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

Sorry, I wanted to come in on a couple of points. Obviously if you take Jonathan's example of Heather Brooke and MPs' expenses and the Telegraph, there were two areas that militated against the individual and worked for the news organisation. One is the law. As Jonathan has alluded to and as to be developed later, libel and other legal areas and legal costs are just enormous, not just for individuals, and they are frightening and they are chilling, to use the free expression sense of the term, for individuals and for small publications as well, and there is another -- there is a more editorial argument, which is the pick-up, that when a story is run by a mainstream media organisation, it is deemed by broadcasters and others to have an imprimatur.

Finally in this area of weakness -- it is a statement that I used at the seminar back in October and it's one I've used in various newspaper commentaries since, and I was pleased that it was taken up by the Times in a leader article a week or so ago -- I would simply emphasise again that if you look back at the main news stories of the past decade, and you can take your pick, but whether it is issues such as weapons of mass destruction, whether it is the failings of the banks and whatever, just simply ask yourself -- and I think it's absolutely crucial to this Inquiry: did the media find out too much of what was going on or too little?

We're not here to hold a candle for the media. What we do -- what I personally and what my organisation fundamentally worries about, however, is that any misplaced increase in restrictions on the media will limit the public's right to know. That is a far bigger question than whether or not a particular newspaper can do this or that.

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