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

If you look at the case of Christopher Jefferies, he sued eight newspapers and you've heard how he was monstered. He sued eight newspapers and they paid -- we don't know what the sum was, but the legal gossip is something less than £500,000 between them. They had a field day with his life for three days over the quiet new year weekend. If I do the sums right, the average was that it cost each of them £20,000 a day. That's good business. It sounds like Christopher Jefferies has had justice, but it doesn't affect the way in which the newspapers are likely to proceed in the future.

And indeed if you project it into the past, what happened to Christopher Jefferies is not all that different to what happened to Robert Murat who sued a lot of news organisations. It's not all that different although it was much more slow motion than what happened to Kate and Gerry McCann, who sued.

Suing may get you what looks like a headline sum of money in damages, but it is not forcing the newspaper industry to think about its own culture in any way. They can pay these sums of money and move on. Indeed, you heard Gerry McCann argue that they actually make a profit overall in some of these cases.

That's not good enough. It's not finding where the wheels have come off and saying we need to tighten these bolts.

So I come back to the idea that some sort of post-mortem process has to be introduced into the proceedings and I think an investigative arm, which was proposed by the Media Select Committee in 2009, is an important standards element for a regulator.

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