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

There are two ways of looking at public interest because Angela mentioned another one. You can try and say what is the information that falls within the category that is fulfilling the public interest? The other aspect of it, which is probably quite important to what we've been discussing, is: is the journalism being done in a responsible, serious way? Those are obviously subjective terms, but the Nicholls principles to which Angela referred just now are a slightly different thing to Steve's shopping list there. That's a list of basically benchmark checks about whether the journalism has properly been done. I think it depends on the use you're making of the definition of the public interest, but both of these aspects of it are important.

Can I just also underline Steve's point about how people do understand very easily what the public interest does? I think it was the IPPR did research in 2002 or 2003 and they asked a lot of focus groups -- they showed them a lot of journalism of varied kinds and said, "Is this in the public interest?" The research -- which I'm summarising very crudely -- basically said it was extremely easy for people to decide this and they had a very consistent basis for doing it without any prior guidance.

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