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

  • DR ROWAN CRUFT (affirmed).

  • Thank you, Dr Cruft. The starting point for your evidence is the 9-page submission that you kindly provided us. It's under tab 47 of the bundle.

  • Thank you very much and thank you very much for the effort that you've put into preparing this submission.

  • You're a senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Stirling. Can you tell us first of all what your main research and philosophical interests are?

  • Yes. My main interests are in the nature of rights and duties and the justification of rights and duties, thinking about the relationship between different sorts of rights and duties, so property rights or human rights or contractual rights.

  • Thank you. With the first three witnesses we looked at a number of concepts: the difference between freedom of expression and the public interest in a free press.

  • From your perspective, what are the equivalences between and differences in freedom of expression on the one hand and freedom of the press on the other?

  • Okay. I think, as I said in the written statement, I'm attracted to the view that freedom of the press is one very important aspect of freedom of thought and expression in general, and there's an important value to a society with freedom of thought and expression. I think it helps constitute a public realm to which -- in which we all have roughly equal status, so it's a realm in which anyone can have their say about public matters. And I suppose the thought underlying this is if you try to imagine a society where we all have freedom of thought and expression but there's no free press -- the press is very constrained -- I think we'd think: well, that isn't really a society with full freedom of individual thought and expression.

    I can say more about this if you like?

  • A related issue, I think, is if we do see freedom of the press as important -- if we think, for example, that newspapers have a right to freedom of expression, it's not going to be grounded in the same way as individual rights to freedom of expression. So an individual right to freedom of expression, in my view, is justified by the individual's interest in being able to take part in the public sphere and newspaper's interests, insofar as they have them, or corporate entities like that, those don't have the same moral status; they have a derivative status.

    So even if -- I'm open about this -- even if the press does have a very important right to freedom of expression, you have to remember that it's justified by what is does for individuals by constituting a public sphere in which all individuals can take part.

  • You mentioned earlier a relationship between rights and duties. We can debate that theoretically -- I doubt that's going to be helpful, though. Do you see the press having any ethical duties in their public role and if so, why and what?

  • Yes, I certainly do. I think before I go on to talk about that, I'd like to add that even though they have ethical duties, it doesn't follow that regulation must enforce those duties. It might do in some cases, it might not. But I think we need to remember that in a liberal society -- one of the things that makes us a libel society is the view that ethical duties don't always have to be enforced. So I have a duty not to cheat on my partner, not to lie to my friends. A liberal society doesn't enforce those duties through law or in other ways.

    I think some of the ethical duties of the press might be like this and others might not be, but the bare fact that they have ethical duties to readers, to subjects of stories and to a range of other actors, it doesn't immediately follow that regulation is appropriate, though I think some regulation is.

  • How do we differentiate between --

  • -- the circumstances? I owe an ethical duty not to lie to my friend, but the press may owe an ethical duty to propound accurate stories.

  • It owes a duty to its readers not to be inaccurate.

  • If there's a duty to the readers not to be inaccurate, that may or may not carry with it a duty in the state, through a regulator, to ensure that accuracy is maintained and inaccuracy is stamped out. How does one go about --

  • Or put it another way, how are you going to draw the line?

  • You've created the line; now how are you going to draw it?

  • Indeed. I think it's very hard to draw, I'm afraid. I think there are some things -- which is perhaps why we're here. There are some things I can say about this. One is that the distinction between the public and the private might be one useful way to draw it, and I think I said in my written submission that I think there's room for a lot more work, philosophical work, on when something's an appropriately public matter and when it's a private matter. But I have quite clear intuitions about some cases. I don't know quite what line underlies them but here's an example.

    Say interest in the health of a politician's child. In many contexts, I think that might be considered a private matter that shouldn't be a matter for -- shouldn't enter the public sphere. Perhaps not in every context, but in many contexts it should be. Contexts where it could enter the public sphere might be cases where revealing this health issue would reveal hypocrisy on the part of a politician or is relevant to particular policies a politician is pursuing, but perhaps unhelpfully for you, I think it's rather hard to draw a clear line.

  • It may be hard to do so, but what are the principles which might draw one to finding where the line is? Carry on with the example you've given or choose a different example, if you're more comfortable with that.

  • Let me think. I think in terms of principle, I think the three things I mentioned towards the start of the written submission seem to me the -- well, helpful guiding principles, even though I don't think they draw us a very definite line.

    So one is in idea is that a liberal public sphere, one in which every member -- everyone in the community can take a part is just a very good thing in itself. It's useful partly for the results it creates but it's also a good in itself that we all have the status of being able to take part in the liberal public sphere and it seems the press plays a role in that. People who are insufficiently articulate or insufficiently confident to take place in the public speech, the press can give them a voice. But there are also some very well-known instrumental benefits of the press. So it's a very important check on political power and other forms of power. It's an importance also of education and an important means of enabling democratic decision-making.

    I suppose I think these principles give us some -- they point towards some policies. They point towards having a diverse press and they also point towards, I think, not having too much of a limit on press freedom.

    I'm wary of saying more, I have to say. Can I say more about why I'm being tentative? I'd quite like to.

  • It's partly just personal -- my own research is on the philosophical foundations of the principles not the institutions, but I think there is also an interesting philosophical point here, which is that I think the route from a foundational principle to a particular institutional way of realising that principle is not at all direct. I think there will be different ways of realising different underlying principles and a lot will depend on the context.

    An example from a different area might be something like lay participation in criminal trials. So I think -- and here I've been influence by my colleague Anthony Duff's work, and his view is that the criminal trials should be seen as a situation where you hold the defendant answerable to the public at large. I like that view of a trial, and then the thought is: how do we make the institutions of trial represent the public at large? And there are various ways of doing it. You could have lay juries or you could have lay judges or magistrates or other ways of doing of doing it, and I think it's very difficult to determine -- a lot will depend on the context and the history and what we consider most symbolically important in our society to work out which way of doing it is most important and is going to work best.

  • Thank you. The public interest in a free press, it is clear, in your view, should be balanced or limited by other rights and other interests.

  • But what is the algorithm for doing that?

  • There is none, I'm afraid. That's -- I think, in a way, that's the point I was trying to make a minute ago. There isn't algorithm for getting from principles to particular institutions.

    I think something we could bear in mind is the particular symbolic importance of particular principles that we already have. So take the principle that journalists shouldn't be compelled to reveal their sources. I'm tentative for the reason I mentioned before, but speaking tentatively, it seems to me that we might think: well, in the UK, this is a principle that we all think of as very central to our liberal society and perhaps if we lived in a different society, we should be more willing to limit that principle than we should in the UK because of its historic importance. So that might be one of the contextual factors that would make a difference to where and how we decide to implement the underlying principles.

  • May I take that one example?

  • Under clause 14 of the existing Editors' Code practice, it says:

    "Journalists have a moral obligation to protect confidential sources of information."

  • Is that helpful language without more? By reference to a moral obligation, is that an absolute moral obligation? Is it a qualified moral obligation? How would we begin to analyse that?

  • That's a good question. I think -- two things strike me about it immediately. One is that if it's a moral obligation, as I said earlier, it doesn't follow that it's therefore a legal obligation, or even that it should be a legal obligation, although for the reasons I was saying about the symbolic important of that particular provision, I think maybe it should be.

  • Well, there are exceptions.

  • Yes, of course. Of course, sorry. That was the second thing that I was going to say, which is that saying something is a moral obligation and that it should be restricted in law doesn't imply it's exceptionless, and I think there are very, very few moral obligations that are exceptionless. Possibly the obligation not to torture. Very few indeed, actually, though the cases for exceptions will depend on the importance of the particular obligation.

    And I think it's also important to really that if you do see in as an exception case where a violation of an obligation is justified -- if you see it as genuinely like that, rather than a case where the obligation has just vanished, then you're still going to need to redress an explanation and things like this to the person whose obligation you're violating.

  • Couched in those terms, the moral obligation to protect confidential sources, one may be forgiven for thinking: well, that is an absolute obligation. Maybe not? It's not made expressly subject to any other competing rights, privileges or --

  • But as a matter of law, there are circumstances in which the law will require a journalist to reveal a source. The journalist then, of course, always has a choice: either to reveal the source in accordance with the law or not to, but then face the consequences of failing to comply with the order of the court.

  • Yes. There might sometimes be cases where the morally appropriate thing to do is not to reveal and then to be punished for it. I think that could be right sometimes but not always. I suspect with that one, it will depend on the powerful interests at stake. The kind of examples philosophers tend to get drawn into are things like: suppose the existence of an entire city is at stake and it's going to be destroyed. I'm wary of being drawn into those kind of examples. I think they can mislead us.

  • That's the torture example.

  • Indeed. I think they can be misleading and can be misused and people can too readily think: well, we're in one of these extreme circumstances so let's not worry about violating the right. I think we have to be very, very careful about thinking of those sorts of cases.

  • You said a few moments ago that the link is not direct.

  • I understand that, because there is no direct correlation between the right or duty on the one hand and the potential mechanism for if not enforcing, at least encouraging compliance on the other.

  • But can you assist me in relation to the issues that are likely to have to be considered when making that journey, and also as to the type of structure that is best placed to making the appropriate balance, having regard to all those considerations?

  • Yes. Yes. I can say a little. I have to confess I don't know if it will assist you very much, I'm afraid, but I can say a little.

  • Don't worry about that. It's not stopped anyone else in the last nine months.

  • The little I can say is that my own view is that because of the importance of a free press and the cultural importance of thinking we live in a nation with a free press, moving too quickly to something that looks like legal enforcement of these duties would be worrying, and it seems to me that -- I've seen some of the proposals around, so things like have self-regulation with a statutory backstop. I've seen some of these proposals. I mean, I think things like that could strike the right balance and to do so -- I think the thing I'd want to stress would be the importance of making it clear that this kind of regulation involves answerability to the public. It seems to me that's perhaps the thing that struck me as following most directly from the principles I outlined, that the press plays this very important role in constituting a public sphere and because of that, it should be answerable to the public for that role.

    So if you're going for something like the statutory backstop to self-regulation idea --

  • Or underpinning, rather than --

  • If that's what you meant.

  • Yes. I assume it is. I think you need to make it clear that it's answerability here to the public. So in my view, that involves lay involvement at some level, either in the body that assesses self-regulatory mechanisms or somewhere else.

  • Or it may be inimical to the concept of the word "self", that it is actually to be by the public.

  • Yes. Though I suppose -- something I'd add is it shouldn't only be by the public. I would be suspicious of something that was too adversarial, in the sense that you have the regulators by the public and then you have the press and the two were separate. I think one of the problems with that model is it can lead the press to think: "Well, they set the moral limits, that is a sort of separate issue for them, and we'll just live within them." I think part of what we want to do is to encourage the press to see their ethical moral duties as part of their own professional conduct, and I know most members of the press do; I'm not saying they don't.

  • No, no, it's much more important than that. You couldn't just have the public, not least because of the risk that the press would say, "Well, that's what these individuals think. We don't agree and we're just going to ignore it."

  • No, indeed, indeed. I just wanted to stress I think it needs to involve both parties. It needs to involve people from inside the press as well as from the public, but it needs to be visibly answerable to the public.

  • And independent, in the sense that people should not -- or do you think it doesn't matter whether, as it were -- the phrase that's been used in the Inquiry -- they're marking their own homework?

  • Yes, I think that would be -- that would be problematic. On the other hand, I think you'd want -- my sense is you want at least some of them in there to stop it seeming too adversarial, but you also want the public in there and you want it to be visibly independent of government and the state as well.

  • In terms of the sort of principles which would underlie a system of press regulation, you describe these on page 5 of your report, our page 00882.

  • The second paragraph.

  • "Matters such as requiring media to accompany stories with details of payments made to or received from members of the public in return for publishing the story ... requiring editors' and proprietors' political and financial interests to be registered publicly ..."

    Those sound like arguably very sensible, pragmatic solutions but what's the philosophical underpinning for those solutions?

  • I think the philosophical underpinning is the thought that the press is one of the main determinants of the formal structure of the public sphere, the sphere in which we all can have our say about how we live together, and in this way it's not that unlike government. So the thought is: the kind of things we require other public bodies to fulfil, maybe we should think about extending them to the press.

    But I'd like to add two qualifiers, if I may.

  • One is simply the same qualifier about tentativeness, the same thought that I don't think you can take the philosophical principles and crank a handle and get out a policy proposal from it. I think a lot depends on the particular symbolic importance of thinking we live in a free society and I think we have to bear that in mind.

    The second qualifier is that you might think some of these requirements are things we do place on publicly funded bodies but the press aren't publicly funded, they're privately funded, and I won't want to suggest nationalisation of the press. So I think there's an interesting tension there, actually, between their status as private and as public and that has to be borne in mind when looking at these proposals.

  • Their status as private bodies does not, of course, mean that they should be free from all regulation.

  • It's a question of balance. It might be said that if the press acts in the public interest and in that sense it's a public body, one of the principles which should therefore apply to it is the principle of accountability, and from that you can derive the specific subprinciples which we can see in the second paragraph on page 5. Is that a fair analysis?

  • That is a fair analysis, but there's a "but", I'm afraid, as well. It's a fair analysis but I don't think we can draw these lines very sharply, so I think there will be private businesses that don't have as overtly a public role as the press where we might also think they play a sort of public role. You might think large supermarkets are like this, just because they make a very big difference to the kind of public sphere we occupy, and I don't think they need to be subject to exactly the same public requirements as the government.

    I think's more of a sort of continuum, I would want to suggest, than a sharp line where you say, "These are public bodies and these aren't", and the press falls sort of near that line and it is a public body but -- yeah.

  • Another pragmatic idea -- you advance this in the third paragraph, halfway along:

    "One possible change to support greater respect for current law would be to increase the legal responsibilities of proprietors, editors and directors for the actions of their employees ..."

    That would have knock-on advantages, but what's the philosophical principle underlying that?

  • This is one of those cases where it seemed pretty clear to me that there are ethical duties here that aren't being respected. Whether we should use law to enforce them -- here I'm suggesting we do -- again, I think we need to be tentative. But the thought was that there seems to be -- one of the cultural difficulties at the moment is the sense that directors and managers are not very willing to identify with the thing they direct or manage and that this might be one way of increasing that identification so that you feel genuine shame if your body -- by "your body", I mean your corporate entity for which you manage -- if that does something wrong, even if it wasn't your fault in an individual sense.

    So that's the purpose of the suggestion, and I would want to add to it that idea that it's one of those cases where we have a clear ethical duty. Should we have a legal duty here? Perhaps; perhaps not. I think we have to think about the knock-on effects of it and that's something where someone with legal expertise to follow that through should come in.

  • May we turn to another important area, such as a code of conduct.

  • I was thinking -- sorry, just one more point on that, that last thing, which just occurred to me. I'm not sure this is actually so relevant to you, but I think it's worth mentioning, is I think the level of pay for directors is relevant to this too. I think if you think of people in charge of large organisations as people who you have to recruit through a huge amount of pay, then you're not recruiting them for the intrinsic good of being part of this organisation and doing it for its own sake, and so I think there's a sort of tension in society, evidenced both by that and by the need to give directors more legal responsibility for what they do.

  • I'd be very grateful if you didn't draw me into the topic of directors' pay.

  • That's why I thought it may not be the relevant thing here.

  • Okay. Code of conduct. You deal with this in the general context, as it were, under question 8 and then more specifically in relation to the current code --

  • -- in section 9, but we're going to dwell a bit on section 9 or question 9. Could I ask you, please, though -- question 8, your page 7, our page 00884 --

  • -- to develop the point that you're making there, please?

  • Okay. There were two paragraphs to question 8 and the first paragraph just restates what I see as the fundamental principles underlying the importance of freedom of the press. So on the one hand the press' role in constituting a public sphere in which we can take part as equals; on the other hand, importance of constraining power and enabling democratic decision-making.

    Then in the second paragraph, I talk about media organisations being answerable to a public body because of their role in shaping the public sphere and I suggest that we shouldn't take this as a very demanding role. We're not saying the press' sole role is to enable democratic decision-making, is to hold the government to account. I think that would be much too demanding and it overlooks that first thing I said, which is that the press just creates a public sphere, it's part of the creation of that, and we want it to be a free public sphere, so we don't want to say the press has to do X and has to do Y, but nonetheless we want to make sure it doesn't undermine or distort the instrumental ends that it could achieve, such as holding government to account or enabling democratic decision-making.

    So the idea here is that we shouldn't censor -- censure the press -- hold them to account or criticise them for failing to promote democracy but if they distort or pervert democratic decision-making then we could rightly, I think, hold them to account for that because of their very important role in enabling such decision-making.

  • You then have to define what you mean by "distort" and "pervert", which actually carries with it an enormous value judgment.

  • Indeed. No, indeed, indeed. As a philosopher, I'm tempted just to say "indeed" and duck the difficult issue and leave that respectfully for you, but I don't know, and I think -- let me think. I suppose the idea I had in mind by "promoting" would be things like a press that took it on itself to explicitly outline the different parties' policies and to help readers work out which one they would go for, and I certainly don't think we need to see the press as doing that.

    Distorting or perverting? I suppose lying about a central party policy might be one sort of case like that. Central political party policy. Misleading the public about a crime committed by a central politician might be another case. But these would have to be cases of sort of knowingly misleading. I'm not saying if you suspect this that you should be criticised for following up your suspicions but that sort of thing.

  • The code of practice as currently constituted makes it clear that the press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information.

  • I think we can agree about that. But then the press is free to be partisan.

  • So being partisan might, according to some, be liable to distort or pervert the democratic process. But the press is nonetheless free to do that. Do you see a difficulty there?

  • Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, I do. I think this relates to the point I mentioned about the diversity of the press. If the press is going to play this role of giving a voice to people in the public sphere, then it's important it can represent the diversity in the public sphere.

    It's not clear -- well, it's clear to me that that shouldn't require that every newspaper has to cover the broad range of party political opinions or anything like that, but you might think it does support making sure that there's not a monopoly of opinion, that all the press speak with one voice.

  • So one would need other levers aside from the code to ensure a plural press?

  • I think so. I think so. That was my sense, looking at the code, that it's not there to create a diverse press. That's for someone else -- some other aspect of (inaudible).

  • You look at a number of specific points on the code under which 9.

  • This is on your page 8, our page 00885. You say:

    "First of all, the code could do more to require proprietors, editors and journalist to declare their financial and also their political interests and to declare these to readers as well as editors."

    I don't think the code does anything to require proprietors, editors and journalist to do that.

  • Is there not, in this context though, a significant difference between financial interests -- and here we mean the financial interests of the proprietors -- and the political interests? Because if we were to require proprietors to declare their political interests, wouldn't we be interfering with their freedom to be partisan?

  • Mm. I think by declaring political interests, what I had in mind was something like a declaration that this newspaper is going to support this party, if it is, and these sorts of things. I mean, newspapers often do that anyway, but -- but that was the sort of thing -- I'm not sure whether there's a sharp distinction here between financial and political interests. I certainly felt the code could do a lot more to require declarations of financial interests. I was quite surprised that section 13(2) only required journalists to declare financial interests to their editors and not even to readers, if you're -- I think there's something there which says that.

  • That seems really insufficient.

  • That's where they're writing about shares or securities and whose performance they know.

  • So it's the specific context of financial journalism.

  • No, indeed. That's specifically financial journalism. That just struck me -- for political interests -- yes, I'm not sure. I think it depends whether a requirement could be found that was workable without being too restrictive, and you're right, we certainly wouldn't want to require -- we wouldn't want to limit the press so that it couldn't be partisan so long as we have a sufficiently diverse press, I think.

  • One important point you make in the third paragraph, you say:

    "Although several aspects of the code cover duties owed to readers, the idea that ethical behaviour by the press involves treating readers respectfully could be made nor explicit."

    The first point I suppose one could ask you about is why the concept of respect is so important?

  • And secondly, why limit it to readers? Why not anybody who might be adversely affected by the lack of respect?

  • Yes. I don't think it should be limited to readers, actually. I think it was -- I was thinking about readers in that paragraph of the submission and I was thinking about section 1, which is the point I think where they talk about respect for the truth, and it seemed to me that could be thought of as respect partly for readers.

    But why respect? That's a good question. My sense is that that is the concept that -- that that is the fundamental moral concept here that goes along with duties. You respect people -- when you respect people, you're doing your duty to them. I wanted to use that concept partly for reasons I think I mentioned earlier in the written submission and partly because I think that's interestingly distinct, though related, from the concept of harm. I think sometimes you can harm people while respecting people. Sometimes respecting people requires you to harm them. You have to tell them unpleasant truths, these sorts of things.

    So I wanted to make it clear that the duties we're thinking about -- ethical duties of newspapers -- is not that whenever they're harming someone, there's a duty that's been violated and that when you have people whose interests or wellbeing are going to be interestingly in conflict, you have a conflict, therefore, of duties. Sometimes you can respect someone and that still involves harming them.

  • Yes, but there has to be a countervailing benefit, if it is true respect. So if I take your example of the bad news: a doctor tells a patient that he or she is suffering from a serious illness. Well, there's a corresponding right in the patient to know --

  • Yes, that's right. No, that is right, and I think that's definitely -- I believe that, but I think we then need to notice that the benefit we're talking about here might not be benefit in any obvious sense of wellbeing or happiness. So I might benefit by learning I only have nine months to live, but even if that makes me much more miserable, even if I would have had a happier final nine months by not knowing it, I still think I benefit, but I think it's a rather morally loaded conception of benefit there. It is not necessarily --

  • Well, it's one of the things that has gone through the ethical considerations of doctors, whereas years and years ago the medical view was different --

  • -- as to what should be explained.

  • The whole concept of informed consent has developed --

  • -- over recent years and indeed got legal ramifications associated with it.

  • But there has to be something on the other side. If there's nothing on the other side --

  • -- then there is no counterbalance.

  • Yes, no, no, I completely agree, I completely agree. I think the reason I'm stressing this is out of an attempt to avoid the kind of muddled thinking which I -- where I think you think: "This is going to make this person happier so I have a duty to do it, or this is going to make this person have a life that is worse in simply subjective terms of how it feels, and therefore it counts as something I have a duty not to do." It seems to me that the kind of benefits we want to focus on include the kind you're drawing attention to, where it's a benefit of knowing the truth about something, even if that actually makes my life get worse in the sense of my subjective feelings.

    I just wanted to draw attention to that partly in order to stress that I think sometimes where it looks like there's a tension between respect for readers and respect for subjects of stories that's not necessarily true. Have I got time to just say a moment about that?

  • So I think I had in mind the following thoughts. Suppose that most of us are interested in some grubby detail of some politician's private life. In some sense, you might think that's therefore a matter of public interest but I think that would be wrong. You might also think that what we have to do here is, on the one hand, balance respect for the politician's privacy with respect for what everyone -- everyone wanting to know it. And I just wanted to try and make clear that I think the bare fact we want to know it, it doesn't mean it's really in our interests or going to benefit us. I think if we thought about it in a quiet moment -- do we want to be the kind of people who know this grubby detail? Sometimes we do. Sometimes it's relevant and necessary to their ability to pursue their duties, but if it's simply knowing it for its own sake as a matter of nosiness, I'm not sure we would all think we really want that and therefore I'm not sure it's really in our interests and therefore I'm not sure it's really a matter of balancing the readers' interests against the politician's interests. The reader doesn't really have an interest.

    That's not to say the press shouldn't be allowed to publish that. They probably should in a liberal society. I think it depends on the case. But I don't think it has to be seen as a matter of conflicting interests.

  • Thank you. You made some observations about the public interest exception in the code.

  • A couple of points. We can see from the code that -- and this is dealing with the asterisked -- main provisions in the code --

  • -- where the exceptions are to the clauses which are asterisked, but there's said to a public interest in freedom of expression itself.

  • What's your view about that consideration, apart from its apparently tautologous or circular nature?

  • Yes, I think it's true and maybe that's because it doesn't tell us much. I had a worry about it, which was the fact that freedom of expression is in the public interest -- and it clearly is -- it doesn't follow that every instance of expression is in the public interest, as I'm sure you're all aware.

    I should be clear -- there clearly are cases where expression should be limited, cases such as incitement to violence or slander or bad advertising, misleading advertising might be another, and so I thought it perhaps didn't really add very much to say there's a public interest in freedom of expression in itself and would be misleading if it was taken to suggest that that sort of licences every expression.

  • Can I ask you to explain the point you're making in the penultimate paragraph about distinction in degrees of normativity?

  • Yeah. This was just from my own reading of the code. It looked as if there were only two degrees of normativity in the code. Either you had a star and exceptions could be made on public interest grounds for exceptional cases where you can violate the code's requirements or it didn't have a star and no exceptions could be made.

    I thought if you ignore all the detail and just think: is it helpful to have a code with those two degrees of normativity -- it probably is quite helpful to have something simply like that, not to have too much complexity. I suggested in my written statement that a characterisation of the values that should underpin journalism might be helpful too, but I don't think we should go to the point of saying: here's best practice in journalism, here's the best kind of journalism, we should insist on that all the time. I think that would go against the reasons for having a liberal public sphere that I mentioned at the start which underpins the importance of a free press.

    But I think having just made it two degrees of normativity and a list of values seemed to me that that might get the right sort of helpful -- helpful distinctions.

  • Thank you. That's very helpful, Dr Cruft. Those are all the questions I have for you.

  • It is helpful. I'm very conscious, as I said to your predecessors, that asking people to come and talk about these concepts off the top of their head is quite difficult and may mean that when you reflect on what you've said that, you've not quite expressed yourself as you may have wished. So if, as you reflect upon it, if you wish to reflect upon it, which you may not, if you want to add in ignore to what you've said, you're very welcome to do so.

  • I'm very grateful to you for the time that you've given the Inquiry.

  • Thank you for inviting me. Thank you.

  • Would you wish to rise for two minutes?

  • (A short break)

  • Sir, the next witness is Professor Megone. Tab 49.