The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

No, the Milly Dowler thing transformed everything because it inflamed, quite rightly, public anger. The public, I think quite rightly, are more indifferent to the plight of politicians and celebrities, who I think they quite rightly think can look after themselves, as indeed they can. I think it is a wholly different matter when they see a family in a moment of unimaginable anguish and distress being intruded upon in the most grotesque fashion, and it made people very angry.

Why, as I said earlier, this is all linked is that I cannot believe that that level of intrusion, that level of almost amoral behaviour towards helpless, innocent people, I just do not believe that would have arisen other than in the context of newsroom practices which were just totally out of control and where people clearly felt they could operate by one set of rules while everybody else had to obey another set of laws, and that culture of impunity, sort of one rule for us, another rule for everybody else, is not only arrogant, it's not only wrong, it's not only, as we know, almost certainly illegal, it's also, I think, an expression of a culture in which perhaps because of the intimacy between the press and politicians and the press and the police, they felt they did operate by another set of rules because they were -- they kind of had the measure of politicians and the police.

In other words, the arms of the state that should be exercising authority, enforcing the law and acting transparently, were doing exactly the reverse. So no wonder over time the press felt: oh, great, we can do what we like!

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech