On many occasions during this Inquiry, I have spoken about the public interest that drives and justifies the importance of free speech and a free press. Today the Inquiry will analyse these important concepts in some detail and will do so alongside other public interest concepts much talked about, including the public interest in individual self-determination and the protection of private interests such as privacy, confidentiality and individual freedom of expression. For the right balance to be achieved, it is important that we fully understand what is involved and what is potentially at stake.
The Inquiry is occasionally criticised for considering ethical issues but it is also important to bear in mind that the terms of reference specifically refer to the culture, practices and ethics of the press, and I have always recognised that different press interests and different types of newspaper may well approach ethical considerations from different starting points.
That brings into focus the role which might reasonably be expected to be played by a code of conduct in general and by the Editors' Code in particular, along with what, if anything is necessary, could be done to improve it and make it more effective.
Tomorrow I will consider evidence in relation to the data protection legislation and issues of plurality.