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Editor’s comment: On familiar faces in the news

PUBLISHED: 08:30 10 January 2019

Paul Saxton at his newspaper stall on his 40th anniversary of selling newspapers. Picture: DAVID WINSKILL

Paul Saxton at his newspaper stall on his 40th anniversary of selling newspapers. Picture: DAVID WINSKILL

Archant

It’s often a good feeling to spot a local story in the national news, to see daily papers and broadcast journalists amplifying the voices of those who have appeared in the local press.

That’s not how it feels in the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, whose imprisonment in Tehran should have been an unpleasant memory long ago. Instead, it remains an international scandal that continues to shame both Iran and Britain.

Twice in recent weeks I have glanced up at the screens in my local gym and seen Richard Ratcliffe’s face on the evening news as he is questioned about the inhumane treatment of his wife. Even with Nazanin in our own headlines, it feels different – unfamiliar, even somehow more real – to see her face on TV. And even though Richard is seemingly indefatigable, articulate and hopeful, I can scarcely imagine how hopeless, angry and exhausted I would feel in his position.

Nazanin – her name will be familiar to anyone who reads these pages regularly – was jailed more than 1,000 days ago for the crime of going on holiday. The Ham&High vowed to cover her plight until she was back home in West Hampstead, and I repeat that vow today.

I take no relish in keeping Nazanin’s name in our headlines, but we will continue to do so until she is free. And as awful as her story is, I hope to see the national press doing the same.

• I will take the time to say thank you to Paul Saxton in person next time I’m in Crouch End.

Paul has been selling papers at his stall in the Broadway for considerably longer than I have been alive. It is a delight to hear that he has no plans to stop any time soon, particularly when contrasted with the grim predictions about the industry’s future I have been hearing every five minutes since I trained nearly a decade ago.

It’s not that we’re keeping Paul in a job; he’s keeping us in one. Thank you, Paul.

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