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Phone hack probe: woman arrested,& related information Private Investigators implicated - Uk

#61 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 10:22 PM

David Cameron must listen to Leveson recommendations, says Simon Hughes

Lib Dem deputy leader speaks out after Times report suggesting Cameron set to reject statutory intervention in regulation of press

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Nicholas Watt and Lisa O'Carroll, Friday 31 August 2012 18.10 BST

David Cameron must ignore some of his Tory colleagues and listen to Lord Justice Leveson when the judge outlines reforms to the regulation of the press, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats has said.

In the wake of a Times report on Friday that the prime minister is planning to give the industry another chance to improve self-regulation, Simon Hughes said that a series of scandals had shown this system has failed.

Hughes, who received damages from News International earlier this year after his phoned was hacked by the News of the World, said: "David Cameron would do well to ignore the calls from some in his party who for far too long have been far too close to media owners and instead listen to the judge that he appointed to look into these matters in detail. After everything we know now, the public will simply not accept the failure of this government to finally sort out this issue, which successive governments have failed to sort out before."

The Lib Dem deputy leader, who accused the News of the World of "criminal behaviour on an industrial scale" when he settled his civil case in the high court earlier this year, spoke out after the Times reported that Cameron is preparing to reject statutory intervention in the regulation of the press.

Sources have confirmed that the prime minister "broadly" believes the industry should be give another chance to improve self-regulation by making further concessions to show that the new system is genuinely independent and, critically, with editors banned from being involved in adjudications on complaints.

However, this does not have the support of the Lib Dems, who believe self-regulation has failed.

Hughes said the state should never regulate the content of newspapers but that new systems needed to be put in place to guard against repeat lapses in standards in the press, such as the phone-hacking scandal.

"The scandals which have been hugely damaging to the press in our country should demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that the system of self-regulation has failed," he added. "Nobody is arguing that the state should ever regulate the content of newspapers but there is a strong case for a new system which will require newspapers to have the systems in place which will prevent widespread criminal behaviour and unacceptable breaches of privacy from happening again."

Cameron told Leveson during his testimony that the future press watchdog "can't be self-regulation, it has to be independent regulation". But he strongly hinted he did not support full statutory regulation.

"It would be much better if we could deliver it without statute," he said, adding that the test of the new press regulator would be whether it worked for people like the parents of Milly Dowler and Madeleine McCann.

"The test of a regulatory system is not: does that make the politicians happier? The test of the system is: is it going to provide proper protection to ordinary families who, through no fault of their own, get caught up in these media maelstroms and get completely mistreated?" he said.

Lord Black, the chairman of Presbof, which funds the discredited Press Complaints Commission, is believed to be playing a pivotal behind-the-scenes role. He is also a former PCC director.

He is close to Cameron and is co-ordinating the industry's response to Leveson, including proposed new powers of investigation and fines of up to £1m for breaches of strict codes of conduct on a range of issues from privacy to accuracy.

"Statutory regulation of the written word would be an unacceptable impingement on press freedom," Black said in his submission to the inquiry. He told Leveson during oral evidence that any attempt to introduce new laws to govern newspapers would run the risk of getting "stuck in parliamentary aspic".

Black also warned that a statutory system would face "constant legal challenge to the legal decisions of a regulator" by newspapers.

The prime minister made clear in his evidence to the Leveson inquiry that he was wary of statutory regulation when he spoke of the dangers of "excessive" regulation.

In his statement to the inquiry, he said: "In my view, more effective regulation, independent of government, is a better option. I do not believe that direct regulation by the government or a government-appointed body would be appropriate as it would damage our democracy, inhibit a free press and indeed, it could erode the benefits of the media holding politicians to account and uncovering wrongdoing amongst politicians."

The behind-the-scenes machinations come at a sensitive time. Leveson is still working on his final report and recommendations and nobody wants to be seen publicaly to pre-empt this.

He has already expressed his "disappointment" that a confidential letter he sent to newspaper groups warning of potential criticism in his final report is being discussed by the press.

He made his disapproval known after Chris Blackhurst, the editor of the Independent, went on Radio 4's The Media Show on Wednesday and claimed that Leveson was "loading a gun" for the newspaper industry and that his warning letter, which was sent to all main newspaper groups, was a "point by point demolition" of the press.

Blackhurst said that Leveson was throwing the book at the industry and had failed to acknowledge that newspapers, not others, had uncovered scandal after scandal.

His remarks prompted the Leveson inquiry to issue a statement on Wednesday pointing out it was legally obliged under inquiries legislation to give anyone who will be criticised in his final report written warning of that potential criticism to give them an opportunity to respond to it.

The statement also said comments on his letter were a "misrepresentation" of the facts and that by their nature such letters were one-sided.

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#62 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 10:24 PM

Former NoW legal chief Tom Crone denies involvement in phone hacking

Statement from lawyer says Crone categorically denies the commission of or involvement in any criminal offence

Lisa O'Carroll, Friday 31 August 2012 09.56 BST

The former head lawyer at the News of the World has categorically denied any involvement in the commissioning of phone hacking.

Tom Crone, who was arrested at 6.45am at his home in south London on Thursday, was released on bail late Thursday night after being detained by Scotland Yard detectives on suspicion of unlawfully conspiring to intercept communications.

The Metropolitan police said that he was bailed until mid-October.

"My client has fully assisted the police in their enquiries," said a statement issued on Crone's behalf by solicitor Henri Brandman.

"He categorically denies the commission of or involvement in any criminal offence. Neither he nor I will be making any further public statement."

Crone's arrest was the 25th made by the Met Police team working on the Operation Weeting phone hacking inquiry.

It also was the first arrest since eight individuals, including the former News of the World editor Andy Coulson and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, were told they would face a total of 19 charges relating to phone hacking.

Operating Weeting was launched in January 2011 and is being run in parallel with two other investigations into alleged illegal activity by journalists – Operation Elveden into payments to police and public officials and Operation Tuleta into computer hacking and other breaches of privacy not covered by Weeting.

#63 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 10:26 PM

Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson to face court

Brooks and Coulson, along with six others, will be in court to face charges related to alleged phone hacking

Press Association, Wednesday 26 September 2012 06.02 BST

Former News International chief executuve Rebekah Brooks and ex-No 10 communications director Andy Coulson are due to appear in court to face charges linked to the investigation into phone hacking.

The pair are due at the Old Bailey in London on Wednesday with five other journalists from the now-defunct tabloid the News of the World, as well as private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

Ex-managing editor Stuart Kuttner, former news editor Greg Miskiw, former head of news Ian Edmondson, ex-chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and former reporter James Weatherup are also facing charges.

The seven former NotW staff face one general accusation of conspiracy to access voicemails that prosecutors say could affect up to 600 victims, along with other charges related to specific people.

Mulcaire is accused of four counts related to particular individuals.

Brooks, 44, from Churchill, Oxfordshire, is also due to appear with husband Charlie, 49, and five other people accused of perverting the course of justice.

The charges relate to an alleged attempt to conceal material from police investigating claims of phone hacking and corrupt payments to public officials at the Sun and the News of the World.

Brooks's former personal assistant Cheryl Carter, head of security at News International Mark Hanna, Brooks's chauffeur Paul Edwards and security staff Daryl Jorsling and Lee Sandell are also due to appear.

#64 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 05:58 PM

Daily Mirror publisher faces being sued over alleged phone hacking

Four civil claims filed at the high court in the first formal move for damages from any company outside News International

Josh Halliday, Tuesday 23 October 2012 01.35 BST

The publisher of the Daily Mirror faces being sued over alleged phone hacking by four public figures, including ex-England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Four civil claims were filed against Mirror Group Newspapers at the high court on Monday in the first formal move for damages from any company outside Rupert Murdoch's News International.

The allegation by Eriksson relates to the Daily Mirror when Piers Morgan was editor. Morgan, now a primetime TV host on CNN in the US, has repeatedly denied knowledge of phone hacking at the title.

A spokesman for Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) said: "We have no comment; we are unaware action has been taken at the high court."

The claims were filed by the solicitor Mark Lewis on behalf of Eriksson, former footballer Garry Flitcroft, actor Shobna Gulati, who played Sunita Alahan in Coronation Street and Anita in Dinnerladies, and Abbie Gibson, the former nanny to David and Victoria Beckham's children. The claims lodged on behalf of Gulati, Gibson and Flitcroft, allege phone hacking at either the Sunday Mirror or the People. MGN faced accusations of hacking during evidence to Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into press standards, but has always said: "All our journalists work within the criminal law and the PCC [Press Complaints Commission] code of conduct and we have seen no evidence to suggest otherwise."

Lewis confirmed to the Guardian that the civil claims had been lodged, but said they had not yet been served on MGN. He added that he did not expect to file any further claims against the Daily Mirror's publisher this week.

Morgan edited the Daily Mirror between 1995 and 2004. He gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry in December when he repeatedly denied any knowledge of illegal newsgathering techniques at the tabloid. But in May, BBC Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman claimed to the inquiry that Morgan had personally shown him how to illicitly intercept voicemail messages at a lunch in September 2002.

Paxman claimed that at the same lunch Morgan had teased Ulrika Jonsson about the details of a private conversation she had had with Erikson, who was England manager at the time.

In one testy exchange with Robert Jay, the senior counsel to the Leveson inquiry, in December 2011, Morgan said: "Not a single person has made any formal or legal complaint against the Daily Mirror for phone hacking."

The four claims accuse the newspapers of a "breach of confidence and misuse of private information" relating to the "interception and/or misuse of mobile phone voicemail messages and/or the interception of telephone accounts".

Former Blackburn Rovers footballer Flitcroft told the Leveson inquiry in November that he had been hounded by tabloid newspapers over an extra-marital affair in 2001. Golati is the actor best known for playing Sunita Alahan in Coronation Street and, previously, Anita in Dinnerladies.

Lewis said no particulars of claim had been filed, but that relevant dates relating to the alleged activity were submitted to the high court. The individuals now have four months to serve particulars of claims on MGN. The merits of the claim remain to be tested.

The formal hacking allegations come weeks before Leveson is expected to outline a critical assessment of the ethics of the press in his report to prime minister David Cameron.

Trinity Mirror has robustly defended its decision not to launch an internal investigation into phone hacking at its titles. Sly Bailey, the former chief executive, told the Leveson inquiry in January that it was unhealthy for a company to investigate unsubstantiated allegations about itself.

Bailey said: "I don't think it's a way to conduct a healthy organisation to go around conducting investigations when there's no evidence that our journalists have been involved in phone hacking.

"There was no evidence and we saw no reason to investigate. We have only seen unsubstantiated allegations and I have seen no evidence that phone hacking has ever taken place at Trinity Mirror."

Trinity Mirror opened a review of its editorial "controls and procedures" following the hacking scandal in July 2011.

Phone Hacking

#65 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 06:06 PM

22 October 2012 Last updated at 22:16 GMT

Mirror hit by High Court claims over phone hacking

Sunday Mirror logo Trinity Mirror said it was unaware that the legal action had taken place

Four people have issued High Court claims against the Daily and Sunday Mirror and The People, accusing the newspapers of phone hacking, their solicitor has told the BBC.

Solicitor Mark Lewis said the claims were filed against publisher Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) on Monday.

The four claimants include former England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Trinity Mirror, which owns MGN, said it had no comment.

A spokesman for the newspaper group added: "We are unaware action has been taken at the High Court."

The three other claimants are Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati; Abbie Gibson, a former nanny for the Beckham family; and Garry Flitcroft, the former captain of Blackburn Rovers football team.

Until now the UK phone hacking scandal has centred on Rupert Murdoch's News International, publisher of the Sun, and the now closed News of the World.

This is the first legal action in the scandal against another newspaper group.

Mr Lewis told the BBC that he would not be revealing what level of financial compensation his clients were seeking.

The phone hacking scandal resulted in the government setting up the independent Leveson Inquiry, led by Lord Justice Leveson. This is due to publish its findings, and proposals for the regulation of the UK press industry, by the end of the year.

More on This Story
From other news sites Phone hacking suits hit Piers Morgan's old tabloid 1 hr ago
MSN UK Mirror faces phone-hack claims 2 hrs ago
New Zealand Herald Phone hacking victims sue UK tabloid 2 hrs ago
South China Morning Post* Trinity Mirror faces phone hacking claims 6 hrs ago
Reuters UK Trinity Mirror faces phone hacking claims:

Trinity Mirror faces phone hacking claims - media

LONDON | Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:57pm BST

(Reuters) - British newspapers belonging to Trinity Mirror are facing legal claims for phone hacking by four people, including former England football coach Sven Goran Eriksson, media said on Monday.

The only company previously sued for illegally hacking voicemail messages was News Group Newspapers, publishers of the now-defunct News of the World newspaper, which was part News International, the British arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation empire.

The latest claims allege that Mirror group journalists listened to the mobile phone messages of Eriksson, Abbie Gibson, former nanny for the Beckham family, former English football player Garry Flitcroft and actress Shobna Gulati.

The claims allege "breach of confidence and misuse of private information" relating to the "interception and/or misuse of mobile phone voicemail messages and/or the interception of telephone account".

No particulars of the claims have been filed, according to an article published on the Financial Times website.

Hacking allegations have in the past been directed at the Mirror titles, but the publisher of papers including the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and People has always strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

The four claimants, represented by Mark Lewis, who also represented other celebrities and claimants in action taken against News International, have four months to serve claims on Trinity Mirror, the FT said.

"There might not be a documentary smoking gun, but we will show there is a smoking bullet, the consequence of the actions," Lewis told Sky News on Monday.

Lewis was not immediately available for further comment.

The filed claims allege phone hacking took place at the Daily Mirror when Piers Morgan, who edited Murdoch's News of the World from 1994 to 1995 before editing the Daily Mirror from 1995 to 2004, was editor.

Morgan, now a CNN talk-show host in the United States, has consistently denied authorising phone hacking during his time as editor, which includes rejecting the claims at a high-profile Leveson Inquiry appearance in December.

Trinity Mirror has said publicly that it did not carry out an investigation into any alleged illegal practices at its titles because there was no evidence its journalists had hacked any phones.

(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Jon Hemming)

Now Piers Morgan’s Mirror and The People accused of phone hacking

Rob Hastings Author Biography

Monday 22 October 2012

Two more tabloid newspapers were dragged into the phone-hacking scandal tonight with the former England football manager Sven Goran Errikson among four people intending to sue the Daily Mirror and the Sunday People.

The former nanny to David Beckham’s children, Abbie Gibson, has been joined by Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati and the former Blackburn Rovers captain Gary Flitcroft in seeking damages at the High Court from the People.

Mr Errikson’s action against the Daily Mirror could prove the most damaging to the owners of the two titles, Mirror Group Newspapers, given that it relates to a period when Piers Morgan was serving as editor.

Mr Morgan, who was sacked as editor after his newspaper was found to have used faked photographs of British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners, denied any involvement in phone hacking after he was implicated during the Leveson Inquiry by high-profile figures such as Jeremy Paxman.

Until now, firm allegations of phone hacking have related to only titles owned by Rupert Murdoch’s rival News Corporation: The News of the World and, to a lesser extent, The Sun.

The closure of the News of the World, which had been the biggest selling newspaper in Britain, due to the damage caused to its brand by the disclosure that it had hacked the voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler means the new development will cause intense concern to executives at Mirror Group.

Mark Lewis, the solicitor for the four claimants, told Sky News: “There might not be a documentary smoking gun, but we will show there is a smoking bullet, the consequence of the actions.”

The claims lodged at the High Court allege “breach of confidence and misuse of private information,” in relation to the “interception and/or misuse of mobile phone voicemail messages and/or the interception of telephone accounts”.

Trinity Mirror, the parent company of Mirror Group, said tonight: “We have no comment, we are unaware action has been taken at the High Court.”

#66 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 11:50 PM

Re above post #59 dated 10 September 2012.

We find the comments, made by a fellow internet contributor, in the following article relating to the terminology used to describe Private Detectives
& Private Investigators interesting to come out not long after we had also raised the same issue in our post #59.

Maybe they have been one of the over 250 thousand plus readers who have clicked onto to read this thread.

If they find this post we hope they will take the time to read our other contributions on this forum, along with that of our fellow contributors.

Isn't the world wide web a brillant tool to communicate & use to get people discussing issues that effect us all?

The Private Investigator In You : Free Blog Share
Published 23, October 2012


Becoming a private investigator is an option more and more people are turning to today and while it s a profession that in the past may have contained a little of the shady element, today, the private investigation business offers career opportunities to those seeking something a little out of the norm.

First of all, disseminating the difference between private investigator and private detective is vitally important. Each state in the US has different laws regarding the use of either moniker and examining it a little more closely, there is a subtle difference. It seems in some states, the use of the word detective is a little precious with the ability of people to get the two terms confused highly likely. Police detective and private detective are two different occupations and this is where the confusion comes in.

Did You Know?

In several states, the use of the term private investigator is preferred by the professions licensing authorities over the term private detective and in fact, in some instances, using the latter has been challenged with legal steps being put into place to prevent it s use.

So what are your first impressions of becoming a private investigator? Many people could be excused for thinking along the lines of a Philip Marlowe type character but the simple fact is, it s a career choice that can offer many benefits and rewards. Starting out requires a little due diligence but once you get over the initial steps then it s onwards to a life in the P.I. business.

Where Do You Start?

Licence requirements are compulsory in most states however, there are still a few where licensing remains a non issue. A check online for your particular states licence authorities will answer whether it s a requirement in your case. As far as training is concerned, no you don t need any formal training but in all honesty, if you are completely new to this business then it would make good sense to get some type of formal education related to the P.I. business under your belt. In turn, having some educational experience either from a live class situation or from a correspondence course will give you an advantage over an applicant with no training at all when applying for your first position.

At the other end of the scale, former law enforcement detectives are being attracted to the private investigation business because of their specialized training. In their case, then extra training would not necessarily be advantageous. But don t get the idea that they will have any great advantage over you when chasing a job.

Getting My First P.I.Job

Obviously, running ones own private investigation business will be the ultimate aim of many people getting into this area of work. Whether you are self-employed or have grand visions of setting up a major company with many employees, the bottom line is earning a good and comfortable income from what you do. Be careful not to jump into anything major from the start. Get some experience. Get hired by an agency and learn the ropes. Take it from some of the best private investigators in the business; experience counts for a lot and you could set yourself up for a big fall if you attempt to put the cart before the horse too early.

On the job training will give you a clearer insight into what is required to run a successful business.

Dean Caporella is a professional broadcaster. Read what it takes to become private investigator1 plus other related information:privateinvestigatorlinedotcom

#67 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:39 PM

Interelated topic

Security Personnel and Private Investigators Act, PI's & breaches

#68 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 06:44 PM

Click on the link to read the links in the article.

hukildaspida is not "the spider at the centre of a web of intrigue", nice change :)

Some may find themselves receiving a stint at Her Majesty's special accommodation should hukildaspida find themselves in such a situation again.


Laughable Daily Mail 'investigation' smears Leveson inquiry assessor

I have been worried about the Daily Mail's editor, Paul Dacre, for some time. After seeing today's issue of his paper, I really think it's time for the men in white coats to visit its Kensington offices as soon as possible.

The Mail devotes 11 full pages, including the whole of the front page, to a "special investigation" into one of the Leveson inquiry assessors, Sir David Bell.

It seeks to present Bell, the former Financial Times chairman, as the spider at the centre of a web of intrigue. In a classic example of conspiracist innuendo, it implies that the "elitist liberal" Bell is covertly exercising influence that somehow threatens the freedom of the press.

He is presented across many thousands of words as some kind of shadowy figure who, through his chairmanships and trusteeships of various charitable bodies, is exerting undue and unaccountable power.

Through a series of leaps of logic and phoney "revelations" of Bell's publicly acknowledged positions, the articles persistently insinuate that he has been up to no good.

He is even accused of being somehow responsible for the Newsnight report which falsely suggested that Lord McAlpine had been guilty of child abuse and, by extension, that he is also part of the reason for the BBC's current crisis, including the resignation of its director-general.

In a leading article, the Mail says its "investigation paints a picture of how a small, intertwined nexus of Left-of-centre individuals – some with links to Ofcom, the media regulator, and virtually all with links to Bell – have sought to exert huge influence on the inquiry."

Clearly, this is a sensitive time to attack a member of Lord Justice Leveson's team, as the editorial admits:

"The Mail is acutely aware of the seriousness of publishing this investigation. We know all too well that our enemies will accuse us of being aggressively defensive in a bid to pre-empt the outcome of the Leveson report, which is due any week now.

But in the light of the scandal engulfing the BBC, we passionately believe in the public's right to know about a senior Leveson assessor's role in it."

So, in order to lend some sensible perspective to this astonishing accusation about Bell's supposed complicity in the BBC's "scandal", let me try to disentangle what amounts to a farrago of distortion with added vilification.

First, Bell is a trustee of an organisation called Common Purpose, a charity that runs leadership development programmes. Its chief executive is Julia Middleton.

Second, Bell was the inaugural chair of the Media Standards Trust (MST), a campaigning body supported by charitable donations that was set up in 2006 to address concerns about a deterioration in journalistic standards. It has been acutely critical of the Press Complaints Commission. It is also connected to the Hacked Off campaign group.

Third, Bell is a trustee of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BiJ), a journalistic venture created in 2010 and funded by a philanthropic grant. It was responsible for the inaccurate Newsnight report that wrongly implicated McAlpine as a paedophile.

None of these activities are covert. Bell also happens to be chair of the council at Roehampton University, chairman of Sadler's Wells Trust and director of the global social enterprise group Imagine Nations. He is what is generally known as a do-gooder.

The Mail, however, casts him as a do-badder. It implies that he, Middleton, and several other people connected to them through lobbying, PR groups and Ofcom constitute a covert network of "incestuous relationships" that, in various ways, are linked to the Leveson inquiry. These include fellow assessors and inquiry witnesses.

Given the length of the Mail investigation, it is impossible to deconstruct every false link and illogical innuendo, but let's look at one - the implications of Bell's trusteeship of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ).

The bureau came to life as the result of a £2m grant from Elaine and David Potter. They are the bureau's trustees along with Bell and George Brock, the head of the journalism department at City University London, which provides the BIJ's accommodation.

As trustees, the four have been at arm's length from the daily operations of the bureau itself. Until the Newsnight debacle, the bureau had been noted for the quality of its journalistic output. It had previously won awards and it was recently nominated for four of this year's British Journalism Awards.

When the Newsnight mistake occurred, in circumstances that have yet to be explained, the trustees met and the bureau's managing editor, Iain Overton, resigned. The reporter concerned, Angus Stickler, has stepped aside. It was rightly said that the Newsnight segment was an example of "shoddy journalism" and it's possible that the episode may imperil the bureau's future.

But Bell's link, as a trustee, cannot be said to be anything other than tangential.

Similarly, Bell is also smeared by the Mail over the Media Standards Trust's running of the annual Orwell Prize because, in 2008, it was awarded to The Independent journalist Johann Hari. It transpired years later that he was guilty of plagiarism and he returned the prize.

All that having been said, the Mail does raise some questions about Bell that certainly do deserve attention.

For example, Bell is a trustee of the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, a grant-giving charitable trust that provided a generous grant to the MST (though it was given prior to Bell joining the trust's board).

Furthermore, Bell is chairman of the Pearson Foundation, a charity that also gave a big grant to the MST.

Though there was no attempt to conceal these grants, and Bell's links to the foundations were not secret, it does appear to me that being a trustee of a body giving grants to a body that he chairs is inappropriate.

However, this particular point aside, the rest of the accusations, allegations and insinuations about Bell, Middleton and a variety of their colleagues and acquaintances appear well wide of the mark.

For a national paper to devote the best part of a dozen pages to an investigation so obviously based on prejudice against the Leveson inquiry is surely counter-productive.

It is very likely to reinforce the view of politicians that the Mail's brand of journalism is too often born of bias. And that that bias is located in the person of its editor.

How is it defensible to talk of "freedom of the press" in the collective sense when a single man exercises so much power? The likeliest effect will be to convince MPs that statutory press regulation is a good idea.

Belated full disclosure: I teach at City (I tend to overlook it because I play no part whatsoever in the university's admin. I lecture and I mark. That's it). See also: 11 surprising revelations in the Daily Mail's anti-Leveson hatchet job in the New Statesman and in Mail declares war on Leveson and warns of left-wing 'coup' in The Week

#69 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 06:46 PM

Operation Tuleta: officers assessing 142 complaints related to alleged hacking

Deputy assistant commissioner Sue Akers said 70 storage devices being scrutinised and all victims yet to be contacted

Josh Halliday and Lisa O'Carroll, Friday 16 November 2012 18.49 GMT

Scotland Yard officers investigating newspapers as part of Operation Tuleta are assessing 142 complaints in relation to computer hacking and illegal access to banking, medical and personal records, it was revealed in a police statement to the Leveson inquiry.

Deputy assistant commissioner Sue Akers said that 70 storage devices were being scrutinised by officers as part of the investigation into privacy breaches, including the alleged hacking of computers and stolen mobile phones. The inquiry will finish in January next year.

Akers, who has now retired, said the Met had still not made contact with all the victims of alleged phone hacking at the News of the World and said it was "a very significant demand on our resources".

At one stage, 40 police officers were involved, but now this is down to 12 working full time on the task.

Scotland Yard has also revealed that Trinity Mirror has handed over documents to police as part of the Operation Elveden investigation into inappropriate payments to public officials.

But it said in a statement to the Leveson inquiry published on Friday that it is proving difficult to identify relevant material because the Daily and Sunday Mirror publisher is insisting it goes to goes to court to get orders in relation to the handing over of material.

Akers revealed in July that the investigation into alleged illegal payments by journalists to police and other public officials gone beyond News International to include Trinity Mirror and Richard Desmond's Express Newspapers.

In a letter from Trinity Mirror's solicitors on 22 October, Akers was told that the nature of the company's co-operation with police was being "actively considered at the very highest level within the company".

Unlike News International and Express Newspapers, Trinity Mirror has so far maintained that police need to obtain a production order from a court before it hands over any emails or documents.

Akers said in her statement: "It remains the case that [Mirror Group Newspaper's] preference is that all requests for the production of confidential material should be sought through a formal court order.

"This will be difficult to achieve without their co-operation identifying relevant material."

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#70 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:07 PM

This topic may interest our international followers as Private Investigators conduct is also implicated.

Shame these details of this upcoming case didn't come out earlier because some whom were over for the Royal Tour may have extended their stay in New Zealand to cover it.

Oh well, it's a good excuse to go back there sooner, rather than later & see a part of NZ they may've missed.

It would also be a learning experience for those in the UK, & elsewhere, on what regulations should be put in place in the UK, & their domiciled country, in relation to Private Investigators & those directly associated with them.

Police Executing Search Warrants on Behalf of ACC High Court Proceedings about to Begin

The Van Essen v Attorney General and Ors and Patterson v Attorney General and Ors is about to commence in the Dunedin High Court in 2 weeks time.

There are 2 cases to proceed into Court, the other party also had his house raided by Police on behalf of ACC as well and involved the same crew of ACC Investigators and Police.

The proceedings are set to commence on the 3rd of December 2012 and the court has reserved the whole week until the Friday the 7th December for the hearings to take place.

Dunedin High Court


#71 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:48 PM

Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson to face fresh charges

Scandal involving alleged criminality at Murdoch's tabloids grows as prosecutors bring the first charges against a Sun journalist

Vikram Dodd and Dominic Rushe
The Guardian, Tuesday 20 November 2012 19.16 GMT

Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks have been charged over alleged corrupt payments to officials
Former News International editors Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks are among five charged over alleged corrupt payments. Photograph: PA

The scandal involving alleged criminality at Rupert Murdoch's British tabloids grew on Tuesday as prosecutors brought the first charges against a journalist employed by the Sun and also brought fresh cases against the media mogul's most senior lieutenants.

Rebekah Brooks was charged over an alleged conspiracy to make illegal payments to a public official while working as editor of The Sun. Also charged was the paper's chief reporter John Kay. Both are alleged to have been involved in a conspiracy to pay £100,000 over seven years to a defence ministry official.

Andy Coulson was facing a fresh charge relating to his tenure as editor of the News of the World for allegedly authorising the payment of money, along with the paper's former royal reporter, Clive Goodman to get hold of confidential information about the Royal family.

The Crown Prosecution Service made the announcements of the new charges, meaning prosecutors believe they can prove to a jury the conspiracies to bribe took place.

Any convictions could have consequences for News Corporation in the United States where the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act makes it illegal for officers of a US company to bribe foreign officials.

Brooks and Coulson, both confidants of prime minister David Cameron, now face three separate sets of criminal charges, and the news of the fresh charges and the allegations against the Sun, which joins the defunct News of the World as having its journalists face trial, comes just before Lord Leveson's report on standards and regulation of the press is expected to be published next week.

The announcement came as a result of Operation Elveden, in which the Metropolitan police are investigating claims of unlawful payments by News International staff to police officers and other public officials.

Coulson, former deputy editor and then editor of the now defunct News of the World, and the former royal editor Clive Goodman, are both charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. These relate to payments allegedly made to gain the "green book" which contains confidential royal family and palace phone numbers.

In a statement, Alison Levitt, QC, principal legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions (DPP), said: "The allegations relate to the request and authorisation of payments to public officials in exchange for information, including a palace phone directory known as the "green book" containing contact details for the royal family and members of the household."

Also charged are Brooks, editor of the Sun between 14 January 2003 and 1 September 2009, the Sun's former chief reporter John Kay, and a Ministry of Defence official Bettina Jordan-Barber, who is alleged to have been paid £100,000 over a seven-year period.

The CPS said all three "conspired together, and with others, to commit misconduct in public office" between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2012.

Levitt said: "This conspiracy relates to information allegedly provided by Bettina Jordan Barber for payment which formed the basis of a series of news stories published by the Sun. It is alleged that approximately £100,000 was paid to Bettina Jordan Barber between 2004 and 2011."

As part of the investigation into illegal payments, the Met has arrested 52 people, including 21 Sun journalists. The CPS has more decisions to make about whether any more journalists from Britain's best selling newspaper should be charged or not.

Convictions in the UK over illegal payments could affect the Murdoch media empire in the US, said Tom Fox, a Houston-based lawyer and expert in the US's foreign corrupt practices act: "This may be the game changer some had been expecting. As a US firm News Corp is subject to the FCPA, if its executives are proven to have been directly involved in acts of bribery then I would expect there to a settlement with the FCPA.

"The US authorities are likely to step back and let the UK authorities get on with their prosecutions."

The charges are the third set faced by Brooks and Coulson.

David Cameron's former director of communications, was first charged in Scotland over allegations of lying on oath when he gave evidence in court about phone hacking at the News of the World.

He was then charged over phone hacking, which he denies.

Coulson said: "I am extremely disappointed by this latest CPS decision. I deny the allegations made against me and will fight the charges in court."

The criminal cases involving his friends poses potential problems for the prime minister.

During a visit to Northern Ireland, Mr Cameron said he had expressed "regret" on many occasions regarding the issue.

"I have also said very clearly that we should allow the police and the prosecuting authorities to follow the evidence wherever it may lead and I think that is very, very important," he said.

"But I think, particularly as we get to a situation with pending court cases, I think we should probably leave it at that."

Ms Brooks was first charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by allegedly concealing evidence from the police investigating her activities as a News International top executive. Also charged is her husband, Charlie, and both deny the allegations.

Ms Brook's personal assistant and Mark Hanna, head of security at NI, were among four others also charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The former NI boss was then charged in July over phone hacking, which she denies.Brooks and Coulson were among eight people charged with 19 counts of conspiracy over the phone-hacking scandal involving the News of the World.

The other News of the World staff facing phone-hacking-related charges are Stuart Kuttner, former managing editor, Ian Edmondson, former assistant editor (news), Greg Miskiw, a former news editor, Neville Thurlbeck, former chief reporter, James Weatherup, former assistant news editor, and a the private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire. Kuttner faces three charges, while Miskiw faces 10 charges. Edmondson faces 12 charges, Thurlbeck eight, and Weatherup eight.

Brooks, Coulson and Kay will appear at at Westminster Magistrates' Court on November 29 over the allegations of illegal payments.

Operation Elveden is also looking at payments at the Mirror and Express newspapers.

The Met has said the investigations triggered by the phone-hacking scandal may last another three years and cost £40m.

The force has 185 officers and civilian staff working on all the related investigations – 96 on Operation Weeting, looking at phone hacking, 70 on Elveden and 19 on Tuleta, which covers computer hacking.

News Corp exposed to growing legal threat following charges for tabloid duo

Charges for Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson raise prospect that News Corp could be prosecuted under US anti-bribery laws

Ed Pilkington and Dominic Rushe in New York, Tuesday 20 November 2012 21.49 GMT

Rupert Murdoch
The charges complicate the rehabilitation of Rupert Murdoch's son James as a possible successor to lead News Corp. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The new round of criminal charges brought in the UK against former senior News International editors has once raised again the prospect that Rupert Murdoch's New York-based parent company may be prosecuted under US anti-bribery laws, and complicates the rehabilitation of his son James as a possible successor to lead the global media empire.

The charges brought against Rebekah Brooks, who ran Murdoch's newspaper holdings in Britain, Andy Coulson, former editor of the now defunct News of the World, and two other former News International employees exposes the parent News Corporation to possible action under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The FCPA exists to prosecute US-domiciled companies for acts of bribery and corruption that they might commit abroad.

An official of the British ministry of defence, Bettina Jordan Barber, also faces trial for allegedly receiving £100,000 from Murdoch's tabloid newspapers for information that led to a series of published stories. The allegation that money passed hands clearly falls within the legal remit of the FCPA.

Mike Koehler, professor of law at Southern Illinois school of law and author of the blog, said the charges "would be hard for the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission to ignore. We have been hearing allegations for a year and a half now, now we clearly have charges against high ranking officials at a foreign subsidiary," he said.

The new charges, and the allegation of bribery of a military official, come as a setback for News Corporation at a very sensitive time for the company. The media giant is preparing to split itself in two, separating the TV and broadcasting arm from the scandal-hit newspaper and publishing division.

The developments also bring to a crashing halt the recent perception in America that News Corporation had begun to recover its confidence after months on the defensive as a result of the phone-hacking scandal. Only on Monday, the New York Times ran an article headlined Clouds Lifting Over Murdoch, He's Out to Buy Again.

News Corp has largely shrugged off the scandal in the US, where its shares have risen over 34% in the last year. At News Corp's recent annual shareholder meeting in October, Murdoch comfortably saw off attempts to appoint an independent chairman to the company. James Murdoch has recently been tipped to head Fox Networks, the News Corp television division that includes its flagship Fox channel, home to The Simpsons and American Idol.

But the new charges will increase pressure on the company. Koehler said US authorities would be looking to see how high up the chain of command the bribery scandal reached. "The question will be what did James know and when did he know it," he said. Ultimately he predicted News Corp would reach a settlement with the Justice Department rather than go to trial, but he said that News Corp faced some uncomfortable investigations in the coming months.

The FCPA has two main components, one that relates to the bribing of foreign officials and another that relates to books and record keeping. It is often the latter that causes companies the biggest headaches. Characterising a bribe as "miscellaneous expense" is a serious offence.

"This latest news is an escalation of the FCPA case," said Koehler. But he said he expected the case could still take some years to be resolved.

The latest legal difficulties to hit News Corporation could also potentially have ramifications on its 27 TV licences within the Fox network – the real financial heart of the operation. Three of the licences are up for renewal, and in August the ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Crew) filed a petition with the US broadcasting regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, that called for them to be denied on the grounds that the company did not have the requisite character to run a public service.

Melanie Sloan, Crew's director, said the charges of the four former News International employees played into its petition. "News Corp argues that the conduct in Britain shouldn't matter here in the US, but the Atlantic ocean doesn't have cleansing properties – if Murdoch is seen to be unfit to run a global company in the UK, then he's unfit in this country, too."

In May, the UK Commons culture committee censured Murdoch in their report into the phone hacking scandal, saying that he was "not a fit person" to exercise stewardship of a major international company.

So far there have been no confirmed cases of News Corporation employees engaging in illegal activities within the US. This week the Daily Beast alleged that the Murdoch tabloids the Sun and the New York Post may have made payments to a US official on American soil in order to obtain a photo of a captive Saddam Hussein, the deposed Iraqi leader, in his underwear. News Corporation has denied the claims.

Mark Lewis, the UK-based lawyer who has represented many of the victims of News of the World hacking, has been investigating possible cases of data breaches within the US but has yet to issue legal proceedings.

#72 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:50 PM


Timeline of UK phone hacking scandal

By Tim Hume and Peter Wilkinson, CNN
November 19, 2012 -- Updated 1742 GMT (0142 HKT)

London (CNN) -- Accusations that journalists at Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers hacked into the phones of politicians, celebrities and unwitting people caught up in the news -- including child murder victims -- have severely bruised his media empire.

The scandal forced the closure of Britain's top-selling paper, the News of the World, resulted in the withdrawal of his bid for the satellite broadcaster BSkyB, and led to criminal charges being laid against former senior News International figures, including his trusted UK chief executive Rebekah Brooks. It also led to a wide-ranging inquiry into press standards by Lord Leveson, who is now preparing to publish his recommendations on industry regulation.

The following is a timeline of the scandal:

November 2005

-- News of the World prints a story about Britain's Prince William injuring his knee, prompting royal officials to complain to police about probable voicemail hacking.
Inside the UK phone hacking scandal
Brooks quizzed over political ties
Rupert Murdoch: 'I was not aware'

January 2007

-- News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire are convicted of conspiracy to hack into phone voicemails of royals and are jailed. Andy Coulson, the paper's editor, insists he is unaware of hacking but still resigns.

July 2007

-- Goodman and Mulcaire sue the tabloid for wrongful dismissal. Goodman receives £80,000 (currently $129,190), and Mulcaire receives an undisclosed amount.

-- Also in July, Coulson is hired as director of communications for Conservative party leader David Cameron, who becomes UK prime minister in May 2010.

June 2008

-- News Group Newspapers pays a £700,000 (nearly $1.13 million) settlement to soccer executive Gordon Taylor, whose phone was hacked by Mulcaire.

November 2009

-- Britain's Press Complaints Commission releases a report concluding that there is no evidence of continued phone hacking.

March 2010

-- A celebrity public relations agent agrees to drop his lawsuit against News of the World for a payment of more than £1 million ($1.6 million).

September 2010

-- Former News of the World journalist Sean Hoare alleges that phone hacking was a common practice at the paper and encouraged by Coulson.

January 21, 2011

-- Coulson resigns as Cameron's spokesman because of coverage of the phone-hacking scandal.

January 26, 2011

-- London's Metropolitan Police launches a new investigation into voicemail hacking allegations at News of the World.

April 5, 2011

-- News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and former editor Ian Edmondson are arrested on suspicion of intercepting voicemail messages.

April 10, 2011

-- News of the World officially apologizes for hacking into voicemails from 2004 to 2006 and sets up a compensation system for unnamed victims.

April 14, 2011

-- Senior News of the World journalist James Weatherup is arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept communications.

July 4, 2011

-- It is reported that News of the World journalists possibly hacked into then-missing teenager Milly Dowler's voicemail and deleted messages to free space, causing her parents to believe she was still alive.

July 6, 2011

-- Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., the parent company of News of the World owner News International, promises full cooperation with the investigation and calls the accusations against News of the World "deplorable and unacceptable."

July 7, 2011

-- News International announces that the July 10 edition of News of the World will be the paper's last.

July 8, 2011

-- Coulson is arrested. Goodman, the paper's former royal correspondent who served a four-month jail term in 2007, also is arrested on corruption allegations.

July 10, 2011

-- The 168-year-old News of the World publishes its final edition with the headline "Thank you and goodbye."

July 13, 2011

-- News Corp. withdraws its bid to take over British satellite broadcaster BSkyB, as Prime Minister Cameron announces a wide-ranging public inquiry into the British media.

July 14, 2011

-- The FBI launches an investigation into allegations that News Corp. employees or associates hacked into the phones of 9/11 victims, a federal source says.

July 15, 2011

-- Brooks resigns as chief executive of News International, as Les Hinton resigns as head of the Dow Jones division of the News Group Corp. and publisher of The Wall Street Journal. He was Brooks' predecessor at News International.

July 16, 2011

-- Rupert Murdoch apologizes to the British public with full-page advertisements in seven national newspapers.

July 17, 2011

-- Brooks is arrested on charges of suspicion of corruption and conspiring to intercept communications. She is released on bail after questioning.

-- Metropolitan Police Commissioner Paul Stephenson -- who leads London's police and is the UK's highest-ranking policeman -- resigns. It comes after revelations that former News of the World executive editor Neil Wallis later became a communications consultant for police.

July 18, 2011

-- Assistant police Commissioner John Yates, who ruled two years ago that there was no reason to pursue an investigation into phone hacking by journalists, resigns.

-- Home Secretary Theresa May announces that London's police department will be investigated for corruption.

July 19, 2011

-- Murdoch, his son James and Brooks testify before Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Colin Myler and Tom Crone, former top executives of News of the World, subsequently accuse James Murdoch of giving "mistaken" evidence.

October 21, 2011

-- News International agrees to pay £2 million (about U.S. $3.2 million) to the family of Milly Dowler. Also, Murdoch will pay £1 million (about U.S. $1.6 million) to charities chosen by the Dowler family.

October 25, 2011

-- In a News Corp. shareholders' vote, Rupert Murdoch's sons, James and Lachlan, lose their board of director seats. Rupert Murdoch retains his seat, though 14% of the vote was against him.

November 14, 2011

-- The Leveson Inquiry into journalistic ethics opens in London. It is revealed that more than two dozen News International employees used the services of convicted phone hacker Mulcaire.

December 14, 2011

-- Former News of the World lawyer Crone testifies before parliament that James Murdoch was made aware in June 2008 of the scope of the phone-hacking situation.

December 20, 2011

-- CNN host Piers Morgan, former editor of both the News of the World and Daily Mirror, testifies regarding his knowledge of the phone-hacking scandal involving Paul McCartney and Heather Mills.

January 28, 2012

-- Four arrests, including that of one police officer, are made in connection with investigations of the phone-hacking scandal. No names are released. The four are questioned on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office and conspiracy, all stemming from allegations of inappropriate payments made to police.

February 8, 2012

-- News of the World's publisher pays out tens of thousands of pounds to settle lawsuits. Actor Steve Coogan gets £40,000 ($63,000) and legal costs; politician Simon Hughes gets £45,000 ($71,000) plus costs; sports agent Sky Andrew gets £75,000 ($119,000) plus costs. Former lawmaker George Galloway gets £25,000 ($40,000) plus costs, and Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former communications director, will be paid costs and damages.

February 12, 2012

-- Police arrest eight people, including five journalists on the Sun newspaper, as part of an investigation into allegations of illegal payments to police and officials.

February 29, 2012

-- James Murdoch gives up his title of executive chairman of News Corp.'s UK publishing unit. He will keep his corporate title as deputy chief operating officer. The company says he will now focus on its pay television businesses and international operations.

March 13, 2012

-- UK police arrest six people, including Brooks. All six are arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1977.

April 3, 2012

James Murdoch steps down as chairman of UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB, following his earlier resignation as chairman of News International.

April 5, 2012

-- John Ryley, the head of Sky News, admits to authorizing journalists to hack into emails of private citizens. Sky News is owned by News Corp.

April 24, 2012

-- James Murdoch, in testimony before the Leveson Inquiry, says that he knew little about the scale of phone hacking by people working for the News of the World, and that he had no reason to look into illegal eavesdropping by his employees when he took over the company's British newspaper subsidiary in December 2007.

April 26, 2012

-- Rupert Murdoch admitted at the Leveson inquiry that there had been a "cover-up" of phone hacking at his flagship British tabloid newspaper and apologized for not paying more attention to the scandal.

May 1, 2012

Rupert Murdoch is declared "not a fit person" to run a major international company by MPs from the parliamentary culture, media and sport committee in the group's report into the affair.

May 15, 2012

Brooks and her husband, Charlie Brooks, are charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, along with four others involved in the case. The couple deny the charges, the first from the multiple investigations linked to alleged phone hacking to be announced.

July 24, 2012

The UK's Crown Prosecution Service says that eight people will face a total of 19 charges relating to phone hacking: Former News of the World staff Brooks, Coulson, Greg Miskiw, Stuart Kuttner, Thurlbeck, Ian Edmondson and Weatherup are accused of conspiring to intercept communications, while private investigator Mulcaire faces other charges. The accused deny the charges.

November 4, 2012

Personal text messages revealing a cozy relationship between Brooks and Prime Minister David Cameron are published, causing embarrassment for the British leader.

#73 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:12 PM

Leveson inquiry: Cameron keeps open mind before findings are released

No 10 denies reports that PM seeks mixture of industry and state controls, saying he will wait until he has read full report

Juliette Jowit, Sunday 25 November 2012 10.46 GMT
Jump to comments

Just days before Lord Justice Leveson's report is published, Downing Street has insisted David Cameron is "open minded" about press regulation, playing down suggestions in Sunday newspapers that the prime minister favours a compromise that would allow a tougher model of self-regulation but would hold the threat of statutory regulation in reserve if it did not work.

The foreign secretary, William Hague, has said any future system should "err on the side of freedom".

Speaking on BBC1's Andrew Marr programme, Hague insisted that he and other senior ministers wanted to read Leveson's findings before commenting on them. He then added: "We will have to do that, but in my case, from that philosophical viewpoint, that you have to err on the side of freedom."

Hague's statement came as victims of phone hacking and press intrusion stepped up their campaign ahead of the report's release on Thursday for the government to act with laws to enforce press regulation. Newspapers are spending the last days warning that statutory regulation would limit press freedom.

Senior Tories have also publicly defended self-regulation. Last week the education secretary, Michael Gove, and London mayor, Boris Johnson, both former journalists, made clear their views with jokes about Leveson at the Spectator magazine annual political awards.

On Sunday, Johnson told Sky News there was "no doubt about it, the present system has failed", but repeated his opposition to control by politicians.

The Mail on Sunday claimed that the prime minister would back a new, tougher model of self-regulation to replace the Press Complaints Commission – but with the threat that a statutory system could be brought in later if matters did not improve.

However, No 10 played down the story and said the PM had not yet read the full report, which he and other senior politicians will do on Wednesday, a day before its release.

"The prime minister is open-minded about Lord Justice Leveson's report and will read it in full before he makes any decision about what to do," a spokesman said.

Lord Hunt, the current chairman of the PCC, also made the case on Sunday for his plan for a new system, but insisted it could be backed by contracts and did not need new legislation. "Some time ago [the PCC] realised it needed to be replaced by a tough independent regulator … a tough independent regulator with teeth," Hunt told Sky News.

However, there was "enough law to deal with the outrageous behaviour we have seen uncovered in Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry", he said.

Members of the campaign group Hacked Off, including victims of press intrusion, want an independent regulator – possibly backed up by law to ensure newspapers comply.

The Hacked Off director Prof Brian Cathcart said its members wanted "something effective that will make a difference" – probably backed by law to give it the necessary clout – but added that if the chairman found a way of doing that without law, they would be happy as long as it was effective.

But Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, called for "proportionality", saying he hoped Leveson had not only taken "headline evidence into account".

Leveson Inquiry


Leveson's report: To introduce press law, or not?

Ahead of the appeal court judge's findings on Thursday, two eminent journalists turned academics argue the central controversy: are newspaper standards best protected by legislation to underpin a new regulator? Tim Luckhurst, ex-editor of 'The Scotsman', is opposed, while Brian Cathcart, former deputy editor of The Independent on Sunday and Hacked-Off co-founder, is a staunch supporter
Tim Luckhurst , Brian Cathcart

Sunday 25 November 2012

Dear Brian

The history of journalism is not, as supporters of press regulation underpinned by statute pretend, a long march towards state involvement. Campaigners for a free press have fought for centuries against state interference. The phone-hacking scandal has exposed the depths some journalists plumbed in pursuit of sellable stories. But it has done nothing to undermine this truth: regulation underpinned by statute is anathema to liberal democracy. It would do nothing to protect the victims of phone hacking, but it would impose expensive new burdens on national, regional and local newspapers that have committed none of the criminal offences to which we both object. I worry that you want to offer the British people a version of journalism defined with too little reference to what the public is interested in.

Hacked Off feels like a sincere but clumsy attempt to impose on the majority the tastes of a narrow cultural and intellectual elite. A sanctimonious minority that trusts the state more than it respects individual liberty has sought the same outcome since 1949, and no democratically elected government has backed them.

Statutory underpinning would put this country at the top of a slippery slope. Press freedom is the democratic inheritance of all – not just victims of phone hacking – who value journalism's ability to hold power to account. Democracy needs an unlovable press; raucous, impertinent and entertaining enough to secure the loyalty of readers. That sort of press cannot thrive in a system of regulation underpinned by statute.

Tim Luckhurst, Professor of Journalism at Kent University

Dear Tim

I wish it were true that our press stood at the top of a slope, slippery or otherwise. In fact a major part of it is in a hole, and digging. The hacking of phones of victims of crime, police officers, cabinet ministers and people in witness protection, and the industrial-scale mining of personal data, the relentless intrusion, the wilful inaccuracy and the vicious libelling of innocent people – these are bad enough. But with these goes an abuse of power that takes the breath away. Most national newspapers, for example, joined in a cynical conspiracy to conceal the unfolding scandal of phone hacking from their readers, preferring to cover up the activities of the News of the World than to expose grave wrongdoing by a powerful corporation.

Editors long ago agreed a code of practice, including requirements for such things as fairness, accuracy and respect for grief. The novelty today is that they might be required to abide by it. The code is part of a 60-year history of self-regulation that would shame any industry, for while editors and proprietors boasted of how effective self-regulation was, they were free to ignore the code at will. How they can be removed from the position of judge and jury in their own courtroom is a matter for Leveson, but any suggestion that, if he recommends a regulator underpinned by statute, that will inevitably put the press under the control of politicians is nonsense. Broadcast journalism is regulated under statute in a manner more rigorous than anybody ever advocated at the Leveson inquiry. Would Jeremy Paxman or John Humphrys accept that they are under the thumb of the politicians? On the contrary, I think they are precisely what you say free journalists must be: unlovable, raucous, impertinent and entertaining.

Brian Cathcart, Professor of Journalism at Kingston University, London

Dear Brian

Your case depends on attributing to all British newspapers responsibility for the conduct of the worst. The offences were committed by a few mass-circulation tabloid newspapers, one of which has already closed. None of the sins you list requires regulation to prevent it. All the offences in question are prohibited by existing law. The fact that the law was not enforced is a matter of deep regret. As for your desire to make newspapers balanced, I do not share it. A partisan, campaigning newspaper press is central to our democracy. I no more want The Guardian to place equal faith in Conservative opinions than I want the Daily Mail to embrace Trotskyism.

To quote Mark Thompson, until very recently the BBC's director general: "Plurality of regulation is itself an important safeguard of media freedom. It is not obvious to me that newspapers that people can choose to buy or ignore … should be held to the same level of continuous supervision and accountability as broadcasters who reach out into every household in the land." It is emphatically plain to me that they should not. Statutory underpinning is unconstitutional. No sincere liberal should support it.

In the words of Igor Judge, Lord Chief Justice: "It is the birthright of the citizen that the press be independent … And that is why, if you accept it as I do, the independence of the press is not only a constitutional necessity, it is a constitutional principle."


Dear Tim

Even if it were true (though unlikely) that hacking was limited to the News of the World, other abuses are not. Take libel. Ten newspapers libelled Robert Murat, eight libelled Christopher Jefferies and most national newspapers libelled the McCanns. Roy Greenslade has calculated that in one 34-month period Express Group papers settled or lost 23 libel cases. How about data mining? Fourteen papers employed the private investigator Steve Whittamore, who illegally accessed private information about thousands of people.

Most journalists do the job well and have not been part of the culture of unaccountable power. The same goes for banks, yet after 2008, the country – encouraged by a very vocal press – rightly demanded that heads roll, inquiries were held and lessons learned. But when things go wrong in newspapers there are often no consequences at all. No one wants the press regulated by the state, but there is abundant evidence that most people are fed up with a press regulated by Rupert Murdoch, Paul Dacre et al.


Dear Brian

Your allegations against other titles simply prove my point: these are all criminal offences or actionable under civil law. As for the notion that "almost all national newspapers conspired to cover up the hacking scandal", it is foolish. There may have been an error of judgement, but there was no conspiracy.

Your splenetic language reveals your true purpose. You and your colleagues believe you know best. You dislike profitable, popular newspapers such as the Daily Mail because you disagree with them and they with you. I share your love of sophisticated liberal journalism, but I will never support the use of statute to impose it upon others who prefer their journalism entertaining, bold and occasionally scandalous.

As you acknowledge, well-intentioned but profoundly misguided campaigners of your ilk have sought to purge and purify popular journalism for decades. Phone hacking is just your latest pretext for a campaign that has waxed and waned since Clement Attlee was prime minister. Today, you have celebrities as front-men and high-profile victims to give your campaign a sympathetic face. Nothing else has changed.


Dear Tim

You say it was an "error of judgement" that most papers failed to report the hacking scandal accurately. Between 2006 and 2010 The Guardian carried 237 articles about hacking, many of them relating to newsworthy people such as royalty, actors, footballers and top politicians. In the same period the two Mail papers carried just 38 articles and Mirror papers only 11. Not only did they fail to report the public developments properly, but they also failed to mount a single investigation into the scandal. That's quite an error.

I think we have all paid the price for the Press Complaints Commission's failure over two decades. Instead of raising standards as it claimed to do, it turned a blind eye when things went wrong, inevitably encouraging further failure. But then it was designed in a way that was bound to fail the public, because the real objective was to ensure editors and proprietors were not accountable for what they did.

This brings us back to serial libels. Your suggestion that the civil law is adequate will probably surprise the next person to suffer the kind of monstering dished out to the McCanns, Christopher Jefferies, Robert Murat and others. Papers may pay damages in such cases but they don't learn lessons.

If the law or the PCC had been adequate, the press would not be in this mess. And if any other industry was in such a mess, the papers would be howling for real change and mocking the idea that industry leaders might get another round in the last-chance saloon.


Dear Brian

Most newspapers ignored the hacking story not because they were frantic to hide evidence, but because they thought it would bore their readers comatose. They were right. Even the poor old Guardian's circulation fell during the campaign it fought so bravely. Your conspiracy is a fantasy generated by zeal for a tightly regulated press. You would have newspapers compelled to pursue stories that would reduce their appeal to their readers. National newspapers serve distinct ideological communities, whereas broadcasters must produce news to appeal to a broader section of the population. The relationship between broadcasters and newspapers is at the heart of why the type of press regulation you seek is so dangerous.

It works like this: newspapers break important stories that broadcast regulation would not allow radio or television journalists to uncover. Broadcasters then report and analyse those stories for wider audiences. The public benefits. Examples are legion: the MPs' expenses scandal, the cod fax that helped The Guardian prove Jonathan Aitken had lied in court.

A statutory backstop to press regulation would fatally undermine that valuable relationship.


Dear Tim

You say I want a tightly regulated press. I don't. Personally, I would settle for a press in which the editors' code of practice – that is to say, the code written and approved by current editors – was consistently and effectively enforced. (The code could in my view be greatly improved in the interests of journalism, but, as I say, I could settle for it.) Alas, editors and proprietors have shown over 20 years that they don't want it enforced, and they have shown in their shabby proposals for a PCC Mark 2 that they remain determined to prevent it being enforced in future.

Nor do I have a "zeal" for independent regulation. I just think it is necessary to protect innocent people from abuses and to uphold standards in journalism, as the PCC claimed to do but didn't. Ideally press regulation wouldn't be necessary, but then ideally no regulation would ever be necessary. And why should journalists demand high standards from everybody else while insisting on being answerable to no one but themselves?


Dear Brian

Your notion that there is a halfway house between state regulation and independent regulation underpinned by statute is intellectual obfuscation. Hacked Off's proposed "independent regulator", which you support, would be underpinned by statute, ie, it is not independent of politicians. Your opinions are an astonishing inversion of liberalism, and your message ends with another absurdity: journalists answerable to no one but themselves? No, Brian, journalists and their editors are accountable to their readers and to the sanction of public opinion. These virtuous forces closed newspapers long before the internet made many of them unprofitable and returned British newspapers to honesty after their appalling failures during the era of appeasement.

Every time I'm told that statutory involvement in press regulation would be benign I remind myself that wartime politicians used statutory powers to ban newspapers that criticised them and to try to ban others. You imagine that statutory underpinning is preferable to an occasionally vicious and irresponsible press, but it would be taking a steam hammer to crack a nut. Better an untamed press, free from any risk of prior restraint, than the remotest risk of political involvement in freedom of expression. So, "Yes" to the editor's code and an emphatic "No" to anything more stringent.


Dear Tim

Self-regulation will never deliver consistent application of any code. We need a new regulator with clout that is properly independent of both the industry and the politicians.


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:13 PM


Sunday 25 November 2012
Editorial: No to press legislation
We should remember this: The British press is the best in the world

Lord Justice Leveson will publish his report into the culture and ethics of the British press on Thursday. As you can see from the debate we publish today between two estimable journalists turned academics, it is a subject which is much exercising those of us in the business.

David Cameron, caught on the back foot over his close relationship to the Murdoch empire, his friendship with Rebekah Brooks and the employment of Andy Coulson, instituted the inquiry in July last year following the revelation that the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked. This was the moment the scandal at News International crossed over into the public consciousness; it moved away from complaining celebrities to defenceless people unlucky enough to be caught in the news machine. Under pressure from Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, Mr Cameron had little option.

As well as the conduct of the press, Lord Justice Leveson was to look at the relationships between politicians and proprietors, and between police and press, both arguably more important than the failures of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC). Both, though, have been regrettably downgraded, and the battleground is this: will the judge recommend statutory underpinning of press regulation? And, if – as expected – he does, how should Mr Cameron respond?

No one denies that sections of our press were mired in some awful practices as cheap shortcuts to sensational stories. Indiscriminate phone hacking to fish for tittle-tattle is rightly against the law, and those who break it should pay a heavy price.

That, though, is the point. For phone and computer hacking, invasion of privacy and prejudicing court proceedings, tough laws exist to protect the public. Those laws simply have not been rigorously applied, and that, of course, is less a matter for a press regulator – although the PCC was undoubtedly complacent – than for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. In the phone-hacking scandal, the police failed almost as badly as parts of the press. A second point worth making is that bad journalism was brought to account by good journalism.

In this country, the state has not sought to control publishing since the repeal of the Licensing Act in 1695. There is a strong constitutional principle here, and the case for overturning it has to be overwhelming. It is not.

No one defends the PCC, the toothless self-regulator of the press for the past two decades. The Black-Hunt proposals make for a better system. These rid the model of serving editors, and give the new regulator powers to investigate without prior complaint and to impose fines on guilty parties of up to £1m. All groups have indicated they will sign up to it.

So what does Mr Cameron do if some form of statutory underpinning is recommended?

A pragmatic solution would be to say he will legislate, but then hold it in reserve, warning the press it has, say, three years to prove the Hunt-Black proposals work. Or else.

A handful of journalists forgot that we protect and serve the British public, and brought shame on us. But there are perhaps 40,000 journalists working in this country, and we should all remember this: for the most part, the British press, national and local, is the most vibrant, innovative, and tenacious in the world, and we know how to hold those in authority properly to account. We should be wary of anything that impairs that.
React Now

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:15 PM

Foreign press warn over dangers of new UK media laws prior to Leveson report

Statutory controls would aid dictators abroad and send an 'appalling message', William Hague to be told by world body

Jamie Doward and Daniel Boffey
The Observer, Saturday 24 November 2012 21.00 GMT

William Hague: a 'chill will go through the world’s media' if the Leveson report recommends legislation. Photograph: Richard Sellers/Allstar Picture Library

Statutory controls on the British press would send an "appalling message" abroad and encourage some of the most illiberal regimes in the world, the foreign secretary, William Hague, will be warned ahead of a landmark report that could usher in a new era of newspaper regulation.

However, the claim was rejected by campaigners for greater regulation, who say such a move is supported by the majority of the public.

The World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC), which campaigns against limitations on the press, has written to Hague, Justine Greening, the international development secretary, and Richard Ottaway MP, chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, in advance of the publication of Lord Justice Leveson's report on Thursday.

In the letter, Ronald Koven, the European representative of the WPFC, warns that a "chill will go through the world's media – matched by a warm glow in the ministries of some of the most illiberal regimes," if the Leveson report recommends legislation. He says editors around the world have contributed to a WPFC report making the case against state regulation.

Fred M'membe, editor of the Zambia Post, who this year was imprisoned for an unfounded allegation of criminal defamation, told the report's author, former regional newspaper editor Ian Beales, that statutory controls in Britain would "spread through Africa like a firestorm". Raymond Louw, a former South African editor and campaigner for press freedom, said: "Dictatorial governments would leap at anything repressive enacted in Britain as justifying their conduct."

Koven warns Hague: "One shudders to think how any recommendations for a statutory or quasi-statutory regulatory regime which the Leveson inquiry might recommend could be exploited in any number of countries with far weaker press freedom records, including in the Commonwealth."

The letter is backed by the Free Speech Network, a body representing media interests including the Newspaper Publishers Association, of which Guardian News & Media, owner of the Observer, is a member.

However, supporters of statutory control, notably the campaign group Hacked Off, set up following the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World that led to the Leveson inquiry, say regulation is long overdue.

"The editors from overseas can be reassured that the problems in this country are the opposite of what they experience," said Evan Harris, associate director of Hacked Off. "We have seen industrial-scale intrusion and surveillance of ordinary members of the public, widespread corruption of the police and political system, and a conspiracy to cover it up – not by individual democratic voices like these African editors, but instead by large media corporations wielding anti-democratic power."

Harris said those calling for an end to self-regulation were not seeking to muzzle the press. "We are seeking an independent system of regulation of a code of conduct, similar to the existing industry one, which is backed by law to make it independent and to prevent large publishers walking out of the system," he said. "The vast majority of the British people, polls show, support that independent prescription."

The report is described as "voluminous", suggesting the extent of its findings and recommendations will take days to digest. Many believe it will propose a "statutory underpinning" of newspapers which would see the creation of a new regulatory body formally recognised in law. It is thought this would include a legal requirement for newspapers to sign up to the body, similar to the licensing system that governs broadcasters.

But there is confidence among critics of press laws within the government, including cabinet ministers, that he will seek to avoid legislation, should it be proposed. The prime minister is said to have privately signalled some sympathy with a model of regulation proposed by Lord Hunt, the current head of the Press Complaints Commission, in which newspaper editors would be contractually obliged to work within certain standards.

Such a new regulator would have the power to fine newspapers up to £1m for serious editorial breaches, and has been billed by its champions as a significant break from self-regulation of the past.

Angie Bray, the Tory MP for Ealing Central and Acton, who is an opponent of the state becoming involved in press regulation, said: "A new independent regime may be the solution to the problem that we cannot be seen to be bringing in no changes at all, but keeps people like me happy who are against the state wading in with regulation."

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:17 PM

Women's groups demand new watchdog to confront sexism in the media

Campaigners warn David Cameron that newspapers are sexualising violent crimes against women

Mark Townsend
The Observer, Sunday 25 November 2012
Jump to comments

A coalition of women's groups has called for the issue of sexism in the media to be taken on by a new regulatory body in the runup to publication of Lord Justice Leveson's report on the press this Thursday.

Four women's organisations monitored the content of 11 national newspapers over a randomly chosen fortnight in early September, finding more than 1,300 articles and images that raised concerns over how women and violence against them are portrayed in the British press. They say their findings should inform proposals for a new era of newspaper regulation.

The analysis, published on Sunday – International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – warns that newspaper coverage is glamorising and, on occasion, eroticising violence against women and girls, and helps normalise rape while undermining the criminal justice system by creating jurors who hold prejudices against female victims.

The report said: "We found numerous instances of violence against women coming across as sexual and titillating.

"We call this 'rape culture' because this reporting of violence against women and girls not only trivialises the abuse, but it further contributes to an increasingly conducive context for rape and sexual abuse to take place with impunity. Articles which appear to present violation, fear and lack of consent as appealing were not uncommon."

The findings follow comments by Alison Saunders, chief prosecutor for London, who warned that jurors' preconceived ideas about rape are hampering attempts to improve justice for survivors of sexual violence. Holly Dustin of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, which compiled the analysis along with campaign groups Eaves, Equality Now and Object, said: "Editors must look at their responsibility for this. It is not in the public interest for this situation to be allowed to continue."

The coalition will on Sunday send a letter to David Cameron demanding that new press regulation contain clear guidance about women's equality and sexually explicit material. "If our press culture remains one in which women are either invisible or semi-naked, stereotyped or vilified, our society and our democracy suffers," the letter says.

Jacqui Hunt of Equality Now said: "The Leveson inquiry was set up to examine the ethics and conduct of the British press and whether these ever run against the public interest. It clearly runs contrary to the public interest to allow news reporting which regularly, directly or indirectly, has a negative, cumulative impact on women's rights."

Of particular concern was the frequency of articles that reported violent crimes inaccurately with a tendency to minimise the perpetrator's actions while blaming the victim.

Examples include a piece in the Sun headlined "Killer Stoke ace gets life" that focused on the loss of a footballer's potential career rather than his violent murder of his 15-year-old girlfriend.

The coalition said some tabloids contributed to the sexualisation of girls while claiming to condemn it, stating that the sexual abuse of children was occasionally presented in a titillating way. Among the examples was an article by a tabloid newspaper which read: "Cavorting provocatively in a tiny pink swimsuit … little Ocean Orrey struts her stuff in a British beauty pageant – aged just four."

In many newspapers, said the coalition, women were persistently portrayed as sex objects, sometimes alongside explicit sex industry adverts. One instance highlighted was found in the Daily Sport, a report on a student sex survey with the headline "They bang 'em in Bangor … but there's no sex in Essex" and accompanied by an image of a near-naked young woman in a bar.

Women in public life were regularly mocked or rendered invisible in favour of a "repeated celebration of young 'attractive' women" but who themselves were infantilised with a focus on their looks not their achievements.

Reporting on the cabinet reshuffle – which occurred during the randomly chosen period of analysis between 3 and 18 September – was characterised by editorials described as patronising, insulting and humiliating to women, among them senior politicians Baroness Warsi and Maria Miller, including reference to their choice of dress.

None of the stories documenting violence against women referred to the scale of abuse against women. Yet Home Office data reveals one million women a year experience at least one incident of domestic violence, nearly 20,000 a week, while 3.7m women in England and Wales have been sexually assaulted at some point since the age of 16.

Anna van Heeswijk of Object said that the Sun's Page 3 tradition encapsulated the issue. She said: "But it is the tip of the iceberg. Page 3 sexism accompanies a daily diet of upskirt photography, double-page spreads of naked women with no news value, and explicit sex industry advertisements in newspapers like the Sport."

Article history

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Leveson inquiry



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Lord Justice Leveson's findings are due out on Thursday.

Leveson inquiry: Cameron keeps open mind before findings are released

No 10 denies reports that PM seeks mixture of industry and state controls, saying he will wait until he has read full report

The Leveson report could leave David Cameron in a corner

Foreign press warn over Leveson

Christopher Jefferies: 'I had no letter of apology'

Will Hutton: it is time to regulate the press

Editorial: do we need law to rein in the press?

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 08:13 PM

The Leveson Inquiry

This is the official site of the Leveson Inquiry. It aims to provide the latest information on the Inquiry, including details of hearings and evidence, to the public and interested parties.

The Leveson Report

The Report has now been published at

The Executive Summary has been published at

The Prime Minister announced a two-part inquiry investigating the role of the press and police in the phone-hacking scandal, on 13 July 2011.

Lord Justice Leveson was appointed as Chairman of the Inquiry. The first part will examine the culture, practices and ethics of the media. In particular, Lord Justice Leveson will examine the relationship of the press with the public, police and politicians. He is assisted by a panel of six independent assessors with expertise in key issues being considered by the Inquiry.

The Inquiry has been established under the Inquiries Act 2005 and has the power to summon witnesses. It is expected that a range of witnesses, including newspaper reporters, management, proprietors, police officers and politicians of all parties will give evidence under oath and in public.

It will make recommendations on the future of press regulation and governance consistent with maintaining freedom of the press and ensuring the highest ethical and professional standards.

Lord Justice Leveson opened the hearings on 14 November 2011, saying: “The press provides an essential check on all aspects of public life. That is why any failure within the media affects all of us. At the heart of this Inquiry, therefore, may be one simple question: who guards the guardians?”


Leveson inquiry report in full
Lord Justice Leveson's full report into the culture, practices and ethics of the press.




Leveson Report: the Press has wreaked havoc with innocent people's lives

Lord Justice Leveson accused the press of “wreaking havoc” with innocent people’s lives as he explained why he is proposing radical reform of media regulation.
By Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter

6:59PM GMT 29 Nov 2012

The High Court judge said the press had caused “real hardship” to members of the public as it chased stories and had been guilty of “outrageous” behaviour at times.

He recommended a new independent press watchdog, underpinned by legislation, but insisted that such a measure did not amount to state control of the press.

In a lengthy televised statement which followed the publication of his report into media standards, he said that “press freedom in Britain, hard won over 300 years ago” should not be jeopardised.

But he said that any system of self-regulation amounted to “the industry marking its own homework” and so a new system of independent regulation was vital.

Speaking at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster, Lord Justice Leveson stressed that a free press “is one of the true safeguards of our democracy”.

He added: “I remain firmly of the belief that the British press – I repeat, all of it – serves the country very well for the vast majority of the time.”

He singled out The Daily Telegraph’s investigations into MPs’ expenses, the Daily Mail’s campaign to bring the killers of Stephen Lawrence to justice and the Sunday Times’s exposure of the effects of thalidomide as the “best known” examples of “great journalism, great investigations and great campaigns”.

(hukildaspida's emphasis: Because these issues also relate to matters in New Zealand. Now we need some great investigation into ensuring full disclosure
of all Senior Public Servants expenses to ensure accountability, transparency & the integrity of the disbursement of our Public's funds)

On too many occasions, however, such as in the hacking of the mobile phone of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, which prompted the Leveson Inquiry, the press had treated the rights of ordinary people with “disdain”.

He said: “There must be change. But let me say this very clearly. Not a single witness proposed that either Government or politicians all of whom the press hold to account, should be involved in the regulation of the press. Neither would I make any such proposal.”

The High Court judge insisted that a new independent regulator, with the power to fine newspapers up to £1 million, could only work if it was underpinned by legislation, otherwise publishers might simply opt out.

He said the press should decide how the new watchdog should work, with a legal framework “to support press freedom, provide stability and guarantee for the public that this new body is independent and effective”.

He added: “This is not, and cannot reasonably or fairly be characterised as statutory regulation of the press.”

He pointed out that his Inquiry was the seventh time in less than 70 years that such issues had been addressed.

“No-one can think it makes any sense to contemplate an eighth,” he added.

In his 1,987-page report he suggests an independent regulator with the power to fine newspapers up to £1m or 1 per cent of turnover for breaching a new code of standards, and says it should be up to the media to agree the form and powers of the new watchdog.

The new body, he says, should have an arbitration system to enable wronged parties to seek swift redress by way of a prominent apology and fines, if appropriate.

The arbitration system would also help newspapers avoid costly libel action, he suggests, because litigants who refused to accept this “cheap route to justice” could be deprived of large damages or court costs if they took the matter to trial.

Lord Justice Leveson suggests a kite mark system for publications that are signed up to the new regulator and a whistleblowing hotline for journalists who believe they are being put under pressure to breach a new code of conduct, with legal protection to prevent them being victimised for doing so.

The broadcasting regulator Ofcom should carry out reviews every two years of how the new regulator is working, he suggests, and should act as a “backstop” regulator if publishers refuse to sign up to the new body.

The Information Commissioner should also be given greater powers to prosecute newspapers for breaches of data protection.

The board of the new regulatory body, says the Leveson Report, should comprise a majority of people independent of the press, with some former journalists but no serving editors and no MPs.

One of the most draconian measures proposed in the report is a suggestion that journalists should lose the right to withhold from the police documents given to them in confidence and notes and recordings of conversations with confidential sources.

Lord Justice Leveson recommends that journalistic material should only be exempt from legal proceedings when it is “subject to an enforceable or lawful undertaking”, meaning in future journalists might have to sign contracts with any confidential sources to protect them.

The report also suggests changes in the way journalists interact with politicians and police officers.

Off the record briefings by police officers should be replaced with “non-reportable briefings” for background or “embargoed briefings” for use at a later date to avoid confusion, and senior officers should publish a list of all meetings with the media.

Members of the Government and the Opposition front benches should publish a list of meetings with editors, proprietors and media executives on a quarterly basis as well as a summary of their phone calls, text messages, emails and letters between them.

The recommendations of the Leveson Report are not binding and Lord Justice Leveson concluded: “The ball now moves back into the politicians’ court: they must now decide who guards the guardians.”


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Posted 30 November 2012 - 08:17 PM

Click on the link for other related articles in the Guardian

Nick Davies on what the Leveson report means for press regulation - video

The Guardian's Nick Davies, whose reporting on phone hacking led to David Cameron setting up the Leveson inquiry, gives his immediate reaction to the report. Leveson recommends the introduction of a new press law, proposing a new regulator, which will be independent but with a statutory underpinning

Nick Davies
Length: 3min 04sec
Thursday 29 November 2012


Leveson report: David Cameron refuses to 'cross Rubicon' and write press law

Lawyer for Milly Dowler's parents says prime minister has 'failed the Dowler test' after rejecting Lord Justice Leveson's recommendation for law-backed regulator

Patrick Wintour and Dan Sabbagh, Thursday 29 November 2012 21.50 GMT

David Cameron found himself accused of betrayal by the victims of phone hacking and isolated from his coalition partners when he took the gamble of opposing Lord Justice Leveson's proposal to underpin a new independent press regulator with legislation.

Unveiling his 2,000-page report, the judge insisted the move was an essential to end "a culture of reckless and outrageous journalism".

But after agonising for 24 hours since he received the report of the inquiry set up by him 16 months ago, Cameron said he had "serious concerns and misgivings" in principle to any statutory interference in the media. He warned: "It would mean for the first time we have crossed the Rubicon of writing elements of press regulation into law of the land."

Cameron argued: "We should think very very carefully before crossing this line," warning that parliament for centuries had seen its role as a bulwark of democracy. "We should be wary of any legislation that has the potential to infringe free speech and the free press."

But the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, took the opposite view, siding with Leveson in saying that a state-backed body was needed to have oversight of self-regulation by the press. Leveson said that proposals from the Press Complaints Commission for a revamped regulator, backed by some but by no means all newspapers, would still amount to the "industry marking its own homework".

Mark Lewis, the lawyer for the parents of Milly Dowler, accused Cameron of betrayal, reminding him he had promised his response would satisfy the victims of phone hacking and intrusion. Lewis said: "He called it the victim test; he called it the Dowler test. It looks like he failed his own test."

The culture secretary, Maria Miller, will meet with victims on Friday, and on Tuesday she will hold a round table with editors of national newspapers and some proprietors to press them to draw up a timetable for a tougher self-regulatory model than the one they had proposed to Leveson.

In a subtle proposal designed to win over those fearful of direct state interference in a free press, Leveson proposed that the broadcasting regulator Ofcom should take responsibility for monitoring a new independent voluntary press regulator, organised by the media and capable of imposing fines of up to £1m as well as demanding up-front apologies.

Leveson said it was necessary for a body like Ofcom to monitor a revamped PCC to "reassure the public of its independence". The purpose of legislation is "not to establish a body to regulate the press", he insisted. But he warned that if newspapers were not prepared to join a revamped regulator, despite financial incentives to do so, it would be necessary to force Ofcom to act as a "backstop regulator".

In an unflinching catalogue of both general and specific acts of press intrusion, Leveson said: "There have been too many times when, chasing the story, parts of the press have acted as if its own code, which it wrote, simply did not exist.

"This has caused real hardship and, on occasion, wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people whose rights and liberties have been disdained."

In the run-up to publication, Cameron had repeatedly promised not to let down the victims of hacking and to implement Leveson so long as it did not propose "anything that is bonkers".

But since then Cameron has been under sustained pressure from the newspaper industry, and from cabinet colleagues, to oppose any state involvement in media regulation, unless the industry patently failed to embrace Leveson's call for robust, swift and effective self-regulation.

The film-maker Ed Blum, himself a victim of hacking, accused Cameron of abandoning those he had pledged to help. "He's ripped out the heart and soul of the Leveson report and at the same time, some papers tomorrow will call him courageous."

But Cameron is in danger of finding himself in a minority in the Commons as Clegg took the extraordinary step of making his own statement to MPs, contradicting the prime minister's central judgment, and broadly siding with the Labour leader, Ed Miliband.

To the fury of some Conservative MPs, Clegg said: "Changing the law is the only way to give us all the assurance that the new regulator isn't just independent for a few months or years, but is independent for good."

Clegg said he had heard nothing to suggest that a better solution can be found than the one proposed by Leveson, adding: "We need to get on with this without delay." He was supported by the Liberal Democrat president, Tim Farron, who said the law, far from representing a Rubicon was little more than a brook.

Privately Clegg believes Cameron can yet be persuaded of the need for state oversight of the regulatory power, but needs time to persuade his own backbenchers.

Cameron, Clegg and Miliband met to discuss a joint response to the report and, according to Labour, under pressure from Miliband Cameron had said he would allow the culture department to prepare a draft bill on state underpinning of a new regulatory body. But Cameron's spokesman said "drawing up a bill will only serve to demonstrate how complicated it would be to introduce press laws".

The spokesman added that preliminary work had already been undertaken showing this to be the case.

Miliband said he would be calling a vote in the Commons on implementing Leveson by the end of January at the latest, and with Cameron allowing MPs a free vote, the prime minister is currently at risk of losing.

Government sources claim that even if they lose a vote, they would need to bring forward a bill, a point contested by Labour and the Lib Dems.

The report appears to find unnamed executives of News International guilty of trying to hide the extent of phone hacking at the company. It finds: "Questions were there to be asked and simple denials should not have been considered sufficient. This suggests a cover-up by somebody and at more than one level."

Cameron took relief that Leveson issued little criticism of the relations between Cameron and News International, apart from to say that all politicians over the past 30 years had been close to newspaper magnates.

Criticism is expressed of the way in which the then culture secretary Jeremy Hunt had allowed perceptions to arise that he was too close to News International during its bid for BSkyB, but the report said he had not behaved improperly.

Cameron said Hunt had "endured a stream of allegations with great dignity. This report confirms something what we on this side of the house knew all along: we were right to stand by him".

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 08:53 PM

Hacked Off- Hacking inquiry

Hacked Off response to Leveson’s report: It’s time for action

Posted November 29th, 2012 by Hacked Off & filed under News.


Posts Categorized: Debunking

Posted November 27th, 2012 by Hacked Off & filed under Debunking.

Ten myths about press abuse

Posted November 21st, 2012 by Hacked Off & filed under Debunking.

Adapted from Hugh Grant’s Leveson witness statement


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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:15 PM

Our international readers may be interested to read that there are still failings within systems & "rubber-stamping" going on within the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority, Ministry of Justice in New Zealand in respect of the licensing of these people under new regulations governing
Security & Private Investigator Personnel.

Red carpet bodyguard failed security check
Last updated 10:51 05/12/2012


The bodyguard providing personal security for Sir Peter Jackson on The Hobbit red carpet had failed a criminal history check and should not have been granted a licence to work at the high-profile event.

Thomas Andrew Gibson, 42, former director of the failed Temperance Bar, is due to appear in court today on an assault charge.

Last Wednesday, he shadowed Jackson on the red carpet, as he has done at other Wellington premieres, including The Lord of the Rings, King Kong and The Lovely Bones. He has also guarded David Beckham and Elijah Wood.

Gibson was contracted by Jamie Hood Wilson of Chameleon Event Management, which organised the red-carpet event, not by Jackson.

He submitted an application to the Justice Ministry for a temporary certificate of approval and accompanying security licence badge on October 9, and was sent them the next day.

But after an investigation by The Dominion Post, the ministry admitted Gibson should not have received the licence.

Wayne Newall, national manager of tribunals at the ministry, said a staff member accidentally approved the application, before realising his mistake.

"Mr Gibson . . . did not disclose that he had a disqualifying criteria in his application form," Mr Newall said.

"The processing officer issued him a three-month temporary certificate . . . Later that day, the officer noticed Mr Gibson had disqualifying criteria . . . [and] immediately cancelled the certificate, but by this stage it had already been sent to be printed and the temporary certificate was sent to Mr Gibson.

"The authority is now looking at the validity of Mr Gibson's temporary certificate."

The ministry has begun an internal investigation.

Security licensing regulations were changed in April 2011, before the Rugby World Cup, to ensure private security guards were "suitably qualified to carry out that work . . . [and] do not behave in ways that are contrary to the public interest".

To qualify for a licence, applicants need to meet certain character requirements, some of which are double-checked by police.

Police spokesman Grant Ogilvie said there were several markers that might prevent an applicant being licensed.

"This could include . . . violent, sexual or dishonest behaviour. Also considered is information held, such as active charges."

Gibson, a triple black belt Zen Do Kai sensei, was due to appear in Wellington District Court today for a full defended hearing on an assault charge, but the charge was dropped by police.

His lawyer, Andrew Davie, said police had intimated this week that they would drop the charge.

Gibson was also declared bankrupt in 2010, owing $2 million to creditors.

On the red carpet, he said he was initially employed as a liaison between security guards, but days before the event he was asked to step in as a bodyguard "because Peter knows my face".

"As far as I'm concerned, we put an application in with everything correct and they issued a licence. From my perspective I've had a licence as required, and I don't see anything to change that."

Jackson's spokesman, Matt Dravitzki, said the legality of Gibson's presence had not been known.

"We don't know anything of his history and, short of a couple of red carpets over the years, I don't know much about him at all."

Gibson is general manager of Gibson Security. Director David Wilson said the company made sure employees were certified before jobs.

"A lot of effort has been put in to make sure Andrew got his certificate. We make sure the t's are crossed and the i's are dotted. There are not many people in the country with his experience . . . Why would Peter Jackson not use him?"

Mr Hood Wilson of Chameleon said the ministry was to blame. "I did my [security] checks and unfortunately it was an error by the Ministry of Justice."


February 22, 2010: Andrew Gibson declared bankrupt after the Temperance Bar in Cambridge Tce, of which he was a director, collapsed owing $2 million to creditors.

October 9, 2012: Applies to the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority for a temporary certificate of approval for personal security.

October 10: Application approved by the Justice Ministry.

November 26: Gibson ejects a TV3 reporter from a Hobbit fans party, after the reporter asked Elijah Wood a question.

November 28: He provides security to Sir Peter Jackson and the director's 16-year-old daughter, Katie.

November 30: The ministry finds it had made a mistake and Gibson should not have been sent a licence.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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