1A is a reminder of why the BBC is worth it. Ok, there are a few other reasons, like BBC News and Radio 4 and live music and (now) the World Service.... You don't have to like them all, just enough of them.
Deaf to everyone else and in denial about their own disgraceful record, the people who run Britain's biggest newspaper groups are forging ahead with their 'IPSO' scheme to regulate their affairs on their own terms. It can't be said often or plainly enough: hardly a soul outside their immediate circle agrees that this is the right way forward.
In 2009 newspapers were arguing to MPs that the existence of a no-win-no-fee system giving some ordinary people the ability to sue papers for breaching their rights was an unacceptable constraint on press freedom. The talk of 300 years of press freedom is not based on the facts but is an argument of convenience. Today these papers declare that the press has been free for centuries, but tomorrow, if it suits them, the same papers will insist with equal ardour that the press has never been free.
Much of the press has wildly misread the public mood on press reform. After a weekend of Leveson-bashing and breathless attacks on the Royal Charter agreed by parliament, a new poll conducted by YouGov for the Media Standards Trust and reported in the Guardian shows public backing for the judge's reform to be as strong as ever.
The weekly email exchanges I have with the HuffPost mothership in America are usually fairly straightforward; we swap ideas for global reporting features, maybe pass requests on for a new piece of functionality. And then, every now and again, I have to explain an odd British quirk to a befuddled Yank reading an article on the UK version of the site and coming up against a brick wall of comprehension. We may share a common language, but there's still plenty of translating that needs doing.
Parliament's Royal Charter, which implements the Leveson recommendations and is endorsed by all parties in Parliament, will benefit everyone and will enhance freedom of expression. These are the top 20 benefits. One: If a news publisher has harmed you in a way that breaches the industry standards code, for example by getting facts wrong or intruding unjustifiably in private grief, you can take your complaint to a new, genuinely independent and impartial complaints service - free.