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

What's known as the paragraph 19 problem, common enough to have its own name. But what that highlights is the lack of a positive duty in clause 1 of the code.

What we don't have in the code is an expectation that the role of journalism is to provide its readers with the best available version of the truth, which is a phrase in common use among journalists, and absolutely the right expectation for what journalists should strive to do. And when we're assessing accuracy, we should be asking the question of have we here succeeded in providing the best available version of the truth, and we should have that as our ambition.

If you had that in place, of course paragraph 19 would be a clearcut case. What you've effectively done is a sleight of hand there. You're playing tricks. You're saying here's an exciting story and then you're saying at the end well actually no it's not. That may not be inaccurate within the purely negative terms of current code of practice, but it is nonetheless failing to inform your audience and if that was the expectation set forward in clause 1, then a lot of these playing tricks, playing to the letter of the law rather than to the spirit of the law, would go. Would be very easily dealt with.

I think time and time again, our frustration with the existing system is that it seems to assume good faith on the part of newspapers which just isn't there.

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