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

I agree, and clearly that's the topic of the Inquiry, and I think it's worth remarking that if you look at parliamentary journalism, if you think about speaking truth to power and you think about where power is actually held and exercised in this country -- one would hope it would be by Parliament. It's democratic seats. Parliamentary coverage has fallen by about 95 per cent in the mainstream press from the second half of the 20th century to today. We've gone from 10,000 words a day in the Times and the Guardian down to about 500 on a good day. So I think the press is, in all sorts of respects, failing to fulfil that consistent role of speaking truth to power.

But I think it comes back to my original point, that it's important to get the law right. We want the individual campaigner to be able to be confident that they can pursue that story. We want the press to be aware that if they choose not to pursue a story or they pursue a story in a way which we are unhappy with as a society and we want legal redress against that, that that redress will be forthcoming.

One of the huge problems in this instance is actually the pocket, the depth of the pocket. It's not simply that the Telegraph can in some way bully government. The Telegraph is still -- you know, they largely follow the laws of the land. I have no objection to the Telegraph. But they have a much deeper pocket than an individual campaigner, and lawyers have similarly hungry pockets for what newspapers can provide.

So I think there is a real problem here with legal costs as well. I think, you know, there's a lot in this Inquiry of seeking to hold journalists to account. It would be interesting to hold lawyers and the legal industry to account as well. I mean, research in libel has shown that the average cost of a libel trial in this jurisdiction is 140 times greater than the average cost across the EU.

So I think there are some real issues here about access to justice on the part of the individual.

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