RESEARCH TOOLS


Afternoon Hearing on Monday, January 23, 2012

John Battle , Jim Gray and Lord Patten of Barnes gave statements at this hearing

Hearing Transcript

(2.00 pm) MR BARR Lord Patten, could we resume by moving to the question of the relationship between the BBC and the print media, particularly the tabloids. Do you see a symbiosis between the BBC and the print media?
A. We're both in the business of journalism, although the media are different, and I do think a point which I think both the Director General and I have made at various times, in various ways I do think there is a fundamental difference between the print media and broadcasting. The sheer intrusiveness of broadcasting into every living room or kitchen or bedroom I think sets it apart from the print media. I've given, as an example of that, from time to time, the publication of the photographs of Colonel Gaddafi when dead and bloodied like Coriolanus. Only in that respect. On the front page of a newspaper, it's on the mat in the morning and you can pick it up and put it away if you don't want your kids to see it. But suddenly on the 6 o'clock news or the 10 o'clock news it did actually provoke, I think, in all broadcasters, real questions about how much they should show, and most of them, I think particularly the BBC, chose not to show as much as Al Jazeera for the reasons of that intrusiveness. So I think there is the difference between us and the print media, and the other difference, which should encourage us not to be sanctimonious, is we don't have to earn our own living. We have the license fee. We pay for that, I hope, through repaying the trust that people repose in us, but it does make life different from that of LORD JUSTICE LEVESON One can really eliminate that issue, can't one, because presumably your other arguments would run just as much whether you were watching the television, the BBC News or ITN?
A. Well, it is true that there are commercial broadcasters as well but I was thinking of, in particular, the difference between the BBC and tabloids. MR BARR I used the word "symbiosis" because I was wondering whether the BBC and other broadcasters are dependent, to some extent, upon the print media to break stories that the broadcasters would not themselves wish to break because they were on ethical boundaries. Do you think there's anything in that or not?
A. Not much, no. I mean, I think that it is true that the tabloids may well break stories which we will then feel obliged to cover, but it's not true that we don't break stories but wait for the tabloids. The Director General this morning gave several examples of stories that we'd broken, whether bullying in the army or the care or the lack of care in care homes for the elderly. Those are both stories that were broken by the BBC. But I agree with you that we occasionally find ourselves reporting tabloid stories which we certainly wouldn't have broken ourselves.
Q. I'd like now to have the benefit of your own experience before your work for the BBC in dealing with the tabloids, and in particular, with the proprietor of one newspaper group. There was a well-publicised dispute between you and Rupert Murdoch in the mid-1990s after you had written a book about your it must have been later than the mid-1990s.
A. 1997/98, yes.
Q. After you'd written a book about your experiences as the governor of Hong Kong. It was reported that Mr Murdoch had personally intervened to prevent the publication of your book by Harper Collins. Are you able to help us with whether or not that allegation is true?
A. Yes, it's completely true. There's a very good book about it by one of Mr Murdoch's former senior executives, who was responsible, I think, day to day for business in China, called "Rupert's Adventures in China", and the writer concerned, who now, I think, runs a television station in Australia he's called Bruce Dover, and that and I don't say this because it's particularly flattering about me; it's not, but it's an extremely accurate account of what happened with some of the detail that I wouldn't have known. Shall I summarise the position?
Q. Perhaps you could start LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No, do.
A. I'd written a book about Hong Kong, where I'd occasionally had a less than placid relationship with the authorities in Beijing, and Harper Collins bid I think more than anybody else for it, but they also had the great advantage, as far as an author is concerned, of having probably the best non-fiction editor in London, a great man called Stuart Profit. So we took the Harper Collins ?50,000 advance. I wrote the first six chapters. The editor at Harper Collins was sufficiently impressed to hold a party for me at the Savoy with quite a large group. There were then quite a lot of booksellers. It was before the events of the last decade, and we had a party and Mr Profit was very flattering about the quality of the book. At about this time, apparently, Rupert Murdoch learnt that Harper Collins were going to publish it, and this coincided with his always-doomed attempts to extend his empire into China. There's a story told in one of the documents you asked me to look at, a review, I think, by John Lanchester, of a number of books about Mr Murdoch. The story told about a meeting that Mr Murdoch had with Zhu Rhongji, who is wrongly described in the article as vice president he was actually premier of China in which Zhu Rhongji apparently said to Mr Murdoch: "I see you've changed your citizenship from Australian to American in order to buy a newspaper in New York. Are you intending to become a Chinese citizen in order to extend your empire into China?" The Chinese thought this was a terrific joke. I think most people agreed, most people who know very much about China, that it was always highly inplausible that the Chinese would let News International loose in China, but plainly, Mr Murdoch took the view that publishing a book which was critical of the Chinese leadership would not improve his chances, so he instructed Harper Collins to drop the book on the grounds that it was no good, which plainly there was much evidence to suggest that that wasn't the view of the main editor at Harper Collins. Well, the upshot was, not least thanks to having some very good informal legal advice from the late Lord Alexander and some good formal advice, and thanks to the extraordinary courage of Stuart Profit, the editor who refused to back down and say the book was no good he lost his job. He was served with a letter from lawyers. He lost the keys to his car, the works. He's now, I'm pleased to say, a senior editor at Penguin but it was very tough for him at the time. But the upshot was that we eventually secured an apology and ?50,000 and the book was published in America with a sticker on the front saying, "The book that Rupert Murdoch refused to publish", so it was worth tens of thousands on the sales of the book. That's the story in a nutshell. I think, to be fair to Mr Murdoch, which I always try to be, he behaved in China as a lot of other businessmen do: assuming, incorrectly, that in order to do business in China you have to kowtow politically to the Chinese authorities. You can't blame the Chinese that they don't dispel that illusion, but there it is. It is a delusion, I think. MR BARR What did you understand Mr Murdoch's motive to be in intervening in
A. To curry favour with the Chinese leadership. I mean, it was a commercial decision, I don't think, which rebounded to my financial advantage.
Q. Can I move now more broadly to relations between the BBC and politicians. In your position as chairman of the BBC Trust, how much contact do you have with serving politicians?
A. Not much. I'm a member of the House of Lords, but when I became chairman of the Trust, I agreed to resign the Conservative whip in the House of Lords and become a cross-bencher. I attend the House of Lords from time to time, although I don't vote on controversial issues, but I see ex-politicians in the House of Lords from time to time. I have seen the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport since I've been chairman of the Trust, I think, twice or maybe three times, and I've spoken to him on the telephone a couple of times. I have texted him once or twice. I've seen the Prime Minister once.
Q. Accepting
A. I'd have presumably seen the Prime Minister and other party leaders more frequently if I'd been a News International executive.
Q. Accepting that there is ample scope for legitimate discussion between you, as chairman of the trust, and politicians, can I ask you whether you've been the subject of any pressure which you would consider to be improper
A. No.
Q. from politicians?
A. Absolutely not. I should add that I've also seen Mr Miliband and Mr Clegg, so I've seen the party leaders. I've seen the first ministers in Wales and Northern Ireland, and I'm seeing the first minister in Scotland next month. I see the all-party parliamentary group in the Houses of Parliament about twice a year, and I gave receptions at the three party conferences, which my predecessor had already planned, but I don't intend to do it again.
Q. Moving back in time to your period as an active politician during the 1980s and early 1990s, what was your recollection of the interaction between the major political parties and the tabloid media?
A. I think major political parties, and particularly their leaders over the last 20 or 25 years, have often demeaned themselves by the extent to which they've paid court on proprietors and editors. Of course I'm in favour of talking to editors and journalists but I'm not in favour of grovelling, and I think that politicians have very often laboured under again, I'm reminded of something I said by the documents you asked me to look at. I think that politicians have allowed themselves to be kidded by editors and proprietors that editors and proprietors determine the fate of politicians. I think that there's plenty of evidence that in some cases, particularly News International newspapers, they back the party that's going to win an election. So they give you what you don't need in return for more than a great deal of faith. I was party chairman for the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1992. I did go to Wapping once, but I declined and made myself quite unpopular with some of my colleagues I declined to phone up editors whenever they said anything unpleasant about the government. I mean, I just I think it's well, the word I used earlier is "demeaning" and I don't think politicians should do it.
Q. The 1992 election was, I think, the one which the Sun claimed to have won
A. "The Sun Wot Won It".
Q. Indeed. Do I take it from your evidence that you would dispute that proposition?
A. Yes. I'd lost my seat in 1992 but wasn't going to Hong Kong until end of June, so I had a couple of months still as party chairman after the election, which is rather unusual, but it enabled me to do quite a lot of market research on the advertising campaign that we'd fought, the posters, the party political broadcasts, and one of the surveys I remember that we did suggested that the majority of Sun readers thought it was a Labour newspaper. So it was a pretty bizarre claim for the Sun to have made. Of course, it strongly supported John Major's re-election, but I don't think it was the reason for that reelection. But Kelvin McKenzie was always a bit of a lad.
Q. You're on record as saying I think this is in relation to Mr Murdoch, but you can correct me if I'm wrong "His help is only available when you don't need it."
A. Yes. In other words, when you're probably going to win the election anyway. But I do think because you began by mentioning my financial dealings with Mr Murdoch, albeit very courteously. I wouldn't want anybody to think that I have a vendetta about Mr Murdoch. I think it's probably the case that there are some newspapers which still exist in this country because of him. I think he's serious about newspapers, whether you like it or not. I think Sky News has been a terrific success, and I think in his understanding of the impact of the digital revolution on the media, he's a sort of entrepreneurial genius.
Q. I think as a matter of plain chronology, the 1992 election was some years before your dispute about the book.
A. It was.
Q. You've explained your own views to the influences of the tabloid press on elections. Can I ask you, though, about what your understanding of your political colleagues' perception was. Was it the view of many influential politicians that the tabloid editors did make a difference to the fortunes of political parties?
A. It makes some impact sometimes. But I think that politicians in office, or for that matter, some of them out of office, would sleep better at night and make better decisions if they weren't quite as affected by the front pages of newspapers. I think Clement Attlee might have taken to this extremes, only really using newspapers to check up on how the county cricket championship was going, but I think he was erring on the right side.
Q. Can I move now to the future. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Before you move to the future, let's stay with the present just for a moment. You've explained your view about the 1980s and the relationship between politicians and the press, and you are the first minister of the Crown who's actually come to give evidence. Do you mind if I ask for your bird's eye view and I appreciate that you were both in Hong Kong and then in Europe as to whether that's changed over the years, whether you think it's got better or worse, more serious, less serious?
A. I think it's got more serious. My view hasn't changed, and I have consistently given colleagues and at least one prime minister the advice that he/they shouldn't worry as much about the newspapers. I think it is the case that politicians have got closer to editors and journalists over the period, and not always to their advantage or benefit. Indeed, very often, the reverse. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'm sure there has to be the ability to have a free flow of information between politicians and editors, at least I always have to be careful about saying that. I think I'm sure, subject to anybody saying anything to the contrary. But is there a distinction to be drawn, and how could it be drawn, between the entirely legitimate interplay and the extent of contact which generates either influence or the perception of unsatisfactory influence?
A. Well, I think it is a question of where you draw the line. I think reasonably regular meetings with journalists, particularly when they're on the record, is to be welcomed in an open democracy. But I think that seeing quite so much of journalists or executives from one particular stable or another is not very sensible politics, and isn't a very healthy democratic development over the last few years. I think it's a question, frankly, of this is an old-fashioned word. I think it's a question very often of how seemly it is for a minister or for a politician to behave in a certain way, and I think to appear to be manipulated by some newspapers or a group of journalists doesn't make very good sense. People very often refer to the Thatcher years as where all this started. I'm not sure about that. What I am sure about is that there were some journalists she saw a surprising amount of, not because they were supporters but because she thought they were intelligent and she liked arguing with them. I mean, Hugo Young was a very good case in point. They were chalk and cheese in their political views. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That raises the question of where it went wrong, whether it's a consequence of newspaper people being appointed to communications jobs or the willingness of politicians to visit editors. Where has it gone beyond what is appropriate
A. I don't think, sir, that you can that one I know you weren't doing it. I don't think that one should necessarily blame editors and proprietors and journalists. I think that it's politicians who have been eagerly hitting the ball over the net. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes.
A. So I don't I don't blame journalists. I think one journalist who has spoken in the same sort of sense as I have this afternoon to you, sir, who takes the same view is Max Hastings, who was a very distinguished editor of the Telegraph and the Standard, who thinks that politicians pay a ridiculous amount of social political attention to his colleagues these days. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON When I say "when it went wrong", where, for whatever reason, the balance tipped.
A. Yes. I think it probably tipped when the, I think, assumed truth took root that News International determined the outcome of elections. I mean, there was an interesting editorial in the Times last week, I think on the same day that Mr Harding gave evidence, and I think his paper has covered the hacking case extremely fairly and in a balanced way, since just after the beginning, at least, and I think that's admirable. But there was an editorial in which he said that he and other editors shouldn't want to be able to go into Number 10 whenever they felt like it and, as it were, put their arm around the Prime Minister. That wasn't the issue. The issue was the Prime Minister and politicians wanting the journalist to go into Number 10 and put their arm around the journalists, and I think that's something that has grown over the years, under governments of both parties. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. I didn't think you were making a party political point at all.
A. No, but it would I'd need a lot of persuading to organise sleepovers for newspaper executives. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. There's an interesting balance between the right of anybody to be friendly with whomsoever they wish. The question is: when that and I'll use the same words tips over. You're quite right when you say that looking at it from my perspective is probably not looking at the position of what can be done about the press. It may be what, if anything, can be done about politicians? And I'm not saying anything can be done, but where this may now touch into what Mr Barr was going to turn about the future. We'll talk about the position of the press first because you're here from the BBC, but I hope you won't mind if I touch my third module as well with you, now I have you.
A. Absolutely. I'm got. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. I mean, you could legitimately say to me: "I'd like to think about it and I'll come back", but I'm entirely in your hands-on that.
A. I sometimes think that, to go back to the word I used earlier, knowing what is seemly behaviour is not necessarily a case of drawing up new rules. It goes, in a way, well beyond that. I guess it's it helps to push in a new direction that the prime minister and other party leaders have now made it clear that they will show all their meetings with members of the media so that one can see if they're seeing too much of this or that newspaper or proprietor or broadcasting organisation. But if I can mention the late Hugo Young again. Hugo Young had an extremely developed sense of what was seemly. I think I'm right in saying he only ever had two politicians in his house. He wouldn't actually invite politicians home because he thought that began to corrupt the relationship between him and the people he was going to write about. Now, that may seem to some people to be excessively sanctimonious. I think it's if a fault, it's very much a fault on the side of virtue. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON We may come back to it. Mr Barr, I'd better stop interrupting you. MR BARR Not at all, sir. In fact, somebody's taken the opportunity to put another question into my hands before we move to the future, and that is to ask you whether, during your time as a politician, you ever came across attempts by the media and I'm certainly not restricting this question to any particular media group to influence government policy behind the scenes.
A. Certainly, but it depends what you mean by "behind the scenes". I don't necessarily think I recall efforts in an underhand way. Sometimes, not just of course most effectively, perhaps, not just behind the scenes, but publicly, by trying to shift public opinion.
Q. That's why I use the qualification "behind the scenes", because I'm not talking now about the overt campaigns run by newspapers in print or particular issues that they campaign for, but whether, in the private dealings between media figures and senior government figures, there was any sort of deal-doing, quid pro quos and that sort of thing. Did you come across any of that?
A. Well, I didn't come across it personally myself but I assume it was going on.
Q. Are you able to help us with any second-hand examples of that from your experience?
A. Anything I said would be merely assumption on my part.
Q. I understand.
A. But sometimes it would have been difficult, I think, to believe that every meeting with journalists or executives in media groups was to do with concerns about the European Union or the macro-economy. Newspapers and media groups have their own commercial interests which they pursue with great vigour, and, as we know from Adam Smith onwards, most of the well, a large number of successful capitalist entrepreneurs over the years have been passionate believers in monopoly.
Q. I'll move on, since you don't have personal direct experience, to the future. Can we use as a starting point for that the speech which you gave to the Society of Editors' annual conference in November of last year. It's in the bundle that's been prepared for you at tab 20, if you want to look it up.
A. Yes.
Q. But I'm simply going to pick up on some of the points which you made in that speech. You said at page 6 of the speech that you wanted essentially to make three arguments, and the first was that: "It is a bit of a distraction to focus too heavily on broadcasters, including the BBC." I'd just like to explore with you what the basis for that was. Were you essentially trying to say that it's a print media problem at the moment?
A. That seems to me to be a pretty good description of where we are. I mean, I always thought that it would be curious if what appears to be evidence of systemic criminality in a part of the print media led to people questioning the way broadcasters operate, not least a public service broadcaster, but I didn't mean that I didn't mean only that but you might want to explore with further questions.
Q. Indeed. Your second point we may come back to the detail later was that it would be wrong to try and import any model of regulation from the broadcast media to the press. You've already heard the chairman say that he's certainly not minded to do that, but can I explore with you what particular aspects of that proposition troubled you? Was it the fact that it's a statutory scheme which regulates broadcasters?
A. Well, it's a statutory scheme which covers all broadcasters. It's partly statutory and partly, as you explored this morning with Mark Thompson, a royal charter which affects the BBC. I mean, we're both subject to Ofcom and our own regulators as well, and our independence is guaranteed by the royal charter. What I was trying to argue against and perhaps it's knocking down an Aunt Sally was any suggestion that because regulation worked well for broadcasters, it should therefore work equally well for the print media, and I think as I said to you earlier when talking about intrusiveness, I do think there is a difference between the print media and a broadcaster. But the mixed sort of regulation that we have in the BBC does, I think, work remarkably well, and we have a good I don't mean by that a pliant a good relationship with Ofcom, and I think our regulation of the executive works pretty well. But I think there is a you, sir, talked this morning about a peppermint with a hole in the middle. I do think that what I was trying to address, perhaps not very satisfactorily, is what seems to me to be one of the other peppermints in these discussions. Let me explain. Virtually every editor and most journalists argue, of course, that they don't want to see state regulation of the press, and all sorts of arguments are put about speaking truth to power and so on, even occasionally by one or two who haven't been noticeable by their defence of truth over the years, but that's another matter. In order to win that argument, there has clearly to be a credible system which you can put in place of what we have at the moment, and what I meant by the hole in the middle of the peppermint is that nobody yet seems to have come up with anything which is entirely credible. I've read about the appointment of ombudsmen and I've read about one or two other things, but I'm not so sure how you do any of that without some involvement of the state. So while I hope that the Inquiry manages to find some other way of dealing with these issues I think it would be preferable for the state not to be involved, but it's up to the press themselves, in the first place, to actually produce something which seems to make sense. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON In the leading article to which you referred a few moments ago, it was abundantly clear that the concern was that once the state became involved by passing an Act of Parliament, it was thought that would have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and freedom of expression because, however carefully one drafted legislation, it could always be amended. I'm not quite so sure about that, if one enshrined the principles of independence of the press in a statute, but in any event, if one takes the model that you have, you have a charter that lasts ten years but in ten years' time, as you are aware as the time clicks off, there will have to be another arrangement, and if Parliament wants to legislate, then they'll legislate and the problem arises in any event. So there's nothing to stop Parliament doing anything it wants ultimately. The problem is to try and find a way of ensuring the correct balance, as I was saying earlier today, between freedom of expression and freedom of the press on the one hand, and the rights of others. I was rather hoping, until I read the interview of you in today's newspaper
A. I repeated what I'd said before, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. Well.
A. Grim consistency. Well, I mentioned in the speech to which counsel referred that wonderful Tom Stoppard paradox, that most of us want to draw a line but we don't trust anybody to actually do the drawing, and I guess it's the default position of most politicians or ex-politicians, and it's certainly the default position of journalists and editors, that the as soon as one starts talking about regulation, they reach for the "known rules of ancient liberty", to quote Milton, and are very reluctant to get drawn into anything which will involve them, however cleverly you draw the line, in what some will think is an infringement of the freedom of the press. I think that Baroness O'Neill, in a remarkable lecture at Oxford two or three months ago, did draw a pretty good distinction between process and product, and made it clear that if you were talking about regulation, you'd only be talking about process, and she also referred to ownership and to privacy. I think it's a very convincing argument. I would prefer it if we could do without the state becoming a regulator, just because I think, if possible, politicians should be kept out of these areas, but unless the press, owners, editors, come up with a convincing scheme, we'll presumably get drawn in that direction. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But would politicians necessarily become involved if you're simply devising a process and not attempting to affecting product at all?
A. Well, they get involved, sir, even when they've taken the decision to set up an independent organisation. The BBC, for example. The BBC is independent. That's why it's based on a charter rather than statute. If one looks at easy way of getting all these facts. If you look at Wikipedia, there's page after page of examples of fights between the BBC and governments over the years, in many of which the rest of the media have been rather quiet in what has seemed to the BBC to be an assault on their freedom. There were several well-known instances during the IRA terrorist campaign. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Mm.
A. So politicians will very often get involved or throw their weight around even when they're dealing with an allegedly well, with an actually independent organisation. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. They might equally criticise the press in any event, and frequently do.
A. Yes. MR BARR As part of that debate, you make the point later in your speech that the statutory system of regulation of broadcasters has had the result of regulating but not censoring broadcasters, so whilst accepting that it might not be appropriate to move the regulatory system for broadcasters lock, stock and barrel, would you agree that it's certainly possible to have a statutory system of regulation which regulates without censoring?
A. Yes. I imagine you could have a system which had a statutory framework or fallback which didn't fetch up with us with, in effect, the same sort of attitude to politicians' privacy as the French show. I think it was Ian Hislop, in evidence to this Inquiry, who made that point in evidence, which I thought was pretty convincing in most of its particulars.
Q. The third point that you make is that newspapers themselves need to find ways to rebuild public trust in what they do, and that's something that you mentioned a moment ago. It's something that a number of people have said to the Inquiry. Can I put this to you, though: a political contemporary of yours in the late 1980s described the media, particularly the print media, as drinking at the last-chance saloon. It seems in many ways that since then the media has turned that drink in the last-chance saloon into a veritable pub crawl of last chances, because we've had Calcutt, two reports, the issues raised by the Information Commissioner and then the hacking scandal. To what extent can we really leave it to the press to come up with their own solution?
A. Who used that cliche?
Q. I think it was David Mellor, wasn't it?
A. Ah. Right. Well, it was another of my contemporaries actually I'm a bit older than him talked about the behaviour of the press being like feral beasts, which I thought was perhaps overdoing it. I think it would be far preferable if the written media themselves could clean out the stables and I assume that there would be a consensus for that proposition, though it would be clouded, I guess, with a certain amount of doubt as to whether or not it will happen. But certainly I think that would be the most hopeful way forward. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON The problem in that regard would be whether it could have muscle or the power to do that which certainly even some editors have said it would have to be able to do. It has to work for the press, as I've said many times, but it also has to work for those who have been the subject of unlawful and inappropriate press intrusion.
A. Yes, and my assumption is that there will be more pressure on the press to come up with convincing answers, because my assumption is we haven't yet heard the whole story. I suspect there is much more still to come. So I would have thought there would be a lot more pressure on the press to find some convincing answers. MR BARR You touch upon, in your speech, the question of pluralism and you talk about the market share which the BBC has and various statistics in your speech, one of which is that BBC News still reaches 80 per cent of adults every week. Do you think that there is a pluralism problem in the media at the moment or not?
A. I don't, actually. I wouldn't necessarily start from the BBC in answering that point. I'd probably start from the way that Sky has covered the hacking story, where Sky has probably devoted more time to the hacking story than the BBC has, proportionately, which shows a good deal of spirited independence on the part of that very good news channel. Do I think that the sort of statistics which the Director General gave the Inquiry this morning suggest that the BBC is excessively dominant? Well, a number of responses to that. First of all, the BBC is a declining part of the broadcasting economy. The BBC has never represented such a small part in economic and financial terms of the broadcasting economy as it does today. Secondly, in many respects the BBC gets involved in the provision of news because of market failure. This has been apparent in our recent consultation with the public about how we accommodate ourselves to a smaller budget, and one of the proposals which had been put forward was quite substantial cutbacks in local talk radio. Huge volume of criticism of that proposal. Much more criticism of that than of anything else we proposed, because without the BBC there wouldn't be any local talk radio to speak of. So there is an example where the BBC has been pushed into the provision of news services because, in part, of the lack of any commercial alternative. The overwhelming point about our dominance in the news is that it reflects, I believe and hope, the quality of what we're doing and the fact that people choose to listen to the BBC, to get their news from the BBC. The Times newspaper, about three months ago, had an interview with Mrs Dave Bowie in which she said that Dave didn't believe anything until he'd heard it on the BBC. Whether or not that is a fair commentary on our performance, it's one we should try to live up to, not smugly or complacently, but we should definitely set ourselves, as the Director General said, the highest standards. If we fall below them, my guess is that fewer people will watch or listen to the news on the BBC.
Q. My final question to you is picking up on what Lord Justice Leveson said to you a moment ago. It's about where do we go from here with the relationship between the media and politicians for the future. Do you have any thoughts that you can assist the Inquiry with, please?
A. I think that it's a help, as I mentioned, that the prime minister and the other party leaders have agreed to publish not necessarily accounts of their meetings with members of the media but the number of times they see the media, and I would guess as well that politicians will take from events that the Inquiry is examining a recognition that if they get too close to the media, it can become a tarbaby and leave them looking pretty bedraggled or disshelved. I also assume that another view that politicians will take from what has been happening is the point that was made by Mr Hislop in his evidence, that this isn't just a question of whether the press is regulating itself adequately. Plainly, it's not. It's also a question of activities which are themselves criminal are being pursued sufficiently energetically by the police. MR BARR Thank you. Those were all my questions. There may be some more from LORD JUSTICE LEVESON It's rather difficult to fall back on relying on intervention by the police in the light of competing demands upon their time, and shouldn't, should it, relieve the press of maintaining appropriate standards themselves?
A. I agree with that. I agree that the first task is for the media overall to behave better. But when they engage in illicit activity, I think the police should pursue it actively, rather than develop an unhealthily close relationship with some journalists or editors or proprietors. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I agree with that. As you know, the next part of this Inquiry is going to deal with the relationship between the press and the police, before we come back to that which you've been asked about, which is the press and politicians, which inevitably will have to be self-regulatory in the sense that that requires a cultural shift, which, as I think you have said, you already detect. You haven't put it in those words, but that's effectively what you're saying. With that, I agree. You have the advantage of spanning both the political spectrum, with your background, and more recently, of course, the media, and that plays into a fair part of what I am thinking about. It is perfectly fair of you to say, "Nobody seems to me to have said how you make the system more credible without statutory back up", and I have no answer to that myself.
A. It's true. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That's fair enough. But as this Inquiry proceeds, if, using all the experience that you've obtained from the various jurisdictions in which you've worked, you do light upon a way forward, I would be extremely grateful if you would let me know.
A. Certainly, sir. I would assume that even as you ask these questions or make these points, wheels are whirring in Wapping and elsewhere, trying to find some ways in which independent regulation could be made effective, but you pointed to one obvious problem this morning, which is: what happens when one proprietor doesn't want to be part of the process? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That's the point. One of the reasons that I've conducted this Inquiry in the way that I have, which is to ask questions, which judges are forever doing, but make suggestions, which then are reported as revealing my thinking one of the reasons I've taken that course is effectively to have a dialogue with the press and the media through witnesses and through the fact that the Inquiry is being reported fully and is available to be seen, in order that just the exercise you've mentioned can happen. I hope that it has been helpful that I've identified concerns, elicited concerns, thought about possible ways forward, so that those who are thinking about it can take them into account as they work up a strategy to suggest, because I recognise that it is critical that people are carried forward by whatever happens, rather than simply receive a report from me in whatever number of months it is and then simply all do their very best to throw it into the extremely long grass. So that's why I've done what I've done, to agree with you and to plug the point again, but the problem is that it can't simply be a solution that the press feel they can live with, unless it is a solution that the public can live with as well, and one of the effects, it seems to me, of the revisions over the last few months has been to underline the need to take the public with the press. You make the point that there may still be more to come, and it is, of course, one of the problems of the Inquiry and its structure that I am not permitted to look at the detail for fear of interfering with a police investigation, but I am required to come up with some solutions before all that can happen. That's quite a demanding request. Therefore, it seems to me to be important to take all the problems of which we've heard, from whatever source they've come, and recognise that there is a very important need for whatever works (a) to work for the press, (b) to work for the public, and (c) to be inclusive, the refusenik problem, not merely for motives that may be associated with antipathy but also for the motives that Mr Hislop gave in his evidence to which you have twice referred. I'm sorry that you've had to be the subject of a speech, but given that you've given me the opening for it, it seems
A. Well, you don't need my flattery, sir, but it does seem to me that it's an admirable example of tutorial governance and shaping a debate which we hope will enable everybody to contribute to a more satisfactory outcome would be a very considerable public bonus which you would have done the country. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, we'll have to see. Lord Patten, thank you very much indeed.
A. Thank you very much. MR BARR Sir, the next witness is Mr Gray. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Just give Mr Gray a moment. We'll let the BBC leave, first. MR JAMES ARTHUR GRAY (affirmed) Questions by MR BARR MR BARR Mr Gray, could you give the Inquiry your full name, please?
A. Full name, James Arthur Gray.
Q. Are the contents of your witness statement true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief?
A. They are.
Q. You tell us that you joined ITN in 1997, initially as deputy editor of Channel 4 News, and you've been the editor since 1998; is that right?
A. Correct, yes.
Q. Prior to joining Channel 4 News, you were deputy editor of BBC's Newsnight, and across ten years at Newsnight, your other roles included output editor, commissioning editor, senior film-maker and political producer. Before BBC television, you had five years at BBC radio, current affairs, across a range of programmes, including The World Tonight and political programmes.
A. Correct, yes.
Q. You tell us in your witness statement about how Channel 4 News is structured and regulated. You tell us that ITN is contracted by Channel 4 to produce Channel 4 News. You identify three avenues of compliance: first of all, the ITN system; secondly, the Channel 4 system, and thirdly, contractual responsibilities between ITN and Channel 4 requiring consultation and notice in certain circumstances. As the editor, you tell us that you are ultimately responsible for the editorial content of Channel 4 News and you explain how you work with your head of news and current affairs, who presumably is a subordinate of yours; is that right?
A. At Channel 4? No, not separate company. That's the commissioning agency. So Dorothy Byrne, the head of news and current affaris, is my liaison point at Channel 4.
Q. I see. Thank you for clarifying that. But certainly above you, you were also responsible to ITN's chief executive officer, John Hardy?
A. Correct. That's right.
Q. You explain that there is a head of compliance, Mr Battle, from who we are going to hear in a moment, who is an ITN employee, and then you move to tell us about some of the paper systems. There is an ITN compliance manual which the Inquiry has a copy of. There is a Channel 4 independent producer handbook, and you explain that there is regular compliance training and that duty lawyers are available. You move, after explaining that system, to tell us a little bit about the aims of what you're trying to do. You tell us that you are essentially in the business of investigative reporting and doing so with accuracy, fairness and due impartiality, and that your aim is to deliver original journalism and analysis and to hold those in power to account. Is that correct?
A. Correct.
Q. That means that you frequently produce reports that require a diligent approach to legal and regulatory compliance. You explain that your practices and policies have not changed as a result of the phone hacking allegations, although ITN has been reviewing its compliance manual in case changes are necessary. Was that a review which was triggered by the phone hacking scandal or was that a matter that was going to occur in any event?
A. The review of the compliance manual is permanent, it's always ongoing, so there was another manual due in any case, but as part of the process triggered by this Inquiry, we have held an independent external Inquiry into ITN's journalistic practices and some the findings of that will feature in the new compliance manual, which in fact is out in the last few weeks.
Q. Did the inquiry to which you've just adverted investigate whether or not there has been phone hacking at Channel 4?
A. Yes. Specifically so, and a range of other matters too, and the outcome, of course, as you may expect, was that there was no evidence of any phone hacking, blagging, payment to police or any of the other practices which have been concerning this Inquiry.
Q. Looking at your procedures and practices, I note that there is a section on surveillance and the law. It reads: "Using surveillance techniques such as telephone tapping, radio receivers, listening devices or intercepting emails to carry out an investigation can amount to a criminal offence and should be avoided." Is that a recent addition to your procedures
A. No.
Q. or is that one that's been on the books for a long time?
A. Such a guideline was in the previous manual, already existing throughout the entire period we're talking about here, through the hacking scandal. It's now been slightly altered but the explicit reference to those means of illegal information gathering has been there for some time. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I gather that you're about to introduce a new version?
A. A new compliance version has just been issued to all ITN staff. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Would it be possible for us to see the extent to which you've made changes?
A. Of course. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Because that might help inform us about other things.
A. Of course. In fact, I think some conversations have already taken place and that will be provided. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. MR BARR You go on to explain a little bit about how things work in practice, and first of all about your approach to sources. You say it's rare for Channel 4 to broadcast a story where you rely solely upon information given to you by a source, whether on or off the record, or where the information is not accompanied by a video interview or document. Is that because of the risk of inaccuracy?
A. There's that, but there's quite a number of issues there. Yes, there's a risk of inaccuracy, but also we're in the business of television, so ideally it's not just purely information that's one aspect of it, something to show in television journalism but also, if it's very serious claims or allegations being made by a confidential source, that would raise issues about the provenance, the motivation, the integrity of the source, which would trigger a whole series of questions and procedures around that to make sure it was stood up, frankly.
Q. You go on to say that the editor would not normally insist on having the actual identity of the source. I'm looking at page 4 of your statement, paragraph 6, if that helps you
A. Yes.
Q. Mr Gray.
A. Yes.
Q. What I want to explore is: does that mean that Channel 4 is, on rare occasions, prepared to broadcast a story based upon a single source, off the record, who the editor is not aware of the identity of?
A. That can happen. It's rare, but one of the areas where it might happen would be this has already been referred to in another by other witnesses in the area of political journalism. It can be the case that a senior politician may tell something of interest to my political editor, for instance, but it's completely off the record. My political editor would assess that, would assess the credibility of it and it could be that that in itself, the politician believing or saying these things, is indeed a story, albeit unattributably. So it could happen in certain circumstances.
Q. You go on later in your witness statement to talk about the approach to the methods which you use to obtain stories, and there is emphasis on the word "proportionate methods to obtain stories". I'm now looking at paragraph 8 of your witness statement. Can you help us a little bit with how Channel 4 News approaches the question of the public interest when evaluating whether an invasion of privacy is warranted or not?
A. Okay. Well, probably the clearest example of that would be whenever there's a proposal to use some means of subterfuge or secret filming to gather evidence about a story. In that case, what would happen would be an assessment would be made of prima facie evidence for using a technique like that, what's already known about the story, is there any indication that what are the indications that using the methods would result in success, the material is there to regard. We use similar principles to I think it's called the Omand principles, a whole series of tests about the proportionality of what is being proposed matches the level of gravity of what the story may be. What it would involve would be discussions, documented discussions amongst the production team involving in this case, secret filming myself, the head of compliance. Those would be documented. And also a proposal like that, there is a mandatory referral to Channel 4, so there would be other discussions ongoing with Channel 4 about the matter, and that's only at the proposal stage, which would be progressed and only with authority from myself and also with the agreement of Channel 4 would we then proceed. So there's a whole series of tests and discussions which would be an audit trail would be laid down about the proposal to use rather extreme and rare forms of journalistic practices in these case.
Q. Can I ask you to slow down a little bit, please?
A. Of course.
Q. Because the transcriber needs to be able to keep up.
A. Sure.
Q. Following the subject of privacy stories, can you give us an indication of the circumstances in which Channel 4 News would give advance notice to the subject of a story which is going to be an invasion of privacy?
A. In those cases, if it was well, under the Ofcom code, we are and obliged to give timely and appropriate means of response to the subject of a story. For the ITN compliance manual, which adds new layers to the Ofcom principles adds layers of practice, best practice and how to go around carrying out such investigations what we would do, if it was a serious allegation of wrongdoing or criminality, we would normally expect to contact the subject of the story in writing, putting forward the claims and the allegations and the evidence we had for what was going to be proposed to be contained in the report, and then give sufficient amount of time for the subject to respond. That can vary. That's not set down but it could be a matter of days or it could be longer. In some cases, depending on the response from the subject, it can drag on. In fact, you can get engulfed in correspondence quagmire when you're dealing with lawyers at well-heeled organisations who can use the right-to-reply process in order to defer or delay the journalism. That's part of the way it is and if you have a real good story, you will navigate your way through that.
Q. What happens when you can't find the subject of the story? Will you publish anyway?
A. You try very, very, very hard, particularly if it's grave or higher allegations. In those cases, it's still possibly that we may publish, but you have to be clear with the audience then about the extent to which you tried and what happened. There was no reply. You can also do other means of making sure, out of fairness, that the subject's views may have already been known from previous utterances or from other instances and you may refer to those in order to give a fair account of what the subject might say or where they've already said about this the issue in another forum.
Q. Can I ask you about how compliance with the procedures and practices you've outlined is secured in practice? Do you have a complaints system for viewers?
A. We have complaints well, there's different kinds of complaints. There are the ongoing low level complaints, which may actually never go higher up. There's a call to journalists from somebody saying a political source saying, "I was unhappy last night." Normally they get resolved and it's just the to-ing and fro-ing of journalism. But when a complaint reaches a higher level, the way we deal with it at Channel 4 News is my deputy editor, who is usually the principal point to handle the complaints, will work closely with the production team, will assess and discuss with them what was said in the report, outline for them what the complainant is saying, discuss that, usually with the head of compliance, and if it's a serious complaint, it would then come to me. This would all be documented. Channel 4 would also be kept in the loop and we try to get through it as quickly as we can. If it goes to Ofcom, of course that sets in a whole new different level of process under the Ofcom terms.
Q. Within Channel 4, are you where the complaint buck stops?
A. Yes.
Q. Are you the top of the chain?
A. Yes, I am. I should say, we don't get many complaints. Over the last five years I was just looking it's a handful I mean, not these low level ones but ones that require senior management action or response, it's a handful a year, and we haven't actually had a finding against us from an Ofcom complaint except once in the last five years, I think, and that was a partial ruling against us on an investigation.
Q. Have you been the subject of successful litigation either for defamation or privacy?
A. No, no.
Q. In addition to the paper systems that you've explained in your witness statement and the training, do you do anything else to inculcate an ethical culture into those journalists who work for you and other staff?
A. You say in addition to the training?
Q. In addition to the training.
A. Well, part of that is the culture. At ITN generally and also Channel 4 News, I would say that the journalists have highly seized with the requirement to behave ethically. It's part and parcel of the terrain of holding to account and challenging authority, challenging consensus and established views, which is part of the remit we agree with Channel 4. If you take that as part of your lodestone, you have to except that you yourself will be held to account, so having to carry out our journalism in a way that we would be happy in justifying later on is really a big deal at Channel 4 News. We don't want to trip up. We don't want to cause any problems, and we certainly don't want so have any incoming attack on our reputation or integrity which would then go forward to possibly damage Channel 4's repute, which we are contractually obliged to uphold and we must uphold and we want to. So the culture at Channel 4 News is already highly conscious and aware of these things. We occupy a particular niche area within public service broadcasting within Channel 4, which already has a distinctive remit. I try myself to also set a culture from the top. I take a hands-on approach to some of the more serious investigations. I will get heavily involved in the compliance procedures through the course of the journalism, and I make a point to be out and about in the newsroom, and issues of fairness, impartiality, they're turned over all the time at programme meetings. It's in the DNA. It's there all the time. It's not an add-on. It's not seen as an external position. It's what we do.
Q. Could I ask you again to slow down a little bit for the shorthand writer?
A. I do apologise.
Q. On the question of private investigators, if we can move to that, you tell us at paragraph 11 of your statement that you're only aware of two occasions when journalists have used private investigators to supplement their own efforts, and you tell us that on both occasion it was for the purposes of tracing people.
A. Correct, yes.
Q. You were also asked about whether Channel 4 News has ever paid money to police or public officials, mobile phone companies or others for information and stories. You tell us that to the best of your knowledge and after proportionate internal checks you don't have any instance recorded during the period that we've asked you about, which I think was since 2005.
A. Yes.
Q. Can I ask you first of all to explain to us what you mean by "proportionate internal checks"?
A. This is a reference to the independent inquiry which ITN commissioned as part of this Inquiry, where an outside legal company came in and they decided how they were going to do the inquiry. So they spoke to a range of ITN individuals, from senior corporate management, editorial management, through commissioning figures, through to journalists at the coalface. Also, they checked through audit trails, financial data, payments, HR, the PR departments, and that, I think well, I never heard any evidence or suspicions that there was anything untoward going on, but that inquiry gave me heart that it was robust and that's what I mean by proportionate. They did, it seems to me, a very good internal check and I'm assured that none of these untoward practices have been going on at Channel 4 News.
Q. You go on to say: "We do not have any instance recorded during the relevant period." Which suggests that you're you're talking there about any written record which would suggest such payments.
A. Yes.
Q. Can I ask you whether there was any an he can total evidence of unrecorded payments to such officials?
A. None. None whatsoever. You may be conjuring up the possibility that a journalist could be doing this but not claiming the money for it, doing it out of their own money?
Q. Or making unrecorded cash payments.
A. I have to say that's possible at any media organisation, but you'd have to say if a journalist kept on bringing in stories from a mysterious provenance, attention would be drawn to it, because the kinds of stories we're talking about here, maybe in the area of crime or may involve intrusions, those stories are heavily discussed and monitored and reviewed with senior management. They don't just go to air. So if there was anything any fishy business that wasn't coming up through the documented processes or the discussions with the commissioning figures, flags would go off.
Q. So in sum you're telling us that, having looked, you found nothing?
A. Correct.
Q. Can I ask you now about your relationship with Ofcom? First of all, do you feel that being part of the Ofcom system, regulated by them, has limited your editorial freedom in any way?
A. First point to make first is that ITN is a news provider. We're not actually a broadcaster, so we're at the area of ITN which I'm the editor of, it's a contractual relationship with Channel 4, so the principal relations are the broadcaster and Ofcom. However, we operate under the Ofcom guidelines. If your question is: have those guidelines made me not pursue a story I'd like to it have, the answer is: no. I struggle to think of a story I really wanted to put on the air that I didn't because of the guidelines. That's not to say there might not be an effect on how the story is told, for instance, through the implementation of the guidelines. So, for instance, on the right to reply process, the higher order right to reply process we have through the Ofcom and ITN guidelines, it may be that the journalist has found a range of potential allegations or claims facing a subject. If each one of those is subject to a specific right to reply, it can make for an unwieldy news report. It just makes it difficult television. So you can strim or hone down a report through the process of right to reply, but on the other hand that does make the report more focused. So it works both ways. The short answer is: I've never spiked a report because of an Ofcom guideline.
Q. Do you feel that the Ofcom regulatory system keeps you on the ethical straight and narrow?
A. Yes, but we are there already. We believe it already, but it codifies the principles in a helpful way, which we then, through the ITN guidelines, turn into practice, and that's helpful as well, because for the team at ITN, that makes it our guidelines. It's not an external imposition. This is our culture we're expressing in the guidelines. It makes it more of a collaborative venture rather than: we're only doing this because of it's a series of hurdles we have to overcome to get there. It can feel like that but it makes the journalism better at the end result.
Q. Unlike the print media, you face the prospect of fines in certain cases if you fall foul of the regulator often enough or seriously enough, don't you?
A. It's never actually happened for me, but yes. I think the clear principles the process for dealing with any complaints and then what happens if you're found to be on the wrong side of the complaint is actually really important for the viewer. It gives the sense of credibility, that we know what we're about, we're believable, credible, and we have integrity. So it's an outwards-facing thing as much as an inward imposition. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Has it had any chilling effect upon the way in which you conduct your work collecting and delivering news?
A. No, because no, it hasn't. Other than it can sometimes make you hone your stories down. I'm not saying everything LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I understand the point, but that's not
A. Not chilling, no. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That's not the concern that's been expressed by the print media, as you know.
A. But remember, the other major difference, because we're in public service broadcasting, is due impartiality and fairness. That already sets us in a different space from print media. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, but you don't need to be required to be impartial to behave ethically.
A. Correct, yes. You can have a view but be correct about it, yes, agreed. MR BARR I'm getting the picture of a happy regulatory picture. Is that fair? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON It's not perhaps the word he would use.
A. It's the way it is. I mean, I don't want to sit here and sound smug about it's marvellous under the broadcast terms, because it's onerous, it's rigorous. In the end, though, it does mean that the process itself, the process of doing the journalism, meeting the requirements of our own internal and Ofcom codes, means that you think at an earlier stage about what it is you're doing. You think about the public interest case, you think about the proportionality, in a way that almost tests the arguments that you may face later if something goes wrong or may even resolve some of those argument, therefore obviating any legal or any other course afterwards. You have been some of the process, both in your head but also on paper.
Q. If it's onerous and rigorous, I'm getting the picture that it is, however, delivering a high quality result?
A. Yes.
Q. Is that fair?
A. Yes. Yes, it does.
Q. It's probably a little bit more sophisticated than that.
A. A bit shorter, as well.
Q. What I'm building up to is: what parts of that effective system do you think might be transferable or at least could inform a successful regulatory model for print media?
A. Well, there's been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing today and for the last few weeks about what could be translated across. I've never worked in print, so I hesitate to offer up a solution to you, but on a right to reply, I already hear that there's thinking across other parts of our print media that maybe there's a more generous form of prior notification which would maybe obviate some of the problems they've had. Beyond that, I'm not really to translate Ofcom wholesale not that you're suggesting that into print.
Q. I see. Can I move now to the police and the contact between Channel 4 News and the police. Do your journalists have off-the-record conversations with police staff or police officers?
A. They may do, but we have particular specialist correspondents who operate more in that field with yes, that is an expectation.
Q. Do you give any ethical guidance to your journalists who are going to deal with the police in that way?
A. Well, payments are out, for a start. That's already part of the guidelines. Yes, but I would also say that the journalists who operate in those areas on Channel 4 News and across ITN are actually probably some of the most highly attuned journalist to these very issues. They already start with the knowledge and expertise in making sure that they take very careful footsteps in these areas and they work probably, of all our journalists, most closely with our compliance lawyers than any other.
Q. Why is that?
A. Because the issues of intrusion, of sourcing, and some of the matters that the Inquiry has been dealing with are kind of quite often found in the area of crime, police affairs, than in other parts of the agenda.
Q. Do you personally have any contact with senior police officers as the editor of Channel 4 News?
A. Very rarely. I haven't had formal meetings. I've been in events with other chief police officials, but no.
Q. How often do you meet senior politicians?
A. Rarely, but it does happen. Most of the dealings for Channel 4 News and senior politicians, all politicians, is obviously through my political team. I would tend to get involved when it's functional. By that I mean maybe a conference or around projects that we wish to happen, like an interview or an event, and I add my weight to the discussions with it could be the prime minister's office or a cabinet minister's office about a specific function or aim that we have in mind. Other than that, there are very occasional, not frequent occasions when politicians may be invited by ITN to an off-the-record lunch. Not very common. Maybe two or three times a year, possibly, that that may happen. So I wouldn't say that I'm cosy with the politicians.
Q. Have senior politicians ever tried to persuade you to cover certain areas in order to advance their own political causes?
A. As editor, no, I've never felt it as explicit as that. At previous roles, when I've been a political producer, that happens all the time. Politicians are always trying to attract you to coverage of them which makes them look marvellous and wonderful and correct, but maybe it's because in broadcasting public sector broadcasting with its impartiality and fairness means I'm less an editor there is less of a honeypot for a politician who may wish to reach those ends.
Q. Have you ever sought to influence a politician's politicking?
A. You mean other than an interview in a programme, for instance?
Q. Yes.
A. I haven't, no.
Q. Can I move now to the Internet? How do you guarantee high levels of accuracy and online content when the pace of blogging and tweeting is so quick?
A. Yes, you're right, that's the single biggest shift culture shift in all our lives in the media world. The way we do it is to apply and insist on voluntarily, actually applying the same criteria and ethics to our digital content as to what is goes on the TV, and that means the journalists and the producers approach it in the same way. The issues of compliance arise speed. Speed of delivery. A journalist may blog four times a day, more. Social media there's tweets several times an hour from some of our journalists so we can't use the same models for tweeting that we use for say broadcast, which is a finished, considered piece at the end of the day. However, what we need to do is ensure that our journalists have the mindset and apply the same criteria to their online utterances as they would to their broadcast reports.
Q. If I take blogging as an example, is blogging content checked by
A. Yes, it is.
Q. a second party before it is posted?
A. Yes, because it has to a tweet wouldn't be, but LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Just a bit slower.
A. A blog from one of the Channel 4 news journalists would have to come into the online production desk and then it would be not just process but also assessed editorially. If there were any issues, those would be referred up.
Q. So tweets, are they moderated afterwards?
A. Yes, they are.
Q. On the subject of the Internet, it's obvious now there's a lot of competition to provide news on the Internet, some from your old rivals in broadcasting or the print media but also from news sources and bloggers, for example.
A. Yes.
Q. For the future, do you see a need to extend regulation to Internet news providers any further than there is at present?
A. Are you referring here to the unfairness that they don't have to meet what we do?
Q. Mm, or any other matter that occurs to you.
A. Okay. No. I'm personally not inclined to try and throw a tighter lassoo around digital comment and news. I think the issue that I do believe really strongly is that an online version of a mainstream or a broadcast vehicle should display I believe it has to carry the brand value, same integrity, same journalistic ethics, otherwise you can damage back to the broadcaster or the newspaper. I know there is quite a lovely discussion around: can your online representation vary markedly from how you appear present in print or broadcast, but quite often that's a matter of style, projection, because in the digital space you talk differently. I'm much more freer and looser and convivial actually, not always so but intimate conversation, whereas in broadcast and print it's more considered and more formalised. So that's not a difference in essence; it's just a difference in projection of how you place your same journalistic outlook onto a digital space. So I would stay the same. I would apply the same criteria, the same journalistic ethics. I wouldn't expect others to be subject to anything beyond what the law, for instance, says as at the moment.
Q. Thank you. I'm going to take on board the fact that you've not worked with the newspaperss and are more cautious about venturing into that territory. It's of course the Inquiry's function to consider the recommendations for the future. Is there anything that you would like to say to the Inquiry about future regulation, either of the print media or the broadcast media, at this stage?
A. One, at the risk of appearing to be yet another witness who views who can see concerns but is not a solution provider, I too would say that I'm anxious about a heavy form of statutory regulation in print. I know that the discussion is around how to finesse it and how to make it much more sophisticated and nuanced, but I do have concerns there about statutory regulation in print which flow back to issues of licensing, which I think the discussion is already trying to see how that could be done in ways which it wasn't as politically susceptible to control. But actually, my main issue is a completely different leg of the discussion, which is this Inquiry, quite rightly, is looking at the means of changes in regulation because of some appalling lapses and dreadful activity on behalf some parts of the print media. But there's a different agenda, which is the freedom of expression agenda, which is not part of that, but there are other issues that could be addressed, not by this Inquiry, but would need to be borne in mind in the overall context to make sure that this didn't happen at the same time as any moves to curtail or to constrain or to limit freedom of expression and provision of important information by the media. I'm thinking there of possible legislation, of recent moves to place curbs around police is one instance but there's already talk about public officials having being able to talk to journalists. So there may be other moves afoot which are not part of this Inquiry but may just have to go on mind in a broader context. MR BARR Thank you very much. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you.
A. Thank you. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON We'll just have a break. (3.40 pm) (A short break) (3.49 pm) MR JOHN GERRARD STEVEN BATTLE (sworn) Questions by MR BARR MR BARR Mr Battle, good afternoon.
A. Good afternoon.
Q. Could you give the Inquiry your full name, please?
A. My full name is John Gerrard Steven Battle.
Q. Are the contents of your witness statement true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief?
A. Yes, they are.
Q. I understand, though, that in relation to some of the exhibits, the procedures exhibit, you wanted to say something about the update that was mentioned briefly in the last witness's evidence. The document we have includes a compliance manual which dates from 2004, I think. Is that the document that's been the subject of review?
A. Correct. The original document, the ITN compliance manual, was published in July 2004. It has been reviewed and there is a new edition, November 2011. That is a document which is the updated edition of our compliance manual. I've written it, it's been worked on for about two years, and it is the standard now within ITN.
Q. As Lord Justice Leveson invited the last witness, we can expect a copy of the latest version?
A. Yes. I'd certainly like to help the Inquiry, if I can. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you very much. Could I just ask: have changes been incorporated as a consequence of the events of the last nine months?
A. It's fair to say that as a grown-up and professional organisation, we'd have to have on board the Inquiry and what's been discussed here and within the news. There have been some tightening up procedures, tilting, as you said this morning, sir, towards better regulation. I don't think there's been substantive changes as a result of this Inquiry but it also includes a lot of updates on other issues, such as Twittering in court or online posting, so it's an update. Every news organisation has to ensure that its procedures and manuals keep up to the changing times. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No doubt. But the one that I have, although Mr Barr is correct that it has an introduction that's dated July 2004 do I gather it's actually an updated version that has been altered over the years?
A. It's fair to say over the years we've had new policies but the second edition is the one in November 2011. So it's not updated by month. I'd like to think our standards are constant, but from time to time they'd need to be updated. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, all right, thank you. MR BARR So you tell us in your witness statement that you are an employed barrister and you were called to the bar in 1985. Since 001, you've been a lawyer in the broadcast industry and have worked for over ten years as a head of compliance at ITN. Prior to that, you worked as a lawyer in the newspaper industry and the main newspapers you worked for were the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday, where you were between 1995 and 2001, as the group legal adviser, and Today newspaper, where you were a legal manager from 1990 to 1995; is that right?
A. That's correct. I have experience both in the newspaper industry and in the broadcast sector.
Q. I'm not going to pass over the opportunity, therefore, to ask you to compare the two to some extent. Is there a discernible difference in the ethical culture in the newspapers you worked for and at ITN?
A. Well, you won't be surprised to learn that that was a question that I thought I'd be asked, because I do have quite unique experience in both broadcast and the television sector. The first thing I'd like to say is this: the difference between the broadcast sector and the news and the newspaper sector are not as large as you might think. The journalists, from my experience on both side of the industry, do try to report the truth and do try to act in an ethical way. That's my experience from my time in newspapers and in the broadcast sector. Where I think the main differences come are in what you might call the architecture of the organisations. Within the broadcast sector, we have quite a clear corporate governance in terms of our compliance manual, in terms of training, in terms of the lawyer, myself, attending the main editorial meeting in the morning. In addition, I think the role of the lawyer in slightly different in the television sector to the newspapers. For example, I am the head of compliance. In the newspapers, I was a legal adviser. So as the head of compliance, I think that certain things follow from that. Firstly, that I am there to advise, to ensure that on the day the correct advice is given to lawyers is given to journalists and editors, but also an over-arching duty, I think, to ensure that there is some guidance given to the journalists and to the organisations to ensure it complies with the law. So it's advice plus compliance. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON The compliance limb suggests that you are not merely advising; you can direct. Is that right or not?
A. I would say guide and advise. It's not for me, in the end, to make the decision. I am a lawyer, in the end, not an editor, not the chief executive. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I understand. But if you're responsible for compliance, presumably that carries with it some I don't say "teeth"; that's not the right word, but rather more bite I am saying "teeth" than if you're a legal adviser alone, who might say, "Well, if you do this, then this has certain consequences." Presumably as head of compliance, aren't you rather more in a position to say not merely: "If you do this, this might have certain consequences", but: "Given my role as responsibility for compliance, you can't do this" or: "You shouldn't do this"?
A. Yes. I wouldn't always be quite so blunt at that. There's a process of doing it LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No, no, I'm trying to phrase it quite brightly.
A. Yes, but I think fundamentally you're correct, that there is more bite to the role as a compliance lawyer in the television sector than there is in newspapers, but that's not really just about the lawyer. There are other things as well. For example, we have tighter external regulation through Ofcom, and also, as an organisation, ITN, we're the programme maker, not the actual broadcaster, and part of the equation is what the broadcaster says you know, ITV or Channel 4, and their role in the programme as well. So it's greater external regulation but also internal regulation. But I go back to my fundamental point: what the journalists do and what they're trying to do, there's not as much difference as you would think. MR BARR Can I ask you to compare attitudes to legal risks. Were the newspapers prepared to take greater legal risks when publishing stories than television news has been in your experience?
A. I think it's fair to say different organisations have different levels of risk, and my experience is that the broadcasters we would probably take a risk level akin to a broadsheet, something like a broadsheet newspaper, but a tabloid newspaper may, in some circumstances, take a higher risk than a broadcaster. But that is the nature of the plurality of the media.
Q. In terms of methods, did you sense, comparing your experience of the two branches of the media, any difference in the types of methods that the present media journalists were prepared to use? Were they prepared to use riskier methods?
A. It was quite a long time ago I was in newspapers it was 12 years ago so in terms of the actual details of methods, I can't really recall, you know, details of methods from my time in newspapers. My experience in the last 12 years is in broadcast and the methods there are quite rigorous. You can see through the ITN compliance manual and the BBC producers guidelines that there is a contrast in what you might call the slightly prescriptive way that broadcasters carry out their journalistic methods compared to what you've seen through others giving evidence on the newspaper side.
Q. When you were working for the newspapers, were there any rumours of phone hacking circulating?
A. No.
Q. Did you ever come across phone hacking?
A. No.
Q. Did you ever come across the payment of public officials by journalists, whether by those on the papers that you were working for or others?
A. No.
Q. Can I return now to your witness statement? You tell us about your responsibilities as head of compliance. You start by explaining your advisory duties, then your compliance duties, your obligation being to manage the compliance function. You liaise internally and brief ITN personnel. You draft responses to legal complaints and manage litigation. You draft responses to complaints from the regulator. You provide internal training and you manage the system of duty lawyers. Over the page, you liaise externally on compliance and legal issues and complaints, you write the ITN compliance manual, you draft and put into practice new compliance policies, you provide a monthly update of legal and Ofcom complaints to the director, you attend relevant meetings, you're a representative of the ITN on industry committees. You deal with requests from the police or solicitors for disclosure and you advise non-editorial departments, such as ITN Source, on legal issues. From that portfolio of legal activities, can I ask you first of all about litigation. What volume of defamation and privacy litigation does ITN face?
A. We do not have a large amount of defamation and privacy legislation, it's fair to say. I think the key with ITN is to try to ensure that problems are stopped before broadcast, and we work very hard through our systems and high journalistic standards to ensure that what is broadcast is in compliance with the law and industry codes, and I think that that culture ensures that we actually have a low level of litigation and a low level of complaints.
Q. In terms of successful litigation, whether it's settled or you lose at trial, can you give us some indication not precise statistics but what sort of level of successful legal complaints are we talking about?
A. Not many. In my time, I've been at ITN now for, as I said, over ten years, and we have not fought a libel case all the way through the courts and lost. We have been that's fair to say. In terms of complaints, if we get a libel complaint, we try to ensure we do a fair and reasonable assessment of what the complaint is, and if we believe we've got it wrong, we will try to put it right, ie. we'll reach some form of compromise to resolve the matter. We don't want to fight for the sake of it but as I said, my real point is we do not have a high level of litigation within ITN.
Q. What sort of volume of settlements are we talking about?
A. Well, one thing I would say here, Mr Barr, is a simple point, really. I am a lawyer and it's a matter of sort of professional privilege as well. I think if I was to give out details of numbers to do with the company, it's a matter maybe I'd need to speak to the company about, because it is the company's privilege that I have, not my own.
Q. If you're concerned about privilege, I won't press you. Perhaps you can take instructions and, if necessary, the figures can be provided.
A. Yes. I'm happy to, if the company authorise me to do so. It's not something I'm concerned about but it's a matter of LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. I'm not sure that the extent of litigation is encompassed by the concept of advice given in the course of that litigation. Therefore, in other words, I'm not sure that your company's privilege does arise, but I am certainly content to receive a broad indication later.
A. Thank you very much. I appreciate that. MR BARR Now, if we move to the question of Ofcom complaints, can you give us an indication of the sort of volume of Ofcom complaints that ITN faces?
A. We don't have many complaints from Ofcom. I think it's fair to say within a year we would have I would say about ten complaints that we have to deal with, although within that number not all of them would be substantial complaints. There would be some which would be querying practices or asking us questions, and about four, I think, would be substantial, significant complaints.
Q. You heard Mr Gray's answer to my questions about the operation of Ofcom regulation from the Channel 4 News editor's position. Do you, from your position as head of compliance at ITN, agree with those answers or is there anything you would like to add or take issue with?
A. No, I agree with Jim Gray's answers. We are regulated by Ofcom. We respect the regulator, we abide by their code, and we have no issues with the regulation of ITV and ITV news and Channel 4 News by Ofcom.
Q. I'd just like to explore the ambit of the regulatory system. Obviously news which is broadcast on the television falls within the Ofcom regime, but I'm right, aren't I, that ITN also provides news content for mobile phone providers to make available on 3G phones?
A. We make content for mobile phones. We making a lot of content for the Internet generally as well.
Q. Is that the subject of any regulation?
A. All the content that is produced by ITN is subject to ITN compliance manual, which I believe sets a higher standard than the Ofcom broadcasting code. So it's not really dependent on the individual method by which the content is delivered. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Imagine the quite-impossible-to-imagine circumstance in which there was a concern about something you put on the Internet. Would Ofcom deal with that or would actually that be Press Complaints Commission or nobody?
A. Well, if it was if it was Internet alone, Ofcom would not necessarily deal with it, if it's written text in the actual our Internet site. If it was a video on demand, like 4OD or ITV player, Ofcom can regulate that through ATVOD, the relatively recent new regulator, the co-regulator with Ofcom. But it doesn't Ofcom, as far as I'm aware, does not have the brief over written text within the Internet. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'm not suggesting there's any reason why it should, but does that mean nobody looks at that?
A. No. Within ITN? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No. There's no external body? I'm sure ITN have its compliance
A. I'm not exactly right, yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON and I'm not attacking its compliance regime or its procedures but I'm looking to see whether something external is there or not.
A. I'm not aware of there being a general Internet body that regulates material on the interpret. The Press Complaints Commission does have a role to regulate newspapers that are produced on the Internet, but Ofcom, as far as I'm aware, doesn't, and other regulatory bodies on the Internet, I'm not aware of them. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That's interesting. MR BARR Does the same apply to the 3G mobile phone content? That's not regulated either?
A. I think you'll find that the if it's a mobile phone content, if it's a video on demand, then it may fall under the ATVOD brief, but again
Q. If it's text?
A. Oh, if it's text? I think it's unlikely. If it's video on demand, that's the way into the regulation. I think when the individuals from Ofcom come to give evidence, they will be better to advise, to actually say what the parameters of their brief is, but LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, well, certainly, but you're not members of the PCC.
A. No, exactly. MR BARR Moving to the paper systems, I think you drafted the compliance manual. You tell us not only about the manual but also internal editorial policies which include one for online posting and one for tweeting in court.
A. Yes.
Q. Does it follow that it was thought to be such an important issue that there should be separate policies for those activities?
A. Yes. Last in December 2010, the Lord Chief Justice issued some guidance about tweeting in court. Then there was a consultation. In the interim, ITN produced a protocol about how to carry out this new form of reporting the courts, emphasising the importance of contempt of court and not to prejudice the trial. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, I've read it. Because I had some part in relation to the advice, I was quite interested to see how you put all that.
A. And then in terms of online postings, again with blogging, tweeting and everything else, it's important that it's re-emphasised to our journalists that our standards are constant. It's not dependent on the way content is delivered. We are a high profile company and whatever is broadcast or published in our name must be able to stand up to our standards. MR BARR Can I move now to the compliance manual. There's a section on privacy which summarises the law. I'm looking at tab 3, page 24. Over the page, on page 25 at the top, when dealing with what "private" means, the first bullet point is: "Reporting in places where there is an expectation of privacy. For example: churches, restaurants, offices and private residences." Do you find in practice that interpreting what is a situation which gives rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy is something that you have to give advice on frequently?
A. Privacy is one of the areas I would be advising on privacy, it's fair to say. But there are many others as well, whether it be libel, contempt and so. Privacy is one of the areas and it is a part of the role I conduct within ITN.
Q. Then paragraph 5.4 on the same page, the concept of proportionality is dealt with and the procedure says: "Any action that amounts to a breach of privacy must always be proportionate to the subject matter under investigation. For example, to justify secret filming in a private place, the actual subject matter and/or wrongdoing being investigated must be serious. Not every investigation will warrant employing such methods." That follows a section on the public interest. Am I understanding correctly that at ITN, before you will invade privacy, you expect there to be a public interest and a test of prohibitionality, both of which must be passed before you proceed?
A. Yes, definitely.
Q. Is that test applied at the research stage, ie investigating the story, and at the publication or broadcasting stage, or is it applied only once?
A. It's applied twice. We have within ITN essentially when it comes to secret filming, if we were to do secret filming where there's a high level of privacy issues engaged, there are two stages that would have to be passed. Firstly, there would have to be a stage one form, where the editor signs off and you have to say why it was proportionate, why it was in the public interest, and once the footage has been gained, before broadcast, there would be a second step to ensure that what is broadcast again meets those standards. So it's quite a rigorous process.
Q. Looking over the page at paragraph 5.6, there's further guidance about public figures. It says: "Everyone is entitled to some measure of privacy, even celebrities who put their private life into the public domain. However, whether an individual is a public figure, such as a politician or celebrity, who has placed their private life firmly in the public domain, or an ordinary member of the public who has not sought publicity may be relevant but not necessarily conclusive in considering a privacy issue." Am I to take it from that that ITN's position is that just because somebody has put aspects of their private life into the public domain, they're not necessarily open season for reporting?
A. Exactly right. It depends on the facts of the case. We would look at the specifics. It's fact-sensitive, and if the breach was warranted, taking into account the public interest and our definition of the public interest, then it may be allowed to go forward. But we do provide and you know, guidelines to our journalists to ensure that these tests are properly met. It's not a question of, you know, having no guidelines in place.
Q. This has been an area of developing jurisprudence since the document was drafted in 2004. Is the position of ITN on this particular issue changing at all in the revised guidance?
A. Not significantly. Within 2004, I think within there are two sides to this. There's both the regulatory position but also the law as well, and within the manual in 2004, I did refer to the major case, the Naomi Campbell case. So the position hasn't changed substantially.
Q. There are also sections on data protection and surveillance law, and I read the surveillance law section when questioning Mr Gray. It's on page 34. But I saved some questions about this for you as the draftsman.
A. Yes.
Q. It sets out a number of techniques telephone tapping, radio receivers, listening device or intercepting emails and goes on to say they "can amount to a criminal offence and should be avoided". Is that really strong enough, given that these techniques are all plainly illegal?
A. Perhaps you're right. I think within the revised manual it may be slightly stronger, but we're talking there generally about surveillance techniques, and if you had secret filming that was surveillance, in itself that may not be illegal. It may not be a criminal offence. So it was giving the basic point that telephone tapping and everything else, that can amount to a criminal offence and should be avoided. Really, that's a clear warning to any journalist to stay clear of it unless you're very certain and taking proper advice.
Q. Plainly there was a warning. I don't want to detract from that. I was simply wishing to investigate whether you thought it was really strong enough, given how
A. It's a fair point. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON It will be interesting to see what paragraph 5.25 or its equivalent now says. MR BARR Can you recall LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Don't ask him to remember.
A. I can't remember off the top of my head but I think it does refer to the specific statutes as well. MR BARR Can I ask you now to think a little bit about the contact you might have had with the police first and then politicians. Have you had any contact with senior police figures in your role as head of compliance?
A. No, I haven't.
Q. Politicians?
A. No, I haven't.
Q. Looking towards the future, you have some experience of both sides of the industry and a lot of experience of dealing with Ofcom. Do you have any difficulties with the possibility of a future regulatory system which has a statutory backstop?
A. Expressing a personal view, I have a very strong view that the ecology and the way Ofcom is regulated is different to the way the press is regulated and I wouldn't recommend and I'm not suggesting that they should be regulated together, for a number of reasons. I think firstly it's not necessarily healthy to have such an enormous regulator regulating all organs of the media, and secondly, they have different backgrounds, the press and the broadcast media. The broadcast media is already very heavily regulated through the law, whether it be the Television Without Frontiers directive or the Audiovisual Service Media directive. Within the Human Rights Act, Article 10, it gives the states the rights to license broadcasters. So broadcasters are very heavily regulated within the law, but there has always been within this jurisdiction a strong traditional of the freedom of the press, going back 400 years, and I think that the traditions need to be respected. Adopting the points made by Lord Patten earlier, I would hope that there would be a system that could be viewed or considered by the press first, before there would be some form of statutory regulation. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But we've done that.
A. I think you have, I think you have done that. I think you are going through that process. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No, no, no, no, we've done it in '92, after Princess Diana died, after the McCanns' story. Each time everybody says, "This is terrible, we must do something about it", and everybody says, "Of course we must, this is terrible", and everybody behaves and then some other big story drops out of the ether and it all reverts. That's a question, not a comment.
A. I think that's a fair point, and I think you're right, there has been evidence given in this Inquiry and over a number of months about allegations of wrongdoing, and it is a difficult and dark period for the press. But I do personally, I'm very interested in the history of freedom of expression. I'm also interested in freedom of expression being protected, and I believe, in terms of going forward, there would be a case for actually seeing whether there could be some stronger regulation of the press without a statutory intervention. As I said, that's my personal view. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON How?
A. How? Perhaps you could do it in two stages. Ie, you could see what the press actually propose in terms of a beefed-up regulation, greater powers, greater independence. Then that could be reviewed and seen how it would work and see who actually has joined up to it. Then, if it was not seen to be working, a second review or stage two, where we say, "This is not working", and as you said this morning, sir, Parliament would intervene. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That's actually what happened in Calcutt one and Calcutt two. Calcutt one said, "We'll try it"; Calcutt two said, "We tried it, it failed", and then the government of the day were persuaded not to do anything further about it.
A. Yes, but there will always be problems. There will be problems in the future as well and I think it's important that the traditional historic principles that underlie our unwritten constitution LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Help me why. Help me why any form of structure, not in relation to product, but only in relation to process, any form of process that is underpinned in any way impacts on the freedom of the press.
A. Well, I think it goes back again, it is I go back to the basic principle here of separation of powers. That is, if you are putting forward the regulation of the press through statute, then the regulator itself, if it has to regulate on matters to do with politicians or political issues, it will get it may be left open to being viewed as not necessarily independent or impartial. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But why? Because you could set up a structure and I'm not saying I'm going to do it, but you could set up a structure or recommend it I won't do anything you can set up a structure which made every single person on this body entirely independent of government, of politicians, so there's no invasion of a separation of powers at all. The judiciary are legislated in all sorts of ways, but even before the fourth estate, I think everybody would agree that an independent judiciary is a vital compenent of our society.
A. Yes, I totally agree. I support the independence of the judiciary enormously. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. That wasn't my point. My point was that there are all sorts of statutes that affect us without affecting our independence.
A. Yes, but I think also you have to take into account perception, how it is viewed, and the perception is important to ensure that it is not perceived as a regulator that is in some way governed by politicians. It's quite a big leap from self-regulation by a number of newspaper editors to independent statutory regulators. I would suggest that there may be stages between those two, which could and should be considered. With humble respect, I was asked the question by Mr Barr, so I'm giving my personal view. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Oh no, no, don't get me wrong, I'm not you're entitled to your view. This is absolute right, and I'm interested in your opinion because you're obviously concerned in this area and have been for a very long time. I am simply concerned to understand why the existence of a process, which is staffed entirely independently, should be seen as impacting adversely on the freedom of the press or freedom of expression. I have difficulty with that. You say it's a perception thing, and I think that's what Mr Harding said, "If they could change that, they could change anything." Well, they can change anything now.
A. Exactly right. So the point is, before we get to that stage, my opinion is that other options should be explored and tested before we actually make that significant step of statutory regulation, but that is a personal view, I have to say. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, it depends what you mean by "statutory regulation", but I understand.
A. Yes, thank you. MR BARR Can I ask whether you agree with Lord Patten's evidence that the regulatory system which Ofcom has provided has had the effect of regulating but not of censoring broadcasters?
A. That's fair to say. I agree with that. MR BARR Thank you. I have no more questions for you.
A. Thank you. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you very much indeed.
A. Thank you very much, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right. MR BARR Sir, that's it for today. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you very much. 10 o'clock tomorrow morning. Thank you. (4.24 pm)

Witnesses

Gave a statement at the hearing on Monday, January 23, 2012 (PM) ; and submitted 1 pieces of evidence
Gave a statement at the hearing on Monday, January 23, 2012 (PM) ; and submitted 1 pieces of evidence
Gave statements at the hearings on Monday, January 23, 2012 (AM) and Monday, January 23, 2012 (PM) ; and submitted 19 pieces of evidence

Themes

Understand all the key topics and the context behind the Inquiry's findings

Journalism & society
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Regulation
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Politics
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Future of journalism
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Background & history
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Subsequent developments
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Ethics & abuses
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