How far should individual privacy be protected from journalists?

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Submitted by Marcus on Fri, 2011-12-02 11:37

Should privacy be protected separately in law? Should phone hacking be considered to be theft of property? How about looking through someones rubbish? Do you have a right to privacy in public? Do you have a "right to privacy"?

Tricky questions these. Here is the background as to why I raise them...

As you may have read: Rupert Murdoch closed down an entire national newspaper "News of the World" because journalists had been discovered hacking into the phones of politicans, celebrities and even families affected by crime.

The public at large do not seem very upset about the privacy of politicians and celebrities being invaded, but they do care about so-called "ordinary" people. This was illustrated most starkly by the case of Milly Dowler and her family.

At the moment the UK press is one of the few remaining industries to be unregulated by Government. Through the press complaints commission they are self-regulating.

So now there is a Government inquiry into the entire issue of Press ethics, called the Leveson Inquiry. It is expected that some sort of new regulations will result, although I hope not because Cameron said he favoured self-regulation and the freedom of the press. However, such public and political pressure may be brought to bear that he may have to do something unfortunately.

A British tabloid Journalist from news of the world told the inquiry this week that "privacy is for paedos".

Another Journalist, a columnist for the Daily Express, Carol Sarler, was on the radio this week...defending the phone hacking too. She said that Journalists do a better job than the incompetent police to expose criminals and wrongdoing.

Listen to her here:

It starts at 1:11:59.

So is she right? Or is there some fundamental "right to privacy" that needs to be enforced here?

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PCC chair says he has media backing for self-regulation plan

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PCC chair says he has widespread media backing for self-regulation plan

Lord Hunt says contract system should be introduced after publication of Leveson report.

"The head of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), Lord Hunt, has said there is widespread agreement within the media for a proposed new self-regulation body he is arguing should be introduced in the wake of the Leveson report into press standards, which is published on Thursday.

Asked whether he had secured agreement for his plan, which he hopes will see off the requirement for a regulatory system backed up by statutory powers, Hunt said this was the case. "I've had one-to-one meetings with all publishers, who cover thousands of editors," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme, saying this covered local and regional titles as well as the national press. "They have all said they would sign up. This would be the first time ever that we have a binding in to a legal system through contracts."

Such a regulator would have considerably more powers than the much-criticised PCC, Hunt said: "It's got to have teeth. That's probably why no one has ever set it up till now, because there hasn't been the willingness. There is now a willingness."

As well as the power to impose fines on newspapers and to send in teams to investigate possible breaches the new regulator would also have an "arbitral arm", giving members of the public easy access to restitution over what they saw as wrong or unfair coverage, he said.

Leaving the decisions to parliament would be risky, Hunt argued: "It's the choice between a free press with independent regulation or a lengthy parliamentary battle with an uncertain outcome about state regulation."

Britain's press must remain free

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Britain's press must remain free

For all their faults, journalists provide a vital role in a democracy that would be lost if politicians were allowed to regulate them.

"Speaking in 1949, the year in which Britain’s first Royal Commission on the Press rejected emphatically the notion that newspapers might be improved by state intervention, Sir Winston Churchill said: “A free press is the unsleeping guardian of every other right that free men prize; it is the most dangerous foe of tyranny… Under dictatorship the press is bound to languish… But where free institutions are indigenous to the soil and men have the habit of liberty, the press will continue to be the Fourth Estate, the vigilant guardian of the rights of the ordinary citizen.”

That has been the settled view in Britain throughout the democratic era, but as they anticipate Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations for “a new and more effective way of regulating the press”, many Britons may feel tempted into sympathy for a substantially less liberal attitude towards newspaper journalism; the one promoted by the Hacked Off Campaign. It has several attributes of a winning cause. Beyond Hugh Grant’s Hollywood glamour it boasts the support of entirely innocent victims of malicious journalism...

Appropriate remedies existed in law for all the offences these journalists committed. But the culture of the industry was such that it did nothing to draw their activities to the attention of the police. This policy of culpable myopia reached a nadir when the Press Complaints Commission failed to investigate effectively hacking at the News of the World and compounded its error by issuing ill-judged criticism of The Guardian for pursuing a story of luminous importance. Regulation could not have prevented the hacking scandal; this was a criminal not a regulatory matter, but the PCC failed to draw attention to it after the event.

So, no change is not an option. There must be effective regulation of the press. A new self-regulatory system must have powers to investigate wrongdoing and to summon journalists and their editors to give evidence. It must have the power to issue fines for unethical conduct and an absolute duty to inform the police immediately if any evidence of criminality comes into its possession. It might also offer a mediation service capable of handling promptly complaints that might otherwise go to the civil courts. Above all, it must be independent from government, Parliament and state.

My concern is that Lord Justice Leveson may yet be persuaded that such a system can be supported by statute. It cannot. Though crucial, the details of the new regulatory system Britain deserves are less important than this precious constitutional principle. A Leveson Act would give politicians a foot in the door. If they dislike the way the press treats them, they could amend it in future to obtain the press they want. Soldiers call it mission creep.

Reserving such a power to Westminster would make Britain an excuse for enemies of democracy everywhere. Westminster’s statutory backing for a Press Ombudsman would become President Putin’s State Censorship Committee or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Board of Righteousness. An officially regulated press is an appalling idea. A few individuals who have our collective sympathy and who have received or will receive richly deserved compensation might enjoy the spectacle. We would all be losers."

Tim Luckhurst is Professor of Journalism at the University of Kent. His pamphlet, 'Responsibility without Power – Lord Justice Leveson’s constitutional dilemma’ is published by Abramis Academic. It will be launched today by the Free Speech Network.

France bans further publication of topless pictures of Duchess

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France bans further publication of topless pictures of Duchess

"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today won their fight to block a French magazine from republishing or selling topless photos of the royal couple in France or abroad.

The civil court at the Tribunal de Grand Instance in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, also ordered Closer magazine to hand over all files of the pictures to representatives of the royal couple within 24 hours.

Mondatori Magazines France, the glossy's publisher, faced a 10,000-euro fine for every day's delay and was ordered to pay 2,000 euros in damages., the written injunction stated.

The ruling prevents Closer, which published the pictures on Friday, from reusing them in print or on its website, as well as from selling them to markets where they have not been published. The penalty for sale of the photos was set at 100,000 euros.

Publishing of the photos, taken while the royals were on holiday in Provence on September 5, was also banned “on digital tablets”.

The pictures are already widely available on the Internet and have been printed in Ireland's Daily Star newspaper and Italy's Chi magazine.

The ruling cited article 9 of the civil code that states that “any person, whatever his fame, his present or future functions, has the right to the respect of his private life and image.”

The photos were taken from a public road several hundred metres from the private residence where the couple were staying. The court agreed that the couple “could legitimately suppose (the residence) was sheltered from prying eyes” and that the violation of their privacy was “particularly intrusive”.

It described the magazine’s use of the photos as a “brutal exhibition” of their intimacy."

Thatcher admired 'buccaneering businessmen' John Major says

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Thatcher admired 'buccaneering businessmen' John Major tells Leveson

"Former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher admired “buccaneering businessmen” who were prepared to take risks, an inquiry into press standards was told today.

Sir John Major - who succeeded Mrs Thatcher as Tory premier in 1990 - told the Leveson Inquiry that newspaper proprietors fell into that “buccaneering” category.

And Sir John said Mrs Thatcher's right-wing views appealed to national newspaper editors and proprietors.

He was speaking after being asked to outline the relationship Mrs Thatcher - now Baroness Thatcher - had with newspaper tycoon Rupert Murdoch, owner of The Sun."

Jeremy Hunt clings on after Leveson inquiry ordeal

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Jeremy Hunt clings on after Leveson inquiry ordeal

David Cameron backs culture secretary as texts reveal support for James Murdoch over BSkyB bid.

"A defiant David Cameron stood by his beleaguered culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt on Thursday evening, insisting that he had handled News Corporation's bid for BSkyB fairly despite a day of gruelling evidence at the Leveson inquiry in which it was disclosed that Hunt repeatedly contacted James Murdoch about the bid.

On 21 December 2010, hours before taking responsibility for the takeover, Hunt texted the News International chairman to congratulate him that the European commission did not object on competition grounds. Hunt texted: "Great and congrats on Brussels, just Ofcom to go!"

Even after receiving authority over the bid process, Hunt remained in contact with Murdoch via text, receiving one message on 3 March, when the culture secretary had just publicly announced he was "minded" to approve the bid, that said: "Big few days. Well played JRM." Two minutes later, Hunt replied: "Thanks think we got right solution!"

Hunt conceded that he had seen a successful takeover as vital to the future of British media, but claimed he had set this belief aside in deciding whether to grant the £8bn takeover...

Hunt conceded he had been more than sympathetic to the BSkyB bid as culture secretary saying: "I didn't think there was a major plurality issue with this acquisition."

Criticising the way Cable was handling the bid, he told Lord Justice Leveson: "We're a party that believes in the free market, in supporting enterprising companies, in government bureaucracy not getting in the way of companies that want to expand and backing people who take risks, and I think that I felt that the approach the government was taking felt inconsistent with that."

He said he saw "this bid and the potential of the bid as an opportunity to help modernise the industry so that it could carry on playing to free and vibrant role."

Hunt argued that once he was given quasi-judicial responsibility for the bid he was able not to wipe his mind clear of his previous views, but he was able to set them aside. He had repeatedly taken decisions in relation to the bid that infuriated the Murdoch empire, including referring the undertakings on BSkyB editorial independence offered by News Corp to Ofcom, the media regulator. But Harman claimed Cameron's support for Hunt was disgraceful. She said: "Jeremy Hunt should never have been given the quasi judicial role in the first place as he was biased in favour of the bid. David Cameron knew this to be the case because of the memo Hunt had sent him where he had expressed clear support for the bid.

"Hunt should not be in his job now as he has broken the ministerial code and misled Parliament. At the very least, David Cameron should refer him to the independent adviser on ministerial interests.

"David Cameron said he would stand up for high standards but he is sweeping this matter under the carpet."

Rupert Murdoch 'not fit' to lead major international company

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Rupert Murdoch 'not fit' to lead major international company, MPs conclude

Select committee also says James Murdoch showed 'wilful ignorance' of extent of phone hacking at News of the World.

"Rupert Murdoch is "not a fit person" to exercise stewardship of a major international company, a committee of MPs has concluded, in a report highly critical of the mogul and his son James's role in the News of the World phone-hacking affair.

The Commons culture, media and sport select committee also concluded that James Murdoch showed "wilful ignorance" of the extent of phone hacking during 2009 and 2010 – in a highly charged document that saw MPs split on party lines as regards the two Murdochs.

Labour MPs and the sole Liberal Democrat on the committee, Adrian Sanders, voted together in a bloc of six against the five Conservatives to insert the criticisms of Rupert Murdoch and toughen up the remarks about his son James. But the MPs were united in their criticism of other former News International employees.

The cross-party group of MPs said that Les Hinton, the former executive chairman of News International, was "complicit" in a cover-up at the newspaper group, and that Colin Myler, former editor of the News of the World, and the paper's ex-head of legal, Tom Crone, deliberately withheld crucial information and answered questions falsely. All three were accused of misleading parliament by the culture select committee...

According to minutes published by the committee, the MPs were almost unanimous in their criticism of Hinton, Myler and Crone...

The MPs said that Hinton, executive chairman of News International until December 2007, had "inexcusably" misled the committee over his role in authorising the £243,000 payout to Clive Goodman, the former royal editor convicted of phone hacking in January that year.

"We consider, therefore, that Les Hinton was complicit in the cover-up at News International, which included making misleading statements and giving a misleading picture to the committee," the MPs said.

Crone and Myler were accused of deliberately misleading the MPs on the culture select committee in 2009 and again in 2011 about their alleged knowledge that phone hacking went beyond a single "rogue reporter" at the now-closed Sunday tabloid.

"Both Tom Crone and Colin Myler deliberately avoided disclosing crucial information to the committee and, when asked to do, answered questions falsely," the MPs said in the report.

All three executives now face the prospect of being called to apologise before parliament, in a constitutional move that has not been used for almost half a century.

The report could prove especially problematic for Myler, who is only five months into his editorship at the New York Daily News.

The select committee said it would table a Commons motion asking parliament to endorse its conclusions about misleading evidence.

Myler said he stood by his evidence to the committee. "While I respect the work that the select committee has carried out, I stand by the evidence that I gave the committee. I have always sought to be accurate and consistent in what I have said to the committee," he said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

"The conclusions of the committee have, perhaps inevitably, been affected by the fragmented picture which has emerged from the various witnesses over successive appearances and by the constraints within which the committee had to conduct its procedure.

"These issues remain the subject of a police investigation and the Leveson judicial inquiry and I have every confidence that they will establish the truth in the fullness of time."

Hinton has issued a statement denying the allegations. "I am shocked and disappointed by the culture, media and sport select committee's allegations that I have misled parliament and was 'complicit' in a cover-up," he said.

"I refute these accusations utterly. I have always been truthful in my dealings with the committee and its findings are unfounded, unfair and erroneous.

"To be clear, not once in my testimony before the committee did I seek to mislead it or pass blame for decisions to others. Nor did I participate in a 'cover-up'. Furthermore, there is nothing in my evidence to support the committee's findings that I did. I will be writing to John Whittingdale, the chair of the committee, to object formally."

News Corp said in a statement: "News Corporation is carefully reviewing the select committee's report and will respond shortly. The company fully acknowledges significant wrongdoing at News of the World and apologises to everyone whose privacy was invaded."

Leveson Inquiry: Rupert Murdoch denies influencing Thatcher

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Leveson Inquiry: Rupert Murdoch denies influencing Thatcher

"Rupert Murdoch has told the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics he has "never asked a prime minister for anything".

The News Corp chairman, 81, denied asking or being offered any favours when he met then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at a lunch in 1981.

He also denied ever discussing News Corp's bid for UK broadcaster BSkyB with Prime Minister David Cameron.

Meanwhile, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's special adviser Adam Smith has quit over his dealings with News Corp.

In a statement to the Commons, Mr Hunt said the "volume and tone" of the emails which emerged at the inquiry on Tuesday were "not appropriate".

Rejecting Labour calls for him to resign, he said he intended to set the record straight about his relations with News Corp on a "number of issues" and insisted he had "strictly followed due process".

Mr Cameron, meanwhile, told MPs Mr Hunt had his "full support for the excellent job that he does".

The emails emerged during evidence given by Rupert Murdoch's son James to the inquiry on Tuesday revealing details of contacts between Mr Smith and senior figures at News Corp, while the firm was bidding to take control of BSkyB...

Giving evidence at the inquiry, Rupert Murdoch denied trying to influence Mrs Thatcher by demonstrating his political allegiance ahead of his bid for Times newspapers.

Asked about the private lunch at Mrs Thatcher's country home Chequers on 4 January 1981, which he had requested, Mr Murdoch said: "I have never asked a prime minister for anything."

"This was the movement of a great institution, under threat of closure, and I thought it was perfectly right she should know what was at stake," he said.

He admitted he was a "great admirer" of Baroness Thatcher, whom the Sun supported in the 1979 general election.

Counsel Robert Jay QC suggested Mr Murdoch wanted to show Mrs Thatcher he had the will to take on the unions over his bid for the Times and Sunday Times.

But the media mogul replied: "I didn't have the will to crush the unions, I might have had the desire, but that took several years."

In a written statement to the inquiry Mr Murdoch said he first met David Cameron, who was then Leader of the Opposition, at a family picnic at his daughter's country home.

They did not discuss politics as they were surrounded by children, Mr Murdoch said.

"I was particularly struck by the way that Mr Cameron looked after his son. I remember thinking that he was a good family man," he said.

Mr Cameron visited him at his offices in Wapping, east London, some time later at the Tory leader's request.

Mr Murdoch said: "Mr Cameron, since his election as prime minister, I have met principally in social settings, where little of substance was discussed."

The News Corp chairman said he could not remember meeting Mr Cameron on a yacht near the Greek island of Santorini in August 2008, but that his wife Wendi could.

Asked about the News of the World, which was forced to close in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, Mr Murdoch said he was "sorry to say" he "never much interfered" with it.

He said he was not disowning it or saying it was not his responsibility but he was always closer to the Sun. "If you want to judge my thinking, look at the Sun," he said.

Mr Murdoch said he tried very hard to set an example of ethical behaviour and made it clear he expected it.

"One can describe that in a number of ways. But do I do it via an aura or charisma? I don't think so," he said.

Mr Murdoch said he did not believe in using hacking or private detectives because it was a "lazy way of reporters not doing their job".

But he added: "I think it is fair when people have themselves held up as iconic figures or great actors that they be looked at."

He said public figures had public responsibilities and were not entitled to the same privacy "as the man in the street".

Mr Murdoch's testimony at the inquiry led by Lord Justice Leveson is under oath and will last two days."

Sky News chief apologises to Leveson for previous denial of hack

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Sky News chief apologises to Leveson for previous denial of hacking

John Ryley tells Leveson inquiry that letter stating staff had 'never intercepted communications' was 'very regrettable'.

"The head of Sky News has apologised to the Leveson inquiry after the broadcaster previously said that it had not engaged in any hacking, when executives knew that a reporter had accessed emails without permission on several occasions.

John Ryley told Lord Justice Leveson on Monday that it was "very regrettable" that a lawyer representing Sky News had written to the inquiry last September stating: "Sky News editorial and reporting staff to whom we have spoken have never intercepted communications."

When the letter was sent, Ryley and other senior Sky News staff were aware that reporter Gerard Tubb had hacked into emails belonging to "canoe man" John Darwin and a woman who had killed her own children – because they had authorised the email accesses.

Hacking emails is a breach of the Computer Misuse Act 1990, to which there is no prima facie public interest defence. Intercepting somebody's communications, whether phone calls or emails, breaches the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which again has no explicit public interest defence.

Sky News claims, however, to have been acting in the public interest in the case of Darwin.

The original Sky News submission to the Leveson inquiry added that any proposal to engage in hacking "would not be countenanced", but Ryley, giving evidence on Monday, said that the lawyer writing the letter was only thinking about phone hacking in the aftermath of the News of the World controversy."

Leveson inquiry 'deeply flawed', claims Independent editor

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Leveson inquiry 'deeply flawed', claims Independent editor

Chris Blackhurst says inquiry could stifle responsible journalism and press is capable of making its own credible reforms.

"Chris Blackhurst, the editor of the Independent, has described the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking and press standards as "deeply flawed" and in danger of stifling responsible journalism.

Speaking at a debate at City University in London on Monday night, Blackhurst said the press could deliver a credible package of reforms without a public inquiry.

He added that newspapers had "held back" on their coverage of Gary Speed's suicide because no editor wanted to be "dragged before" Lord Justice Leveson to explain stories.

Blackhurst is the first national newspaper editor to go public with such pointed criticism of the wide-ranging inquiry, which finishes taking evidence in the summer before making recommendations to the government in the autumn about the future of press regulation...

Blackhurst acknowledged that the Press Complaints Commission needed to be reformed, but said that newspapers "could probably have got there ourselves without a public inquiry".

The Independent editor spoke on a City University panel that included the former senior News of the World journalist, Neville Thurlbeck; the NUJ general secretary, Michelle Stanistreet; and Mary-Ellen Field, the former adviser to Elle Macpherson who police said was targeted by the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who used to work for the News of the World.

Thurlbeck said that Sunday tabloid journalism had "changed beyond recognition" since the closure of the News of the World, and described its replacement, the Sun on Sunday, as "tame" in comparison.

In his opening remarks, Thurlbeck said he did not believe that phone hacking was confined to the now-closed News International title."


Marcus's picture play devil's advocate I could say that whereas the state does it in broad daylight (and is open to debate in Parliament) the invasion of privacy by the press was done illegally behind closed doors.

Anyway, when you talk about the "state" invading privacy you really mean various organs of the state because they do not share information between departments.

I've been following this

Mark Hubbard's picture

I've been following this story with only a passing interest, including yesterday's over the top dawn raid and arrest of Brooks - I mean, where did they think she was going to run to with all her family, career, and assets in England; apparently key stone cops rule in the West.

But yes, the invasion of privacy concerned is despicable. Though I'm not unduly worried because it was also illegal in the private sector, as it should be, so the victims have restitution under law.

What concerns me, but doesn't seem to the MSM, is that invasions of privacy like this barely register on the 'oh shit' register when compared to the invasions by the State on individuals happening as a mere matter of routine, hour after hour every day of the year. It starts with a letter or a phone call along the lines: I'm an IRD investigator, I'd just like to have a look at everything you've been doing for the last four years, to make sure we're happy with it. Don't worry about bank statements, I've got those from here and overseas direct from all your banks, but I want to see all source documents, and a narrative from you summarising everything you've been up to over these years. After you deliver the records we'll tee up time for an initial interview with you ...'

As routine as that. The brute State. The Police State, because you have no privacy against it, and the penalties for getting it wrong, innocently, will likely destroy you.

Rebekah Brooks and her husband among six arrested

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Rebekah Brooks and her husband among six arrested by phone hacking police

Rebekah Brooks and her husband are among six people who have been arrested this morning on suspicion of conspiring to pervert the course of justice by police officers investigating allegations of phone hacking.

"The former editor of the News of the World and her husband Charlie, the racehorse trainer and Telegraph columnist, were arested at their home in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, sources said.

Ms Brooks, a former editor of The Sun, had been on bail after being questioned by detectives last summer on suspicion of phone hacking and corruption.

Police from Operation Weeting arrested six people at addresses in London, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Hertfordshire.

The five men, aged between 38 and 49, and one woman, aged 43, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The co-ordinated arrests were made between 5am and 7am by officers from Operation Weeting, the Metropolitan Police's investigation into the illegal interception of voicemails.

They are being interviewed at police stations in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and central, east and south west London.

Officers are searching the properties where the arrests were made.

One man, 48, was arrested at a business address in east London.

The 43-year old woman and the 49-year old man were arrested at their home addresses in Oxfordshire and are being interviewed at separate police stations.

It takes the total number of arrests under Operation Weeting to 23."

Sun established 'network of corrupted officials'

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Sun established 'network of corrupted officials', Sue Akers tells Leveson

Police officer leading investigation into bribery and hacking at News International tells inquiry of 'culture of illegal payments'

"Rupert Murdoch's flagship tabloid, the Sun, established a "network of corrupted officials" and created a "culture of illegal payments", the police officer leading the investigation into bribery and hacking at News International has alleged.

On a day of dramatic developments surrounding the investigations into the tycoon's newspapers, Sue Akers, the deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police, told the Leveson inquiry into press standards there had been "multiple payments" by the Sun to public officials of thousands of pounds, and one individual received £80,000 in alleged corrupt payments over a number of years. One Sun journalist drew more than £150,000 over the years to pay sources.

Akers's intervention – a day after the Sun launched a Sunday edition – was designed to rebut criticism of her investigation by Sun veterans, unhappy that 10 reporters and executives from the tabloid had been arrested since last November.

She said Sun reporters largely published "salacious gossip" on the back of the information received. The cases her team were investigating were not ones involving the "odd drink or meal" with public officials, but regular payments using an internal system designed to hide the identity of those allegedly receiving money illegally."

Rupert Murdoch to supervise next week's birth of Sun on Sunday

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Note: For anyone that didn't know, News of the World was a Sunday paper only.

Rupert Murdoch to supervise next week's birth of Sun on Sunday

Some senior News of the World staff set to take roles at successor to tabloid that closed amid phone-hacking scandal

"The Sun on Sunday will be launched next weekend as the successor to the defunct News of the World, which was closed down last July following revelations of phone hacking at the tabloid.

In an email that acknowledged the parent company's past wrongdoing but also struck a defiant tone, staff were told the launch date by News International's chief executive, Tom Mockridge.

He said that Rupert Murdoch, who told staff at the Sun's Wapping headquarters on Friday that a new Sunday newspaper would be coming out "very soon", will remain in London to oversee the publication of the new title, which is expected to be a seventh day of the Sun rather than a separate, standalone newspaper.

"As you know, News Corporation has made clear its determination to sort out what has gone wrong in the past and we are fundamentally changing how we operate as a business," said Mockridge.

"The commitment of News Corporation to invest in a new edition is the strongest possible message of support we could wish for. We will have to act quickly over the coming days."

"This is our moment. I am sure every one of us will seize the opportunity to pull together and deliver a great new dawn for the Sun this Sunday."

Mockridge's email said that he wanted staff "to be the first to know" about the launch date, which was announced on the Sun's website on Sunday night and was the front page story in its Monday edition."

I belonged to a stock photo place

Jules Troy's picture

Part of the stock photo sites regulations stated that if you submitted a photograph with a person in the picture even if it was a public place you must also submit authorization from that person to use the photo for stock publication.  Theoretically speaking if you took a picture at a concert you would need every single persons permission in order to use it.

Perhaps the press should be held to the same standard?  Exeptions being perhaps being rapists and other dangerous criminals that have recently been let out of prison on parole.  Everyone should have thier pictures.

Daily Mail editor convinced hacking did not happen

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Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre 'knew of use of detectives'

"The Daily Mail's editor was aware the paper was using private detectives but not of the extent to which it was doing so, the Leveson Inquiry has heard.

Paul Dacre, the last Fleet Street editor to go before the inquiry, said this practice of accessing information used to be commonplace in the industry.

"Everybody, every newspaper" had been using private detective Steve Whittamore at one stage, he said.

In 2005, Whittamore was convicted of illegally accessing data.

Mr Dacre, who also holds the post of editor-in-chief of Associated Newspapers, the paper's publishers, admitted he was aware that the Daily Mail had been using Whittamore before 2006.

"We didn't realise what they were doing was illegal," he said.

"There was a very hazy understanding of how the Data Protection Act worked and this was seen as a quick way of obtaining phone numbers and addresses to corroborate stories," he said.

Earlier in the inquiry, Mail on Sunday editor Peter Wright said his paper continued to use Whittamore for 18 months after a police investigation into the unlawful trading of personal information.

Mr Dacre, however, said he had sought written assurances from Whittamore that he was acting within the law and, in 2007, he banned the use of all "Whittamore inquiry agencies".

He also told the inquiry that newspapers should have the latitude to look into the lives of erring celebrities, such as celebrity chefs, sportsmen and others who made money revealing their lives to the public.

Mr Dacre said he had never placed a story in the newspaper that he knew had come from phone hacking and was convinced it did not happen.

"I know of no cases of phone hacking," he said. "Having conducted a major internal inquiry, I am as convinced as I can be that there is no phone hacking on the Daily Mail.

"I don't make that statement lightly. And no editor, the editor of the Guardian or the Independent, could say otherwise."

He also refused to take back his description of actor Hugh Grant's allegations about phone hacking at the Mail as "mendacious smears driven by his hatred of the media", unless Mr Grant withdrew his statement.

Defending a Mail story reporting the birth of Mr Grant's baby, he said a newspaper was entitled to ask a celebrity such as Grant if he had had a child, especially when he had spoken previously of his desire to be a father.

"Mr Grant has spent his life invading his own privacy," he said. "It seems a little bit ripe that when he does have a child, he and his press representatives won't confirm or deny that."

Last October, ahead of the start of the inquiry, Mr Dacre delivered a seminar in which he argued self-regulation was the "only viable way" of policing a free press."

Culture Secretary defends freedom of the press

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Culture Secretary defends freedom of the press

"Jeremy Hunt said political control over press content would be “completely the wrong direction to go” and that “it is clear no one wants statutory regulation”.

However, he suggested laws or incentives could be used to ensure all newspapers sign up to a future independent body.

He stressed he would await the outcome of the Leveson Inquiry, which is examining journalistic practices and ethics, but gave a clear message on the Government’s stance.

Last week, Lord Justice Leveson, who was asked to carry out his inquiry in the wake of the phone hacking scandal, also supported a free press that must be independent of government regulation.

Mr Hunt said he wanted to see industry-led independent regulation which commanded the confidence of the public to replace the Press Complaints Commission."

To which I would add

Robert's picture

If you want to keep something private - defend it. Put a lock on it. Don't leave it lying around in public. Don't paste it on Facebook or rely on a third party who isn't explicitly contractually obligated to defend your private information.

Leave the room if you don't want to be overheard on the phone. And don't tell your dirty little secrets to all and sundry and then be surprised when they get out.

Loose lips sustain Pierce Morgans.

The Guardian's campaign to destroy freedom of the press is...

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Met aims to give Leveson more detail on deletion of Milly Dowler's voicemails

"The Metropolitan police is aiming to be able to submit a note to the Leveson inquiry next month providing more detail on how murdered teenager Milly Dowler's voicemail messages came to be deleted after she went missing in 2002.

Lord Justice Leveson has been seeking to get to the bottom of the matter since fresh evidence emerged that led Scotland Yard to believe it is unlikely that the deletion of voicemail messages, which gave the Dowler family false hope their daughter was still alive, were deleted by News of the World journalists.

In July the Guardian reported that the deletions were caused by the News of the World. But, as it emerged that this was not the case, the newspaper printed a clarification in mid-December saying that was "unlikely to have been correct" in the light of further investigation made by the Metropolitan police."

Sandi and Seymour...

Marcus's picture these rules apply to public figures when a piece of information does not necessarily expose something illegal, but perhaps unethical, immoral or hypocritical?

Also the question of property - does it apply equally to your rubbish bin? Or is it the case that if you dispose of some personal records it is your responsibility to pulp them first?

As to phone hacking. If you hack into messages and just read them or just listen into a transmission is that a breach of private property?

I don't know

seymourblogger's picture

But there is a level of complicity between the victims and the journalists. On the one hand they want the media attention and on the other they resent the intrusion into their lives. Scylla and Carybdis (sp?).

I often think that most of them need a strategy for dealing with excessive media attention. I think Angelina Joli does OK with it. She doesn't freak out and scare her kids. They are just frown up bullies with expensive cameras and the more someone is tortured, the more they harass.

The level or measure of respect for privacy is

Sandi's picture

comparable to the level of respect of private property.

In a moral society such methods would be shunned and publications ignored. The intrusion of privacy is sanctioned by those who demand it and those who would trespass against it.

Just recently I read a delightful book by "Emma Smith" It was a collection of her memoirs intended for her grandchildren, written about her childhood growing up in Cornwall between 1928 and 1935. The Great Western Beach.

Here is what Emma had to say about private property

“But nobody must ever venture onto private property without permission. If they do, they are trespassing and will be prosecuted, which means they might even be put in prison. Trespassing on private property a very serious offence”

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