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

Point absolutely taken, sir. I mean, what I would say -- two things. One is a practical, one is a broad one. There is already, correct me if I'm wrong, an assumption of a requirement in good journalism to test your story or test your supposition against the person about whom you are writing in any Reynolds defence, which is broader than simply in cases of libel. It is obviously good journalism, if I'm writing about someone, to get their point of view before you write it. But there may well be cases when, for absolutely legitimate journalistic reasons, you cannot and should not do that. If you're exposing corruption and you know they are going to slap a story -- I mean, what sometimes happened in politics -- and again, it may not happen now, I'm not qualified to judge -- was you go back to a spin doctor or a minister and say, "I understand this and this and this is happening", and they'll just go and give the story to a rival just to spike your gun. So there were often non-legal but editorial reasons for not doing that.

But on prior notification, we just took, as did the British government, an absolutely strong view in Strasbourg that prior notification is deeply as enshrined in statute -- and thankfully the European Court agreed with us. And they didn't just agree with us; they agreed with us vehemently. Their judgment was unequivocal on that.

You just need to read, as we have written, a number -- those countries that currently require prior notification in statute: Albania, Azerbaijan, Latvia, Lithiania, Moldova, Poland, Russia and Ukraine. These are not paragons of free expression.

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