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

I'm very pleased how many science journalists supported our recommendation for guidelines because ten years ago the scientific community recommended guidelines and they were very fiercely rejected by journalists. But actually most of the science journalists themselves say that these guidelines would help them to win the arguments with their editors and their news desks about the kind of prominence to give to these stories.

So I think as long as the science reporters were involved in drafting those, they could then be used for training, for editors and subeditors and general news reporters as a part and parcel of journalist accreditation. They could also be used by a PCC or a strengthened PCC to adjudicate on a complaint.

So I think that's probably our most solid proposal, apart from that Leveson has given us this wonderful opportunity to step back and just to dream about the kind of culture change in newsrooms which would eradicate many of the problems. Most scientists owe a huge debt to our newspapers for communicating science. There's actually quite a small amount that needs to be done to really assuage their main concerns and to stop damaging the public interest. I do -- you know, the whole theme of this Inquiry is about public interest, and I have to say sometimes it doesn't matter but sometimes it really does. With the example of MMR, with the examples of GM, which is a technology that the British public and policy-makers have rejected based on inaccurate claims about its damage to human health -- you know, these things matter.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech