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

I think certainly formal interview. I think it would be reasonable for it to be in the public domain that the Prime Minister or a Cabinet Minister had met an owner, an editor, commentator, reporter, for that matter, although the reporter would very often reflect that meeting had taken place.

I think that one enters into a much more difficult area where one talks about more casual meetings, and the kind of chat, if you will, sometimes social or even friendly -- friendly acquaintance kind of banter and chat that goes on constantly between contacts and journalists. In my experience, both working here and abroad, one gathers at least as much information from -- very often accidentally, by chance, something comes up which you had not gathered before -- from these off-the-record friendly, informal occasions as you do from what, after all, is, on the part of the interviewee, something which has been well prepared.

So I think to regulate that would be adverse to both the freedom of the press, press freedom, and to the public interest, because it is from that huge undergrowth of contacts between journalists and people of all kinds -- in business, in politics, in institutions -- that one gets the first intimation of important stories, and indeed very often how they are developing, how important are they, what is being said in this or that circle, what is coming up, who is up, who is down.

These things are very rarely the subject of formal interviews but they do exist in this substratum, into which journalists must link if they are to keep abreast of the areas which they cover.

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