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

  • MR ANTHONY CONNELL GALLAGHER (sworn).

  • Your full name?

  • My name is Anthony Connell Gallagher.

  • Thank you. Under tab 6 of the bundle in front of you, you should find a copy of your witness statement, dated 14 October of last year, and underneath a statement of truth and signed by you; is that correct?

  • You are currently the editor of the Daily Telegraph?

  • In terms of your journalistic career, after working in the regional press, you joined the Daily Mail in 1990. You ended up, if I may so describe it, as assistant editor. You left the Daily Mail in October 2006 and you became editor of the Daily Telegraph after a number of other positions there in November 2009; is that correct?

  • I've asked this general question, this cultural question about the differences, if any, between the various newspapers for which you worked. In your case, it would be a comparison between the Daily Mail on the one hand and the Daily Telegraph on the other. Are there any cultural differences between the two?

  • Bear in mind that I was operating at a lower level when I was at the Daily Mail, but notwithstanding that, I don't see huge cultural differences between the newsroom of the Daily Mail and that of the Daily Telegraph, in that there's a desire for accuracy, there's a desire for professionalism, there's a desire to compete with and beat your rivals in what's a hugely competitive newspaper market, and I think it's right to say that the journalists that can thrive in one newsroom can usually thrive in another, and their skills are very transferable. So no, I don't see a huge cultural difference.

  • Thank you. Under paragraph 5, you explain -- and we know this from other evidence we've heard -- editorial decision making is your responsibility?

  • Although of course day-to-day decisions may be delegated to others; is that right?

  • In terms of what you decide to do yourself and what you decide to delegate, what principles, if any, do you apply to guide you?

  • I have a team that works underneath me that I trust implicitly that carries out a lot of the instructions that I would make in the course of the day, but I think it's fair to say that I'm very hands-on and I'm involved in most of the key decisions of the day, from everything that goes on the front page to the promotional blurbs, to the page leads, to the choice of commentary, to the leaders, to the choice of features. Pretty much everything apart from the TV listings.

  • Thank you. In the next few paragraphs of your statement you deal with the structure within, as it were, the editorial division of the Daily Telegraph and the various departments. I can move on to paragraph 10 and deal with the issue of the Telegraph website, which we've heard from other evidence is becoming increasingly important to the Telegraph's business model. Can you explain what you meanwhile by the phrase "reporters who self-publish their own stories"?

  • In classic newsrooms, stories tend to be written and then routed through the news editor, who will then route them to the editor and discuss the importance of them. With the Internet and the need for speed of delivery, as we compete against Internet news providers, we took a decision a couple of years ago to ensure that experienced reporters were effectively able to bypass the news deck, which would allow them to self-publish their stories and have them peer-reviewed pretty much instantly. But that was mainly for what I would describe as noncontentious news stories rather than anything that would be particularly controversial.

  • So anything that might attract controversy, that would go up through the traditional pathway; is that right?

  • Yes. Or it would -- or the reporter himself or herself would quickly get involved with the legal department that works on the same floor and is on tap the entire day in terms of advice or guidance they might be able to provide.

  • Not to do so would create a reputational risk.

  • Absolutely, and the lawyer is two doors away from my office and is on the floor most of the day, and has his door open to reporters the entire time, so can be consulted at any stage, not just by me but by junior reporters too.

  • Can you explain a little bit more how the process of peer review works, both generally and particularly in relation to the online product?

  • It's senior colleagues of the reporter in question checking the accuracy of the story, making sure there are no howling spelling errors and so forth before the other reporter launches it onto the interpret.

  • Thank you. You explain how legal risk is addressed under paragraph 14. Some stories require legal sign-off, as you put it. There isn't a hard and fast algorithm for deciding which stories require sign-off and which don't. You explain it's a question of judgment, but you're on the side of caution.

    We understand fully about the concept of risk in the context of defamation, but to what extent do privacy issues feature in the Telegraph's product, the stories they print?

  • That's not a very live issue for us, in that we don't really go down that path in terms of the story choice, so privacy doesn't normally arise. I think there's a very tiny amount of stories for the Telegraph.

  • But we know there's a showbusiness correspondent.

  • What sort of stories does he or she write?

  • There's been a showbusiness correspondent dating back two decades, but classically the showbusiness correspondent will cover showbusiness stories that are of interest to Telegraph readers, as we judge them. They'll cover the radio, TV shows, theatrical first nights, cinema premieres. To give you two immediate examples, we've been very interested at the Telegraph in the premiere of War Horse, and we've carried a great deal about that of late, and we have a great interest in Downton Abbey, which appears on the news pages periodically.

  • It's a question of the Telegraph knowing its readers?

  • Absolutely. We're more likely to be interested in Downton Abbey than we are in the X Factor, for example.

  • I think I'm beginning to get the point, thank you.

    Can I deal with paragraph 16. When the PCC asked you not to publish a particular story or photograph, what is the Telegraph's typical reaction to such a request? Could you help us with that?

  • We tend to abide by it. The relationship with the PCC is very healthy. They can pick up the phone or they can send an email to me or to the head of the legal team, and they're very quick to point out where there's an issue with a particular person that is requiring or demanding privacy.

    I have to say, when they send these emails or they ring us, I'm guessing that it's quite a small minority of requests are relevant from the point of view of the Daily Telegraph in terms of the personalities they're talking about.

  • Thank you. We heard, and I put it to a previous witness, Mr MacLennan, that the Telegraph was censured by the PCC in May 2011 over the Dr Vince Cable sting story?

  • Mr MacLennan told us that the full adjudication was published; is that right?

  • That's right. The PCC ruling, which we accepted but were unhappy with -- they required us to publish an abridged version of that ruling. I felt that it was a matter of such public interest that we should publish the entire ruling, which was, from memory, about a third longer than the abridged ruling. We published it in its entirety.

  • You mentioned the public interest. What was the public interest in publishing the entire ruling?

  • I felt that it was -- the story itself generated a huge controversy. It was probably the most important PCC ruling of 2011 and I felt in the interests of justice, we should carry the entire ruling, given that we'd devoted a fair amount of space to the embarrassment of the Liberal Democrats in December 2010.

  • Thank you. May I deal with the issue of corrections. You don't have a corrections page?

  • What is your policy, if any, in relation to the publication of corrections?

  • All corrections come through me. Very often, complaints are addressed to me directly by lawyers or by individuals, if not me then the legal department, and we try and deal with corrections very quickly. I don't like them building up. I don't like the process being drawn out. Wherever possible, I like them to be done quickly. We don't have a corrections page, but my thinking is emerging that it's something we may need to consider in due course.

  • Thank you. It's been put to one or two editors already the desirability or otherwise of having a readers' editor, which I don't think the Telegraph has. What is your view on that, if any?

  • I'm not sure that a readers' editor is a wholly helpful idea in that I think the person that should be dealing with the readers is me. Complaints often come to my desk, and I take on board the fact that -- where there are complaints I will ring people and find out what the nature of their complaint is. So I think it might be an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy and I prefer to deal with the issue myself in a quick and timely fashion. But I must say, I don't have a hard and fast view on the matter and if there was an industry consensus that everybody had to have a readers' editor then I'd be happy to go along with that.

  • Paragraph 23, our page 21162.

  • "The culture of the Daily Telegraph is one of excellence and professionalism."

    First of all, how is that culture inculcated? And secondly, how is it executed, as it were, across the whole of your product, by which I mean your employees?

  • We have a highly professional staff who can be relied upon themselves to work to the highest standards. I think accuracy is at the forefront of everybody's mind every day, and they pride themselves on getting stories right. So first and foremost, it comes down to the reporter.

    From my point of view, I lead from the front and I'm highly visible. I'm there the entire day, notwithstanding today, and I'm usually there when the edition goes at night source. So I like to think that they can approach me if there's a problem and that I'm a keen stickler for accuracy and getting stories 100 per cent layered on right.

  • Can I move on to a different matter now. That's responsibility for checking sources, starting at paragraph 29. You explain the day-to-day operation of the paper and the various conferences which take place under paragraph 30. That's part of the background.

    The primary responsibility lies with the reporter, but the -- can you just deal with the last sentence of paragraph 29, the extent to which reporters are questioned about their sources. Is this a question of intuition or is there more developed science to it?

  • It's a mix of both, I think. It depends upon the nature of the story in the first instance, how explosive is the story, to what extent is it a knocking story, what sort of waves is it going to cause in political circles? Secondly, what's the veracity of the source? Is the source on the record? If the source is off the record, is there documentation to back um what we're about to allege?

    I think it's only right to say that we have to trust in the judgment of the reporters, too. If a very senior reporter comes to me with an explosive story and says, "We can't name the source", we're more likely to take that on board than if it happens to be a junior member of staff who joined us five minutes ago.

  • This question was asked of others, and I suspect I know the answer when I put the question to you, but is there any written audit trail of these decisions in relation to sources so that if there were to be litigation you would be able to demonstrate the thought process?

  • The PCC has issued, I believe, new rules in the past two weeks on the nature to write down how public interest decisions are taken and who is accountable for them. That doesn't necessarily include identification of sources, you won't be surprised to learn.

  • But certainly we're going to have to provide, going forward, more documentary evidence of how we reached a particular decision to publish a story, and I have to say I'm comfortable with that.

  • Thank you. Then paragraph 32, Mr Gallagher. If you read a story and it makes you think: "When did that come from?" you will almost certainly ask the question. That's a question of the matter of experience. If you smell a rat or there's doubt in your mind, you'll want to probe further; is that correct?

  • Correct. Beyond the legal process, it's a matter of some instinct, I think.

  • Yes. I can move on. Paragraph 39.

  • Before you do move on, Mr Gallagher, is it going to be extremely inconvenient for you to return first thing tomorrow morning?

  • I'd really much rather continue after 5 o'clock if that's at all possible. I've had to take the entire day today, so if it's not too inconvenient for everybody.

  • We'll carry on but we will just give the shorthand writer a couple of minutes.

  • (A short break)

  • Mr Gallagher, paragraph 39, if I may say so, though very well written, we'll pass over, but we will note your description of how ethics applied to what you do.

    Can I deal though with paragraph 41 and the question of any influence on you from above, namely the proprietors. You tell us that there is no such influence. Is that correct?

  • What is the nature of the communication, if any, between the proprietors and yourself?

  • Next to nothing. I talk to the chairman of the Telegraph Media Group, Aidan Barclay, ones or twice a month. I think I spoke to him the week before Christmas and I haven't spoken to him since.

  • Thank you. May I ask you briefly at this stage about your dealings, if any, with politicians? Do you have dealings with politicians, particularly those in high office?

  • First of all, how frequently?

  • I think I've seen the Prime Minister three times in 2011, twice for dinner. George Osbourne, a similar number of times. Ed Miliband, a similar number of times. And with my team, we've had lunch or dinner probably with three-quarters of the cabinet, and perhaps 50 per cent of the shadow cabinet over the previous 18 months.

  • It's clear from that answer that you don't just see those in government; you see those in opposition.

  • Is there any difference in the reason for your meeting politicians on the one hand in government and those outside government?

  • Absolutely not. We're interested -- you won't be surprised to learn -- as a newspaper, we're terribly interested in politics, so it shouldn't be a great surprise to discover that we have pretty regular meetings with the most senior politicians in the land, who are keen to get exposure for their policies, convince us of their ideas and that their ideas are of merit and so forth, but I think it's important that we see all sides.

    I would add the following: I never have these dinners on my own, I've never been in their private homes, and nor would I ever have them in my home. It's usually me and senior members of the editorial team. So it's purely work for us.

  • Thank you. And presumably these dinners are an expense on your paper; is that right?

  • Usually, yes. Equally I think it's only right to say that politicians now -- senior politicians now document these on their own websites in the interests of full disclosure.

  • Maybe in relation to the Daily Telegraph it's an entirely stupid question but I ask it nonetheless so I can get the answer. Presumably the reason behind these meetings is not to persuade the Telegraph to support or not to support a particular political party?

  • You'd have to ask David Cameron or Ed Miliband, but I think we've given them pretty rough treatment, both of them, for various issues over the past 12 months, so if that was the measure they had in mind, they've failed.

  • Thank you. Paragraph 50, please.

  • Do you think it gives you influence?

  • Absolutely not. I don't kid myself. The only reason they're having dinner with me is because I run the Daily Telegraph but if I fell under a bus this evening, they'd want dinner with the next editor of the Daily Telegraph.

  • Yes, I understand that. I'll change the question slightly. Do you think it gives the editor of the Daily Telegraph influence?

  • No, is the short answer to that. I think they become aware of where we stand on given issues, but given the extent to which we find ourselves in opposition with the current government, and indeed found ourselves in opposition with the last government, I think it would be fair to say we're not having a great influence if there are so many of their policies that we don't agree with.

  • Paragraph 50, please, Mr Gallagher. These are factors you take into account on perhaps fairly rare occasions when a publishing decision has privacy implications.

  • You list three of them. The first is the position of the person who is the subject of the story. In your view, is the mere fact of celebrity a reason for publishing a story which would otherwise be an intrusion into that person's privacy?

  • Why do you say that?

  • I would qualify that by saying that if the celebrity was of interest to Daily Telegraph readers, then we might be interested in it, but I think it's very hard to pin down precisely when and how we become interested in that person. It would far more relate to politicians, I think, and we'd be much more interested in their private lives, but again, there probably comes a point when we get interested in it and it's hard to know when it becomes an overwhelming public interest in the disclosure of that information. It shifts, the ground, if you see what I'm saying.

  • Is it the Telegraph's position, if one were to take the example of a politician, who, for example, has not publicly spoken out in favour of family values, that the publication of adultery would be in the public interest in relation to that individual?

  • It's a difficult question, to which I don't think there's a short and simple answer. Was the publication of the break-up of Chris Huhne's marriage in the public interest? Perhaps not, but then it emerges that there's a wrangle over who was behind the wheel of a car and whether or not he order her to take points on his licence. Then it definitely becomes a matter of public interest. So I come back to what I said earlier: the ground can shift.

  • But it's not that their relationship has broken up that's a matter of public interest, but whether somebody has done something that contravenes criminal law.

  • In the case of Chris Huhne, yes. In the case of David Blunkett, to give you another prominent political example, when it emerged that he was involved in a love tangle, to use a phrase, there might not have been an overwhelming public interest in that to begin with, but when it become apparent that there had been an issue over whether or not he had fast-tracked a visa for the lover's nanny, then it was suddenly a massive kind of public interest and he subsequently lost his job.

  • May I ask a series of general questions. The issue of prior notification, whether it's the Telegraph's policy to notify the subjects of stories that stories are about to be published, is it or is it not the Telegraph's policy to do that?

  • It tends to be our policy, the reason for that being that the Reynolds defence is well-known, I think hard wired to most members of staff, and giving them prior notice of stories seems to me to be good practice, even to the point where, on occasion, we've held the story out of the paper for 24 hours to ensure that the subject of the story is given full chance to respond in suitable detail.

  • Any policy may be subject to exceptions. Could you assist us, please, on a principle basis of the sort of situations which might justify a departure from that policy?

  • I can't think of what we've done in reality, but in terms of hypotheses, I suppose if the subject of the story was going to destroy the information or it was no longer going to be material if you waited another day and they were going to change their mind, then there might be examples where you would not go for prior notification, but they would be extremely rare, and in fact I haven't come across them in my time there.

  • Thank you. May I ask you now about conditional fee agreements. I have no doubt you have views about the balance of power which is created by claimants having access to such agreements, but I understand it to be the position that sometimes the Telegraph uses conditional fee agreements. Is that so?

  • Is this usually the case or always the case?

  • It's occasionally the case, is how I would put it. They have become a weapon in our armoury as we face claimants who have fantastic funding and seemingly inexhaustible limits of patience to pursue us, even when they're flat wrong.

  • Can I take that answer in two parts? Why does the Telegraph's use of a conditional fee agreement improve its bargaining or litigation position vis a vis a claimant?

  • It makes it cheaper. Bear in mind we're a company that makes money, as you've seen, and we're reasonably successful, and therefore we have deep enough pockets to fight a number of these cases, but I have to tell you that very often we fail to fight cases simply because the expense of so doing is so onerous that it's easier to pay our own expenses, carry a brief clarification and then move on.

    Only last week I signed off an amendment to a story, and it was concerning a policeman who had been guilty of some misconduct and we'd run up legal bills of £35,000, which for us, while being a substantial sum of money, is not ruinous, but if you're a local paper and you're suffering that kind of difficulty, you'll automatically throw in the towel.

    I'll give you a second example, if that would be helpful, which concerns the case of a man who was described as the world's worst professional tennis player, and we carried a small story about him on the sports pages, in common with a good number of other national newspapers, but armed with a conditional fee agreement, he came after pretty much every national newspaper and then showed up the cheques that he won from all of them on his website.

    Reuters, who I think I'm right in saying supplied the original story, eventually bailed out when their legal bills came to £130,000, and we kept going and the case against us was eventually struck out, but everybody else fell by the wayside, to give you just one example.

  • I ask you to deal with a point which has been forcefully made by those acting for claimants, that if a newspaper such as yours has a good defence, why doesn't the newspaper take that defence to legal adjudication, since the effective after-the-event insurance will mean you get all your costs or most of them back?

  • You can. Do you mean proceeding to trial?

  • Proceeding to trial gets even more expensive than that. We've had one or two cases where seven-figure sums have been burned without successful revolution. I must say, we try wherever possible to avoid going to trial and try and resolve things at an earlier stage, but occasionally you will get a litigant who is extremely determined to have their day in court.

  • So that raises the question that you've heard me ask before today -- I don't know whether you were here earlier -- about some sort of arbitral system.

  • I'm hugely attracted by that. Hugely attracted by that. A quick and easy way, a cheap way of resolving legal complaints I think would be one of the best policy outcomes of this Inquiry, sir, because the chilling effect of libel on small media organisations has to be seen to be believed.

  • But there's a downside to that, Mr Gallagher, which I'm sure you appreciate, namely that the only way that can become compulsory is if it's part of the law.

  • In other words, it requires those who wish to complain about privacy or libel -- and there can be limits or whatever -- to go down this route. If you make it consensual, built on contract, entirely self-organised, then those with the deepest pockets will simply say, "I'm not prepared to play that game"; in other words, you'll suffer exactly the same problems which you are presently complaining about.

  • Quite so. I think I'm right in saying there is a defamation bill going through the houses of Parliament at the moment, and it's not for me to say, but people have worked out more fully thoughts on this matter than me, I would venture to suggest, but it seems to me that if we could find add way of amending that bill to make mediation a route into an earlier stopping stage than libel, I think it would be highly desirable.

    Indeed, I know you perhaps want to talk in more detail in a moment about the future of the PCC, and it would be a wholly advantageous outcome for the media, I think, if some kind of arbitral system could be embroidered into whatever replaces the PCC going forward.

  • Well, that's part of an overall package that I've not decided. I make it abundantly clear to everybody and I repeat it so that nobody thinks that I'm becoming blinkered to everything. I'm not. I am just raising questions and raising issues for you to consider, because I'm sure you are already involved -- at least I hope you're involved -- with other editors in looking for ways forward which will work for you and work for me. It's part of the overall issue that I believe should be considered.

  • There has to be a better way, a cheaper way and a quicker way than the current system we have, and I think if all of us are thinking hard about it, it can't be beyond the wit of man to come up with such a system.

  • But you see -- I mean, this goes into the PCC material. I entirely agree that any regulation has to be independent. It can't involve the government. It can't involve politicians. It must involve people from the business, whether it's serving editors or former editors and former journalists. It must involve independent people. It probably has to involve some legal input. But I could visualise a system that has three limbs: the complaint and mediation services, presently what everybody says the PCC does so well; a regulatory mechanism, which I don't think the PCC now claims to have done; and an arbitral mechanism, not statutory in the sense that it is defined by statute, but statutory in the sense that that provides the compulsory background to appointment of independent people to do all these things.

  • I don't ask you to comment upon that. You're very welcome to if you want to, to express definitive views now, and I'm not clear about it in my own mind. I'm merely thinking about all the possibilities.

  • I must say I find the prospect very attractive, and if you could find mediators who could take notes as the process is ongoing, work out how willing or otherwise the complainants or the litigants are to come to a resolution, and if no resolution can be found, that could be counted against them when it comes to an ultimate libel action, but one would hope that most cases would be resolved at a much earlier stage.

  • Or up to a certain level you could use this and permit appeals on points of law, whatever. There are all sorts of models that one could choose, but one has to be prepared to think about the framework broadly along the lines that I've said, because if one says: well, it all has to be outwith some sort of framework, then, as I say, people needn't co-operate.

  • In principle, I find the prospect highly attractive.

  • Mr Gallagher, before I ask some final general questions, can I ask you about your paper's diary column, which I think is called Mandrake; is that right?

  • I put this to you before lunch when we met. Are you aware of a blogger called Mr Montgomerie writing in his Conservative Home blog on 19 October last year that he was leaving his Sunday Telegraph column because he was repeatedly attacked in Mandrake on your orders because he had tweeted a criticism of the Telegraph's coverage of the resignation of Dr Liam Fox?

  • I've never met Mr Montgomerie, but I think he has quite an unhealthy obsession with all matters to do with the Telegraph and for many years has been an opponent of ours and doesn't like us.

  • I think he was saying that not merely he doesn't like you but you don't like him, because you were repeatedly attacking him. Is that true or not?

  • I don't think that's true, no.

  • If I ask you some general questions to conclude. What is your vision for the paper and in what way will you realise that vision in the manner in which you lead your organisation?

  • My vision for the paper is for it to be a continued and increasing success. It's important, I think, as a force for good in civil society. I want it to lead the news agenda, to have the brightest and most provocative comment, the most engaging features, the best business section, the most compelling sport, the entire package, and I would look to achieve that, I hope, by the work rate that I put into the paper and my visibility on the floor and my determination to lead from the front, without wishing to sound vainglorious.

  • Okay. Finally, what is your biggest priority going forward, Mr Gallagher?

  • I think it's converting our vast digital audience into money, because while we have a huge presence on the web, the way in which that's converted into money hasn't replaced the loss of display advertising in the downturn since 2008.

  • Thank you very much. There will probably be some more questions.

  • Really, they're to carry on with the dialogue we were having just a few minutes ago, if you wish to. I'm obviously anxious to explore with editors, as I have with others, ways forward which work, and you've probably heard me say that earlier today.

  • So ideas that you have would be welcome.

  • I have four thoughts which I will share with you, if that's okay.

    I think the PCC as its constituted is clearly not fit for purpose. That's been decreed by the Prime Minister. So for whatever it is that replaces it -- bearing in mind the good work that I think it does on the complaints and mediation point, I think whatever it is that replaces it must have an investigative arm. I think one of the difficulties of the PCC is that it stands condemned for things it was never able to do. I think it was the Lord Chief Justice who said in his speech in October to criticise the PCC for powers it doesn't have is like criticising a judge for passing a lenient sentence when he doesn't have those powers. I think the PCC has never had investigative powers, and I'd very much like it to have those, to be able to -- when there's been a systemic breakdown in standards, to go into newsrooms, interview staff, seek emails, demand an audit trail to see how decisions have been taken.

    I'm, as I say, greatly attracted by the idea of an arbitral service which could be provided by the new body. I think if that arbitral service was low cost, it might be a great way of embracing the Internet news providers, who at the moment remain outwith the system, and if they realise that their access to that cheap and quick arbitral system would be contingent upon joining the new body, that would be wholly desirable.

    Lastly I would say that I think we need to do much more to increase the nature of pariah status for those organisations that are not members of the body, and if it was not enforceable by some kind of civil law, then I think the industry could and should do a great deal more to ensure that rogue publishers are given no access to the benefits enjoyed by everybody else.

    I'll give you some examples. Why should a rogue publisher be allowed to have its reporters attend lobby briefings? Why should they get access to briefings carried out by any ministers? Indeed, why should they get access to events organised by football writers or copy from the Press Association or copy from freelance agencies?

    I think we could do a great deal more to increase pariah status for those that decided they didn't want to be part of the system, and hopefully that could encourage them to come into line.

  • But if there was a system whereby they had to be in the system, and that's what also got them into the arbitral service and all the rest of it, while ensuring that the regulator was entirely independent -- in other words, staffed, as I said before, by editors or probably ex-editors, because of the problem about judging your competitors, and independent people -- then doesn't that equally achieve not merely the goal of bringing in not merely newspapers but the magazine sector, who really should be part of the same system?

  • And who probably wouldn't care if they weren't invited to lobby briefings, because they don't come to them anyway.

  • And also all those who could take advantage of an arbitral service. Why would that be inimical to the rights of free speech and freedom of the press?

  • I'm not sure that it would. I think we need to do a great deal more to heighten the sense of being a pariah for those that remain outside the organisation.

    The only other point I would make is that while -- and I'm not sure I'm in the majority on this, but while I would like them to have investigative powers, I'm not sure I'm attracted to the idea of fines for the recalcitrant media companies. I'd prefer to see suspension of people to fines for the company. Bear in mind we're operating in a very beleaguered landscape, where a great number of media companies, far from making money, are losing tense of millions of pounds per annum.

  • Yes, I understand that point. I am much more concerned to ensure that everybody is judged on a level playing field, so that there is a commonality of approach which is as wide as possible to all those who are in the trade or business of supplying news.

  • I gather from what you say that you don't really disagree with that?

  • Is there anything else that you'd like?

  • No, I think that's it for now. Thank you.

  • Thank you very much indeed.

  • That concludes the witnesses for today.

  • Thank you very much. We'll start again at 10 o'clock.

  • We do need to list the witnesses who are going to be taken as read.

  • In relation to this afternoon's witnesses, Mr Adam Cannon, Mr Wynn-Davies, Mr Benedict Brogan, Mr Peter Oborne and Mr Ian McGregor.

  • I'm not so sure about Mr Oborne, because I think there may be reasons why I would be keen for him to give evidence.

  • But the others, certainly.

  • Thank you very much. 10 o'clock.

  • (The hearing adjourned until 10 o'clock the following day)