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

I think it's fair to say subterfuge has played a part in most journalistic careers to one degree or another. In particular, I remember an instance where we sent a male and female reporter to investigate a new swingers club just off Prince's Street and of course they were not swingers and had to pass themselves off as swingers, but that was not something which we had any great moral debate about as to whether or not this was something worth exposing in the public interest.

It is true to say that custom and practice in newsrooms has been to discuss these things and then go on and do it, and not to note it, not to minute it and not to maintain a paper trail. I'm fully aware that that is something which is now -- if not changing, it has changed, and the new guidelines for the industry as a whole will be that any form of subterfuge that requires a public interest justification must have a paper trail so that, as you say, things gone wrong or something that happens that shouldn't have happened, that there is an audit that can be referred to so that the process can be scrutinised quickly and effectively.

But, you know, there are elements of subterfuge which, you know, are at the frivolous end. We had a discussion amongst Johnston Press editors not that long ago whereby the one of the daily papers said, "What about my secret diner feature? Is that now off limits because I'm using subterfuge?" So it goes from that right the way up to the Daily Telegraph reporters purporting to be members of the public to get information out of Members of Parliament at their surgeries, right the way down to that, so it may seem trivial, but it's not, that the tightening up of subterfuge rules and regulations has an effect over all kinds of different things which the industry up until now and the readers would have regarded as just part and parcel of what we do: exposing things, finding out things which otherwise might not reach the public's attention.

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