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

If you look back at the coverage of phone hacking, look, it's clearly the case that the Guardian broke that original story in the summer of 2009. We followed that story immediately the following day. We had a story up online by lunchtime, another story in the paper the following day. Through the course of the months that followed, we covered it too, and occasionally on the front page.

What changed, of course, was when it emerged that the News of the World appeared to have hacked into the voicemails of Milly Dowler. Then the way in which we thought about what was happening or what had happened at the News of the World fundamentally changed, and that was not just about how widespread it was, but about the nature of the journalistic inquiry there. And after that, what you saw is that we covered that story on the front page every day, day in and day out, for the better part of three weeks.

We not only did that in the pages of the paper; we also ran leaders that criticised the News of the World for not just its methods but whether or not it had lost its moral bearings. We criticised News International for its catastrophic handling of it and we criticised Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch for overseeing an inadequate corporate culture that allowed this to happen.

So I guess behind your question there is always a question of whether or not we really address the stories, whether we call it as we see it. I think in this case what you saw was we did exactly that, and I should say to the credit of the proprietors that they never raised a finger to stop us doing so.

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