|You gotta spin it to win it|
|Stop the presses!|
|We want pictures|
Established by an announcement by the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, on 6th July 2011, the Leveson Inquiry was a public inquiry, founded under the authority granted by the Inquiries Act 2005, tasked with exploring the culture, practices and ethics of the British press, following further revelations in regards to the News International phone hacking scandal. Lord Justice Leveson was appointed as the Chairman of the Inquiry on the 13th July 2011 with a specific remit to look into the claims of phone hacking at the News of the World. Lord Justice Leveson was also required to look at the initial police inquiry and allegations of illicit payments to police by the press. These specific areas of inquiry would be in addition to examining culture, ethics and practises of the press.
The inquiry proved highly critical of the press, but there were few lasting consequences. The existing press regulator, the Press Complaints Commission, was replaced by a new regulator IPSO, which had similar powers but even fewer newspapers were willing to submit to it, and it failed to meet Leveson's recommendations for a how a press regulator should operate. Another, more stringent regulator was established, called Impress, but none of the big news companies were interested. Libel law reforms that were designed to encourage newspapers to sign up to an effective regulator were dropped. There were plans for a second part of the inquiry to look at the relationship between newspapers and the police, but this never happened.
History and background to the setting up of the public inquiry
Original allegations of illegal information and data gathering techniques occurred in 2005 when the News of the World published an article about Prince William containing details that were known by only two people, neither of which had given that information to anyone else. It was determined by Prince William that the most likely explanation was that both his, and others', voicemails were being illegally accessed.
Following this, the Metropolitan Police opened an investigation into the allegations. The investigation led to the News of the World offices being searched, and the material gathered led the investigative team to conclude that the voicemail accounts of Prince William's aides had been illegally accessed. This led to Clive Goodman, News of the World Royal Editor and author of the original article that started the investigation, and Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator paid by the News of the World, being arrested in August 2006. Both Goodman and Mulcaire were charged under section 79 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and, on 26th January 2007, both pled guilty to the charges. Clive Goodman received a sentence of six-months imprisonment, whilst Glenn Mulcaire was gaoled for four months.
In addition to the evidence gathered in regards to the hacking of Royal aide's voicemails, evidence was also gathered that others had also had their voicemails illegally accessed. These people included Sky Andrew, Sienna Miller, Steve Coogan, Chris Tarrant, and Andy Gray. However, no new criminal prosecutions were made on the basis of this evidence and so these people, along with others, began civil litigation against the News of the World.
In response to the gaoling of Goodman and Mulcaire, both the Press Complaints Commission (or PCC) and the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, launched investigations into how widespread phone hacking was at the News of the World. The PCC, a non-regulatory, voluntary, self-proclaimed regulatory body for those bits of the press that could be bothered with it, and pretty much run and controlled by the very editors that were supposed to be regulated by it, came to the extraordinarily contrary conclusion that there was "no evidence" that nobody else at the News of the World was aware of, or took part in, phone hacking.. Given the haphazard way that the PCC went about gathering evidence certain members of the press, media, politicians and the public greeted this conclusion with a certain amount of sceptiscism. The Culture, Media and Sport Committee also came to the conclusion that phone hacking was not widespread at the News of the World, based on non-sworn evidence from those people who were willing, but not compelled, to appear in front of the committee.
The Guardian puts on its steel toe cap boots
Starting July 2009 The Guardian released a series of articles that contained allegations that the hacking of voicemail accounts was much more widespread than the News of the World was admitting, that a number of staff, including the then editor Andy Coulson, knew that phone hacking went on, and that the hacking of voicemails went beyond the Royal household. The News of the World denied these claims, clinging to the line they had been using ever since Goodman had pled guilty - that the phone hacking activities were restricted to one rogue reporter at the paper, and Andy Coulson, now director of Conservative Party communications and planning, also refuted these allegations, with some within the political establishment claiming that the allegations and articles by The Guardian were politically motivated. Both the Conservative Party and David Cameron stood by Andy Coulson.
Amongst the allegations made by The Guardian, were the allegations that the phones of John Prescott, Alex Ferguson, Tessa Jowell, Boris 'BoJo' Johnson, Max Clifford, and Brooks. The Guardian further reported that, in addition to this, the News of the World's parent company paid out more than £1m in out-of-court settlements to end legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of News of the World journalists using criminal methods to obtain stories, and that staff used private investigators to access several thousand mobile phone accounts..
Of particular annoyance to many of those who discovered that their phones may have been hacked were the revelations that the Metropolitan Police did have evidence that other voicemail accounts had been hacked, but had made no effort to contact the victims. Prescott was particularly aggrieved by this, but the former Assistant Commissioner John Yates stated that there was no actual evidence that Prescott's, or other people's phones had been tapped, beyond the information that had already been made public.
As a result of these allegations the Metropolitan Police Service commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson asked the assistant commissioner John Yates to review the original 2006 investigation for new evidence. In a single 8-hour meeting, Yates reviewed the investigation and decided not to take any further action. Yates, after this cursory re-examining of the evidence, stated that he "found [the original investigation] to be satisfactory." In specific response to John Prescott, Yates stated "that there was no material evidence that Prescott's phone had been hacked." Determining that no further action need be taken, Yates declared that the case need not be re-opened. Following on from that recommendation, the Metropolitan Police declined to re-open their hacking inquiry, stating that "no additional evidence has come to light" and it "therefore consider[ed] that no further investigation is required".
Later that year, Private Eye revealed that, to "avoid all-out-war" with the News of the World, it had chosen to to tell the Culture, Media and Sport Committee that £700,000 had been paid to Gordon Taylor in an out-of-court settlement in regards to phone hacking, and this settlement was signed off by the directors of News Group Newspapers. This agreement to the settlement showed awareness that phone hacking wasn't just confined to Clive Goodman at the highest levels of News Group and, by extension, News International. In response to these new allegations the PCC reopened the original investigation into the phone-hacking scandal, as did the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Although the Culture, Media and Sport Committee's investigation would run into 2010, the PCC's investigations were concluded a lot quicker, working on a basis that they weren't going to bother overly much with that annoying evidence and witness stuff, because it wasn't going to be necessary. Reporting in November 2009 the PCC reiterated its earlier position, that there was no evidence that phone-hacking was the work of more than one person at the News of the World and, bizarrely, attacking The Guardian for the articles it had released detailing the findings of the investigations that the journalists working on the story had discovered for themselves. In response to this report the International Federation of Journalists launched its own investigation into the conduct and role of the PCC during its inquiry into the phone hacking affair.
In January, 2010 The Guardian broke the story that Clive Goodman had a received an out-of-court settlement from News International to settle an unfair dismissal claim. Glenn Mulcaire also received a payment from News International in exchange for stopping employment tribunal proceedings against the News of the World. As a result of this article and other follow on articles, the Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport sent further written questions to both News International and its executives.
In February, 2010 The Guardian then broke the news that three mobile phone companies had discovered that over a hundred of their customers had had their voicemails hacked whilst the police had obtained 91 PIN codes through their investigations into the phone hacking affair, and that, although the police had only named eight victims when giving testimony in court, there was in fact 4,000 names or partial names and nearly 3,000 full or partial telephone numbers that had been obtained from the materials seized from Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire. The Guardian also revealed that, whilst Coulson was Editor at the News of the World, the News of the World had rehired Jonathan Rees, a private investigator, shortly after his release from a seven-year prison sentence for blackmail.
At the same time as The Guardian was breaking the news regarding the amount of evidence the police had at their fingertips the Culture, Media and Sport Committee issued their report, condemning the testimony of the News of the World witnesses, referring to "collective amnesia" and "deliberate obfuscation", and noted News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks' refusal to appear at all. The Committee concluded:
We strongly condemn this behaviour which reinforces the widely held impression that the press generally regard themselves as unaccountable and that News International in particular has sought to conceal the truth about what really occurred.
A few months later The Guardian revealed that in 2009 the Home Office had planned to ask Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary to review the police investigation into the phone hacking scandal, but those plans were cancelled "after intense internal lobbying", with a senior Home Office official warning that the Metropolitan Police would "deeply resent" an inquiry. The Guardian then went on to reveal comments by former News of the World journalist Paul McMullan that revealed how widespread phone hacking had been under Coulson
At the same time as The Guardian was revealing the internal pressure used to drop a review of the police investigation, The New York Times published the results of an investigation it had begun in March which revealed further details about the extent of the News of the World's phone hacking. This investigation also alleged that Coulson not only knew of the practice, but also knew the depth of the practice, citing Sean Hoare as saying that Coulson had "actively encouraged" phone hacking.
As a result of these allegations the Home Affairs Select Committee started a new inquiry into phone hacking. Two days later the House of Commons voted to refer allegations of hacking against politicians to the Standards and Privileges Committee, who would have the power to compel witnesses to give evidence.
Interlude: When celebrity turns journalist aka The Worm Turns
Following an encounter with Paul McMullan, Hugh Grant (who, for some strange, unknown reason, doesn't have a huge amount of respect for tabloid papers) managed to secretly record McMullan stating that editors at the Daily Mail and News of the World, including Coulson, had ordered journalists to engage in phone hacking. McMullan also claimed that every Prime Minister from Thatcher onwards had deliberately gone out of their way to form a close relationship with Rupert Murdoch and his senior executives. McMullan stressed the friendship between David Cameron and Rebekah Brooks, and agreed that both of them must have been aware of illegal phone tapping. McMullan went on to claim that Cameron's inaction, especially in regards to Coulson's position within the Conservative Party, could be explained by self-interest:
"Cameron is very much in debt to Rebekah Wade for helping him not quite win the election... So that was my submission to parliament – that Cameron's either a liar or an idiot.
McMullan also asserted that Cameron had encouraged the Metropolitan Police to "drag their feet" on investigating illegal activities by journalists employed in Murdock owned newspapers. McMullan but also stated that the police themselves had taken bribes from tabloid journalists, so had a motive to be less than enthusiastic about any investigation:
"20 per cent of the Met has taken backhanders from tabloid hacks. So why would they want to open up that can of worms?... And what's wrong with that, anyway? It doesn't hurt anyone particularly."
Hugh Grant published this in an article in the New Statesman.
Milly Dowler's voicemail
On the 4th July 2011, The Guardian reported that the police had evidence that Glenn Mulcaire had hacked the phone messages of the murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler before the discovery of her body six months after her disappearance. The Guardian alleged that during the process of hacking her voicemail the private investigators deleted Milly Dowler's existing voice messages to free up room so more could be left. As both the police and Milly Dowler's family had been actively monitoring the voice message service they took the deletion of messages as a sign that Milly Dowler was still alive and, as the investigation was still active, the deletion of the messages could have been the deletion of potentially crucial evidence. The Guardian also commented that the News of the World, in an article on 14th April, 2002, hadn't concealed from its readers that it had intercepted Milly Dowler's telephone messages and had informed Surrey Police of this fact on 27th March, 2002.
In response to this report David Cameron said that "the alleged hacking, if true, was truly dreadful" and that the police needed to undertake a "vigorous investigation" to determine what had happened. The Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband called on Rebekah Brooks to "consider her conscience and consider her position". Meanwhile, many other politicians began to openly discuss and ask for the then ongoing takeover of BSkyB by News Corporation to be blocked from going ahead. Questions were also raised about whether the Murdochs now met the 'fit and proper persons' test to hold a broadcast license in the UK, with Lord Prescott raising the matter with Ofcom.
In addition to the furore within the Westminster Village, the Media Standards Trust formed the pressure group Hacked Off to campaign for a public inquiry. The campaign gained the support of Hugh Grant, who during appearances on Question Time and Newsnight became a public spokesperson about phone hacking and the need for an independent public inquiry into the matter. The end result was the formation of the Leveson inquiry.
In a rather shocking admission during January 2012 it was revealed that Surrey Police, and other police forces, knew soon after Milly Dowler's death that News of the World staff had accessed her voicemail messages, but did not take issue with this. Instead a senior Surrey officer invited News of the World staff to a meeting to discuss the case.
The Leveson Inquiry
Divisions and terms of reference
The Leveson Inquiry has been divided into two parts. Part 1 of the inquiry would explore and address:
the culture, practices and ethics of the press, including contacts between the press and politicians and the press and the police; it is to consider the extent to which the current regulatory regime has failed and whether there has been a failure to act upon any previous warnings about media misconduct.
whilst Part 2 would explore and address:
the extent of unlawful or improper conduct within News International, other media organisations or other organisations. It will also consider the extent to which any relevant police force investigated allegations relating to News International, and whether the police received corrupt payments or were otherwise complicit in misconduct."
|Specifics of Terms of Reference|
The terms of reference for Part 1 were:
1. To inquire into the culture, practices, and ethics of the press, including:
a. contacts and the relationships between national newspapers and politicians, and the conduct of each;
b. contacts and the relationship between the press and the police, and the conduct of each;
c. the extent to which the current policy and regulatory framework has failed including in relation to data protection; and
d. the extent to which there was a failure to act on previous warnings about media misconduct.
2. To make recommendations:
a. for a new more effective policy and regulatory regime which supports the integrity and freedom of the press, the plurality of the media, and its independence, including from Government, while encouraging the highest ethical and professional standards;
b. for how future concerns about press behaviour, media policy, regulation and cross-media ownership should be dealt with by all the relevant authorities, including Parliament, Government, the prosecuting authorities and the police;
c. the future conduct of relations between politicians and the press; and
d. the future conduct of relations between the police and the press.
whilst Part 2 had the following terms of reference:
3. To inquire into the extent of unlawful or improper conduct within News International, other newspaper organisations and, as appropriate, other organisations within the media, and by those responsible for holding personal data.
4. To inquire into the way in which any relevant police force investigated allegations or evidence of unlawful conduct by persons within or connected with News International, the review by the Metropolitan Police of their initial investigation, and the conduct of the prosecuting authorities.
5. To inquire into the extent to which the police received corrupt payments or other inducements, or were otherwise complicit in such misconduct or in suppressing its proper investigation, and how this was allowed to happen.
6. To inquire into the extent of corporate governance and management failures at News International and other newspaper organisations, and the role, if any, of politicians, public servants and others in relation to any failure to investigate wrongdoing at News International
7. In the light of these inquiries, to consider the implications for the relationships between newspaper organisations and the police, prosecuting authorities, and relevant regulatory bodies – and to recommend what actions, if any, should be taken.
Part 1 was then further divided into four modules:
After a series of seminars during September and October, 2011, formal sworn evidence hearings started on 14th November, 2011 at the Royal Courts of Justice, with the final formal evidence session occurring on 24th July, 2012 with closing statements from the core participants.
Part 2 of the inquiry has yet to start due to ongoing criminal investigations and criminal legal proceedings.
Part 1 - Module 1: The press and the public
In total 226 witness statements were taken for Module 1, out of which 184 witnesses gave oral evidence to the inquiry.
- Monday 21st November, 2011 - Bob Dowler, Sally Dowler, Joan Smith, Graham Shear, Hugh Grant
|Evidence given to the inquiry|
The taking of formal, sworn evidence started with testimony from the parents of Milly Dowler. David Sherborne, barrister for the victims, questioned them on various aspects surrounding their treatment by the press, particularly the News of the World, during and after the investigation into Milly Dowler's disappearance and murder. Bob Dowler, on both the revelations that his daughter's phone had been hacked, and on the press' treatment of his family started by saying:
The Dowlers' then went on to further expand on their treatment by the press. Deciding to reconstruct the walk that their daughter had taken prior to her disappearance, and choosing a time when the press interest had quieted down Sally Dowler testified that:
although, in hindsight, Mrs Dowler believed that the photo had been most likely taken by a News of a World photographer "camped out in a car".
The Dowlers also claimed that their own phones had been hacked, as the walk was private and that the organisation of "the walk had nothing to do with Milly Dowler's phone", and "That was our own home phone or own mobile phones."
When asked what it was like to live surrounded by that level of press attention Mrs Dowler replied that;
whilst Mr Dowler replied:
Mrs Dowler spoke of being unable to leave messages on her daughter's voicemail service because it was full, and then her euphoria at discovering that some of her daughter;s voicemails had been deleted, noting that she had turned to her husband and said;
Mrs Dowler went on to explain that, when she had been informed that Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked that her first immediate thought was that whoever had hacked the phone may have deleted the messages and that she didn't sleep for three nights as she attempted understand and accept the news given to her by the police that her daughter's phone had been hacked.
After the Dowlers finished giving evidence Joan Smith, author, broadcaster, journalist and former partner of the MP Denis MacShane was sworn in. Joan Smith testified to her own experiences of phone hacking, especially during the time when her partner, Denis MacShane, had just lost his daughter. In response to questioning Joan Smith stated that she had been informed by police working on Operation Weeting that her phone had not only been hacked by Glenn Mulcaire, but that Mulcaire had kept a file on her that the police invited her too see. In testimony Ms. Smith said that the first page of the file contained her name, address, etc; and that:
When asked what she felt about having her phone accessed illegally Ms. Smith said that the tabloid press gave every appearance of "living in a 1950s world and anything outside that seems to be a story," and that tabloids themselves seemed to have few morals:
In response to being asked if she had thought about complaining to the PCC, Ms. Smith replied:
Next to give evidence was Graham Shear, a solicitor who had worked on a number of high profile cases, and had a number of footballers as clients. In his testimony Mr Shear testified that many of his clients, from about 2004 onwards, believed that private communications had been illegally accessed by the press. Mr Shear detailed some of the relevant cases he had taken on, including the obtaining of injunctions to stop the press reporting certain matters, and also stated that the police had informed him that he, himself, was the victim of phone hacking by Glenn Mulcaire. When asked what he thought of the PCC, Mr Shear replied that the PCC was more of a mediator than a regulator, and when asked what he thought drove the tabloids to act the way they did stated that "tabloid business model has become dependent and infatuated with sensational and titillating stories," and that:
The last person of the day to be sworn in was Hugh Grant. Included in his testimony was the evidence he had gathered from Paul McMullan about the illegal methods that tabloid journalists and editors used to find and stand up stories. He pointed at the fact that information contained in Glenn Mulcaire's notes appeared in Daily Mirror and Mail stories, even though Mulcaire was working on commission for the News of the World at the time. Mr Grant also alleged that both the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday illegally obtained private information in regards to two stories, one regarding the birth of his daughter, where he alleged that the Daily Mail had illegal access to medical records via a source at the hospital whilst the Mail on Sunday illegally intercepted phone messages between himself and Jemima Khan.
Both titles denied the allegations that had been made on oath, with the Daily Mail stating;
whilst the Mail on Sunday said:
However, in response to the Mail on Sunday's} response Jemima Khan denied the paper's version of events, commenting on Twitter;
In addition to the allegations, Mr Grant also explored what he described as 10 myths about the press, and tabloids in particular:
Mr Grant ended his testimony by stating:
- Tuesday 22 November - Steve Coogan, Mary-Ellen Field, Garry Flitcroft, Margaret Watson
- Wednesday 23 November - Sheryl Gascoigne, Mark Lewis, Gerry McCann, Tom Rowland
- Thursday 24 November - HJK, Sienna Miller, Max Mosley, JK Rowling, Mark Thomson
- Monday 28 November - Charlotte Church, Anne Diamond, Ian Hurst, Chris Jefferies, Jane Winter
- Tuesday 29 November - Richard Peppiatt, Nick Davies, Paul McMullan
- Wednesday 30 November - Alastair Campbell, Alex Owens
- Monday 5 December - Alex Owens, Francis Aldhouse, Peter Burden
- Tuesday 6 December - Charlotte Harris, David Leigh, Steven Nott, Chris Atkins
- Thursday 8 December - Professor Steven Barnett, Professor George Brock, Professor Brian Cathcart, Angela Phillips, Professor Ian Hargreaves, Professor Julian Petley, Dr Daithí Mac Síthigh
- Friday 9 December - Richard Thomas
- Monday 12 December - Mazher Mahmoud, Neville Thurlbeck, Neil Wallis
- Tuesday 13 December - Lawrence Abramson, Julian Pike, Tom Crone
- Wednesday 14 December - Tom Crone (continued), Jonathan Chapman, Colin Myler
- Thursday 15 December - Colin Myler (continued), Daniel Sanderson, Derek Webb
- Monday 19 December - Stuart Hoare, James Hanning, Matthew Driscoll
- Tuesday 20 December - Julian Pike, Steve Turner, Sharon Marshall, Matthew Bell, Christopher Johnson, Piers Morgan
- Wednesday 21 December - James Hipwell, David Pilditch, Nick Fagge, Padriac Flanagan
- Monday 9 January - John Edwards, Duncan Larcombe, Kelvin Mackenzie, Dominic Mohan, Gordon Smart and Justin Walford
- Tuesday 10 January - Lionel Barber, Chris Blackhurst, Tony Gallagher, William Lewis, Murdoch MacLennan, Manish Malhotra, Andrew Mullins, Finbarr Ronayne
- Wednesday 11 January - William Lewis (continued), Paul Silva, Peter Wright
- Thursday 12 January - Paul Ashford, Richard Desmond, Peter Hill, Dawn Neesom, Nicole Patterson, Hugh WhittowHugh Whittow
- Monday 16 January - Richard Wallace, Tina Weaver, Andrew Penman, Lloyd Embley, Sly Bailey
- Tuesday 17 January - Ian Hislop, Thomas Mockridge, Susan Panuccio, Rupert Pennant-Rea, James Harding, John Witherow, Chris Elliott, Alan Rusbridger
- Wednesday 18 January - Rosie Nixon, Lisa Byrne, Lucie Cave, Peter Charlton, Noel Doran, Spencer Feeney, Mike Gilson, Marie McGeoghan, John McLellan, Nigel Pickover, Jonathan Russell
- Monday 23 January - Mark Thompson, Lord Patten, Jim Gray, John Battle
- Tuesday 24 January - Jonathan Heawood, John Kampfner, Jacqui Hunt, Marai Larasi, Anna Van Heeswijk, Heather Harvey, Inayat Bunglawala, Fiona Fox, Ryan Parry, Gary O'Shea, Stephen Waring
- Wednesday 25 January - Mazher Mahmood (recalled), Bob Crow, David Allen Green, Jonathan Grun
- Thursday 26 January - Christopher Graham, Daphne Keller, David-John Collins, Camilla Wright, Richard Allan
- Monday 30 January - Tim Toulmin, Stephen Abell
- Tuesday 31 January - Sir Christopher Meyer, Lord Grade, Lord Hunt
- Wednesday 1 February - Collette Bowe, Ed Richards, Lord Black, Guy Parker
- Thursday 2 February - Adrian Graham, David Palmer, James Blendis, Mark Hughes, Tony Imossi, Tony Smith, Baroness Hollins
- Monday 6 February - Sue Akers, Dan Wooton, Nick Owens, Paul Dacre
- Tuesday 7 February - Ronald Zink, Baroness Buscombe, Colin Crowell, Neil Turner, James Harding (recalled), Dominic Mohan (recalled), Gary Morgan
- Wednesday 8 February - Martin Moore, Will Moy, Carla Buzasi, Paul Staines, Keir Starmer, Helen Belcher, Pam Surphlis
- Thursday 9 February - Darryn Lyons, Ian Edmondson, Heather Mills, Michelle Stanistreet, Max Clifford, Paul Dacre (recalled)
- Wednesday 9 May - DCI Brendan Gilmour, Temporary Assistant Chief Constable (T/ACC) Russell Middleton, Martin Clarke
The Beginning of the End. No, the End of the Middle. No, the Beginning of the End of the Middle, with a lot more to come
As required under Rule 13 of the Inquiry Rules 2006 Lord Justice Leveson published a letter detailing his criticisms as findings of the inquiry to all those facing criticism, giving each party a right to reply to the criticisms before publication of the report pertaining to Part 1 of the inquiry. The letter, over a hundred pages long, and in theory being confidential has, nonetheless, had various details about it leaked. Amongst these details are:
It throws the book at the industry. The best way I can describe it is he's loading a gun, and this document…is all the ammunition. And believe you me, there is plenty of ammunition, you read the ammunition and you just gulp.
It is excoriating
Presented as an overall picture, it is a damning indictment of my industry
A number of arrests have also been made in regards to the phone hacking scandal, with 25 alone being made in relation to Operation Weeting.
Press regulation after Leveson
Since the 1990s, the British press was in theory regulated by the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), which was funded and had its terms of operation decided by the newspaper industry. In the wake of Leveson, this was closed down and replaced by a new press industry regulator, IPSO. The PCC had some authority to criticise the press, particularly in the area of intrusive and unethical behaviour by reporters, but some newspapers (notably Richard Desmond's Daily Express and Daily Star) had refused to acknowledge its authority - which in any case didn't extend beyond producing critical judgments to anything like fines or other interference with selling papers.
In theory an effective regulator would be good for everyone. Newspapers wouldn't have to defend lots of expensive libel actions, and members of the public would be able to get corrections without spending huge sums of money on a lawyer. And the public would benefit from a press that was more accurate and fairer. The Leveson inquiry had set out criteria for a press regulator, which both the PCC and IPSO failed to meet. Leveson proposed that a newspaper which did not have an approved regulator would be at a serious disadvantage when it came to assessing legal costs for libel cases, being forced to pay all the fees of complainants regardless of who won the case. To avoid this, a newspaper would need a regulator compliant with Leveson's recommendations. IPSO failed on several grounds: lack of independence, lack of transparency, failure to allow equal membership to all would-be members, not following the Leveson definition of public interest reporting, and more. Leveson initially proposed that OFCOM, the state media regulator with power over areas including commercial television, would approve a regulator, but in a compromise it was agreed that a panel appointed by the Privy Council (a group of politicians which advises the Queen) would instead judge if a regulator was "Leveson compliant" and award it a Royal Charter.
IPSO had slightly greater powers than the old PCC but not much. It had been largely conceived before the Leveson inquiry reported, in the wake of the growing scandal over press behaviour, and therefore did not meet the needs of Leveson. Although slightly more independent, with the theoretical power to launch its own investigations and even to fine papers, since its launch IPSO has shown little inclination to use any of its powers. It refused to launch any meaningful action against the major newspaper groups that were the subject of most of its upheld complaints: News UK (The Times and The Sun), Associated (The Daily Mail), Reach (The Mirror and a lot of local newspapers), and (much smaller in circulation but equal in number of complaints) the Jewish Chronicle.
In addition to Ipso, another regulator was set up, called Impress, which did comply with the Leveson findings and was awarded the Royal Charter. It was funded not by the newspapers but largely by donors, including press privacy campaigner Max Mosley, author J.K. Rowling, and a charitable trust, the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. However it proved much less popular with the newspaper industry, only regulating a few small, independent publishers, including investigative publications Belingcat and The Ferret, but none of the major national newspapers.
Other newspapers chose their own systems of regulation: the Guardian has a Readers' Editor, appointed by the paper's owners but supposed to be independent; the Financial Times and Independent also set up their own complaints procedures, while others like Private Eye did nothing.
The "Section 40" provisions, which would force newspapers to pay costs in a libel case even if they won unless they signed up to an approved regulator, proved very controversial. In theory this would encourage newspapers to sign up to a regulator, but organisations including Index on Censorship complained, saying that the rules would allow malicious libel actions to bankrupt newspapers. While it was passed in parliament, the rule was never brought into force, and the Conservative Party decided they would rather do without it. Those of a conspiratorial bent have noted that the government minister in charge of press regulation at this critical period was the Culture Secretary John Whittingdale (previously chair of the parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Committee), a man who had for some time been dating a professional dominatrix, a fact which was known to all the major newspaper groups but which they were curiously reluctant to reveal. You might hypothesize that Whittingdale was being blackmailed by the press in exchange for the cover-up, but we will never know.
Leveson part 2
There was supposed to be a separate part 2 of Leveson, looking at the relationship between the press and the police, such as sharing of information and payments by newspapers to the police. However successive Conservative Governments decided they didn't want to proceed with this, and it never happened.
The Right Honourable Lord Justice Leveson
A panel of six people who will work alongside the Chairman on the inquiry:
Counsel to inquiry
In January 2012 Surrey Police were added to the list of Core Participants.
- ↑ The Leveson Inquiry (Official website).
- ↑ Moment Prince William discovered 'voicemail scam'
- ↑ Phone tap investigation widens
- ↑ The Guardian profile: Peter Clarke
- ↑ Two charged in 'phone-tap' probe
- ↑ Pair jailed over royal phone taps
- ↑ News of the World in the clear over Goodman case
- ↑ Phone-hacking: PCC lets NoW off the hook
- ↑ Did the PCC turn a blind eye to evidence that phone hacking went beyond one rogue reporter?
- ↑ News of the World phone hacking more widespread than claimed, MPs told
- ↑ News International: Scandal met with silence
- ↑ This is about revenge, not phone taps
- ↑ Cameron standing by press chief
- ↑ Prescott calls for hacking probe
- ↑ News of the World pair hacked into 100 mobile accounts
- ↑ Boris Johnson - Personal
- ↑ Stars 'may sue' over phone claims
- ↑ Nick Davies, "Murdoch papers paid £1m to gag phone-hacking victims", The Guardian, 8 July 2009
- ↑ "Prescott: Police decision 'so quick'". BBC News.
- ↑ John Yates's confession prompts calls for him to step down
- ↑ Prescott: Police decision 'so quick'
- ↑ John Yates expresses 'massive regret' over phone hacking investigation
- ↑ Statement from AC John Yates
- ↑ PCC finds no evidence that it was misled in phone hacking inquiry
- ↑ Buscombe explains why PCC failed to interview phone hacker Mulcaire
- ↑ The PCC give themselves a black eye
- ↑ Journalist body to investigate PCC inquiry into phone-hacking affair
- ↑ News International admits payout to phone-hacker was for unfair dismissal
- ↑ News of the World pair hacked into 100 mobile accounts
- ↑ Police 'ignored News of the World phone hacking evidence'
- ↑ Andy Coulson hit by new tabloid trick charges
- ↑ News of the World phone-hacking scandal: the verdicts
- ↑ MPs' verdict on News of the World phone-hacking scandal: Amnesia, obfuscation and hush money
- ↑ Phone-hacking inquiry was abandoned to avoid upsetting police
- ↑ Phone hacking was rife at News of the World, claims new witness
- ↑ Tabloid Hack Attack on Royals, and Beyond
- ↑ New inquiry into phone-hacking at News of the World
- ↑ Parliamentary inquiry into phone-hacking scandal to begin
- ↑ Commons declares war on 'media barons and their red-topped assassins'
- ↑ The bugger, bugged
- ↑ Missing Milly Dowler's voicemail was hacked by News of the World
- ↑ Milly Dowler phone hacking: Family shocked by NoW revelations
- ↑ Milly Dowler phone hacking: Cameron condemns News of the World
- ↑ Milly Dowler phone hacking: Politicians hit out over revelations
- ↑ Milly Dowler phone hacking: what key figures have said
- ↑ Hacked Off: Campaign for a Public Inquiry into Phone Hacking
- ↑ News of the World reporter played police Milly Dowler voicemail
- ↑ Ruling on Core Participants
- ↑ About the Inquiry /Terms of Reference
- ↑ The Leveson Inquiry (Official website).
- ↑ The Leveson Inquiry (Official website).
- ↑ 52.00 52.01 52.02 52.03 52.04 52.05 52.06 52.07 52.08 52.09 52.10 52.11 52.12 52.13 52.14 52.15 52.16 52.17 Guardian News Blog:Leveson inquiry: Hugh Grant and the Dowlers give evidence
- ↑ Leveson inquiry: phone hacking 'made Dowlers think Milly was alive'
- ↑ Hugh Grant accuses Mail on Sunday of phone hacking
- ↑ Leveson Inquiry
- ↑ Leveson Inquiry
- ↑ 58.00 58.01 58.02 58.03 58.04 58.05 58.06 58.07 58.08 58.09 58.10 58.11 58.12 58.13 58.14 58.15 58.16 58.17 58.18 58.19 58.20 58.21 58.22 58.23 58.24 58.25 58.26 58.27 58.28 58.29 58.30 Leveson Inquiry
- ↑ Leveson inquiry into phone hacking: who's appearing on Monday
- ↑ 60.0 60.1 60.2 Leveson 'loading a gun' against papers, warns Independent's editor
- ↑ Former NoW legal chief Tom Crone denies involvement in phone hacking
- ↑ Press Complaints Commission to close in wake of phone-hacking scandal, The Guardian, 8 March 2012
- ↑ How Lord Leveson's proposed regulatory system would work, The Guardian, 29 Nov 2012
- ↑ IPSO continues to fail most Leveson recommendations, finds Media Standards Trust, Transparency Project, Nov 7, 2019
- ↑ 65.0 65.1 Press regulation after Leveson: Key issues for the 2015 Parliament, UK Parliament 2015
- ↑ Ipso: Regulator or Complaints Handler, University of Westminster
- ↑ Will the Independent Press Standards Organisation Ever Uphold Any Standards?, Byline Times, 4 August 2021
- ↑ The IPSO Jewish Chronicle Car Crash Just Gets Worse, Byline Times, 24 September 2021
- ↑ First official UK press regulator, Impress, approved, BBC, 25 Oct 2016
- ↑ Press regulator Impress seeks enhanced role as the champion of independent publishers, The Drum, 26 September 2019
- ↑ Guardian global readers' editor, The Guardian, 23 Sept 2013
- ↑ Complaining about a media organisation that is not a member of IPSO or IMPRESS, Information Commissioner's Office (UK)
- ↑ Conservatives repeat pledge to scrap Section 40 cost penalties on newspapers, Press Gazette, 25 November 2019
- ↑ What is Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013?, Index on Censorship, 2017
- ↑ The Real Whittingdale Scandal: Cover Up By The Press, James Cusick, Byline, April 10, 2016
- ↑ Leveson 2 explained: what was it meant to achieve?, The Guardian, 1 Mar 2018
- ↑ "Robert Jay, Leveson's forensic inquirer, prepares to face Rupert Murdoch"
- ↑ http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/about/core-participants/
- ↑ Hacking inquiry: Core participant status for dozens