We believe that all of this is because of the high professional standards the Telegraph insists upon from its journalists. And -- and this is important -- in the unlikely event that it were to find itself with, if I can put it this way, one rogue reporter, the Telegraph has strict financial and editorial governance systems. These would quite simply make it impossible for such a reporter to pay private investigators to gather information illegally or to pay bribes.
You, sir, I know, appreciate that not all British newspapers are open to the sorts of charges of malpractice that led to this Inquiry being established. The Telegraph is a prime example of one which is not. But it is important also that the public and our politicians understand that this is the case and that we start from that understanding.
With those introductory comments, I turn to my and your first heading: the culture, practices and ethics of the press.
It's logical to consider first the historical issues identified at subparagraphs 1(c) and 1(d) of your terms of reference, namely the extent to which the current regulatory framework has failed and the extent to which there was a failure to act on previous warnings about media misconduct.
As to the current regulatory framework, that is by now, of course, well known. PressBoF, the Press Board of Finance, raises funding from the industry to support the system of self-regulation in its entirety. You've heard evidence indicating that it's been very successful in doing this in the years since its inception in 1990. Over £30 million-worth of funding has been provided to the Press Complaints Commission via PressBoF during this period. It's funded the PCC in full against agreed budgets.
This is not something to be sniffed at in times when public funding for regulators is under serious pressure as a result of the financial crisis.
The PCC deals with complaints but the rules applied in doing so are written and updated by editors in the Editors' Code Committee, a subcommittee of PressBoF. TMG, as you know, is a strong supporter of the Editors' Code.
Now the evidence on the topic has concluded, we would suggest a number of key points need to be remembered about the Code.
First and most importantly, the Code has received widespread acceptance across the industry during its time in existence. We would suggest that that is precisely because it is drafted by editors who are working in newspapers and magazines and who understand how they operate.
Secondly, this process permits the Code to be updated regularly to keep pace with developments, both in society and in the industry, and indeed the continuous flow of PCC adjudications. This can happen without undue formality or delay under the current system.
Thirdly, in 1998, Parliament enacted section 12(4) of the Human Rights Act, requiring courts to take account of any relevant privacy code when considering whether to grant relief which might affect the right to freedom of expression.
The relevant provisions of the Editors' Code had only recently been updated to comply with the contemporary European Convention on Human Rights standards, and Parliament did so. It enacted section 12(4) with the privacy provisions of the Code in mind, and that surely represents a valuable endorsement of the Code.
It's easy to forget the numerous specific achievements of the Editors' Code Committee. For example, you, sir, I'm sure will recall, as many of us who practised in the 1980s and 1990s will, that witnesses at criminal trials were very often bought up by certain newspapers.
This presented problems for the administration of justice, in particular as to their credibility at trial. The Editors' Code Committee introduced clear and tough rules, now under paragraph 15, setting out the limited -- extremely limited -- circumstances in which such payments might justifiably be made. These rules have been complied with and since then that particular problem -- one of that age, if I can put it that way -- has effectively disappeared.
Secondly, the rules on subterfuge were revised in 2007 following the Goodman/Mulcaire convictions to cover the activities of journalistic sources and agents, such as private detectives. That's paragraph 10(2). And successive updates of the Code, as I say, responding to concerns about newspaper activities, have protected both children and hospital patients when the subject of press activity.
The predecessor of the PCC, the Press Council, had not managed to introduce an editorial code at all, and it's easy to lose sight of the effect that the Editors' Code has had more generally since 1990 in changing practices in the vast majority of newsrooms. Where an issue arises that is covered by the Code, the relevant provisions are considered and applied in most newsrooms. It does not seem to us that any of the evidence you have had would contradict that proposition. Certainly so at the Telegraph, where, as Mr MacLennan told you, the journalists live by the Code.
It's important to remember that this process has raised standards considerably across this period from 1990 to date. What it's done is to enable occasions of malpractice to be identified and characterised as being, quote, "in breach of the Code", and that in turn has created a culture in which, in the vast majority of cases, ethical breaches are noted, responded to swiftly and rectified effectively and prominently by the newspaper concerned.
PressBoF also guarantees the existence and development of the Press Complaints Commission.
The latter point, continuous development of the bodies within the regulatory framework as well as the rules, is an important aspect of a system created by the industry and independent of statute.
It can keep recreating itself under its own arrangements. Thus, during the same period, PressBoF has, for example, extended the remit of the PCC beyond print news publication to cover online newspapers and magazines. It has introduced public appointments procedures for membership. It's strengthened the lay majority on the Press Complaints Commission. It's introduced public consultation into the annual reviews of the Editors' Code, and in 2007 extended the PCC's remit to cover editorial audiovisual content that now appears on newspaper and magazine websites.
It has been said that the evolution of the PCC has not been quick enough or far-reaching enough, and with hindsight the Telegraph would not disagree with that. The point we make here is simply that this sort of evolution can happen efficiently and organically under a system established and accepted by the industry.