Morning Hearing on 24 January 2012

Hearing Transcript

(10.00 am) LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Good morning, yes. MR JAY The first witnesses today are Mr Kampfner and Mr Heawood, please. MR JONATHAN PORTREE HEAWOOD (sworn) MR JOHN PAUL KAMPFNER (sworn) Questions by MR JAY MR JAY First of all, please, respectively your full names for the Inquiry? MR KAMPFNER John Paul Kampfner. MR HEAWOOD Jonathan Portree Heawood. MR JAY Mr Kampfner, you provided a submission to the Inquiry dated 13 January of this year. Is this your formal evidence to the Inquiry? MR KAMPFNER Yes, it is. MR JAY Or at least your first submission, because I understand you may wish to submit another submission later. Does the same apply to you, Mr Heawood, in relation to your submission of 30 November of last year? MR HEAWOOD Yes, it does.
Q. Can I ask you first of all, please, respectively to tell us about your organisation and then about yourself. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Just before you do, it's right, isn't it, that certainly at the seminars one, if not both of you, actually spoke? MR KAMPFNER I did so, yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Would it be fair to allow me to incorporate what you said there into the record of this Inquiry? MR KAMPFNER I'd be happy to. MR HEAWOOD I think my remarks were from the floor at the seminar but likewise. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you very much. MR JAY Mr Kampfner first of all. MR KAMPFNER Index on Censorship celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. It was founded as a response to Soviet dictatorship and was designed to promote free expression around the world and to highlight areas of censorship around the world. In those days, a much clearer definition between dictatorships and democracy. Over time it has evolved. In the just over three years I have been involved and I will be leaving at the end of March Index has changed quite considerably. We embrace the digital age with alacrity. We do considerably more campaigning and lobbying around the world in addition to the editorial work that we do and we embrace the term I use is we cover and highlight not just black and white cases of censorship, egregious abuse, use of violence, suppression of journalists around the world who are killed or otherwise intimidated, but we also are heavily involved in what we call the shades of grey. That is areas where free expression comes up against competing rights, whether it is privacy, confidentiality, data protection and elsewhere, and this brings us and has brought us for several years now very much to the forefront of the debate in Western countries and particularly in the UK.
Q. Thank you. And yourself, Mr Kampfner? MR KAMPFNER I've been a journalist for longer than I care to remember, more than 20 years. I started at Reuters as a graduate trainee. I served in Bonn and Moscow. Then I was the bureau chief of the Daily Telegraph in Moscow and East Berlin for the events of the late 80s and early 90s. I moved to the lobby to be chief political correspondent of the Financial Times. I moved to the BBC where I covered politics for the Today programme and Newsnight. I became political editor of the New Statesman and then editor of the New Statesman in 2005 to 2008 and since then I moved I kept a lot of my what I would call journalistic instincts but moved into the NGO world.
Q. Thank you. Mr Heawood next, please. MR HEAWOOD So English PEN is the founding centre of an international writers' association known as PEN International, which now has centres in over 100 countries around the world. PEN was established in 1991 by a group of writers who were very concerned to aid international understanding between writers and that evolved over the years into the free speech NGO that we are today. We see our mission as promoting the freedom to write and the freedom to read and identify and remove any barriers to those freedoms, whether those barriers are political, legal, social or economic. I have been director of English PEN for six and a half years. Before that I worked for a think tank. Before that, for the Observer newspaper, where I was on the books desk, and before that I was in academia.
Q. Thank you very much. Can I ask you, Mr Kampfner, first of all, page 54660 I'm working from the numbers we have furnished for the documents; on the internal numbering it's page 4 of your submission where you set the context for free expression and press freedom in a developing environment. May I ask you, please, to encapsulate the points you're making there? MR KAMPFNER There is a difference there is a huge amount of convergence but there are also differences between press freedom and freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is the broader right of individuals, as much as organisations, news organisations, whatever, to express themselves freely in all contexts but within the boundaries of law. We take a what I regard as a reasonable but a fundamentally principled view on free expression, which is: where there needs to be curtailment of that free expression, it needs to be very clear and it needs to be narrow. We work from very strong a very strong belief not only in the American version of the first amendment but in the European equivalent, namely Article 10, while at the same time not in any way diminishing the competing rights. Therefore, our brief we are not Index, even though and it's obviously an area you will wish to come to we, together with PEN and others, have been leading the libel reform campaign. That could be seen to be and we've had very good working relations with newspapers on that front. We represent the interests of no media organisation.
Q. Thank you. You also remind us at the bottom of 54660 of the global repercussions any recommendations made by this Inquiry will have, since the commentary, you point out, in China and Iran, for example, on the government responses to the summer riots. So others are watching us? MR KAMPFNER Absolutely, and again an area, I imagine, you will probe, which is our submission on areas where we regard the otherwise understandable incorporation of laws and norms into European Union countries, namely France and Hungary, can, if done wrongly, have an extremely deleterious effect. So while not exaggerating the importance or the status of the UK decisions made here and statements made here, such as reported statements that I have alluded to several times, such as the reported response of the prime minister to the riots in August, which was, on one level, an understandable instinct to shoot the messenger BlackBerry messenger in this care and to say it is the medium that is at fault time and again, through diligent research and, we hope, convincing argument, we seek to prove that invariably it is not the medium; it is other issues that need to be tackled.
Q. Thank you. Mr Heawood, you make similar points, but in your own way. At page 53717, on the internal numbering page 2 of your submission LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Just before you pass to Mr Heawood, Mr Kampfner, you were actually distinguishing between freedom of expression and freedom of the press. MR KAMPFNER Mm-hm. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I think if you're dealing with that, it might be useful I'm sorry, Mr Jay just to articulate I think I've heard you on this subject before but publicly to articulate where you see the difference between freedom of expression, which you have talked about, and freedom of press, which has different connotations. MR KAMPFNER Freedom of the press is a subsection of freedom of expression. As I say, freedom of expression is a broader concept. Without a vigorous press and without a vigorously free press, then free expression is severely damaged, because newspapers, broadcasters and others in the mainstream media remain even though their proportion perhaps is diminishing all the time, they remain still the most significant conduit of information and comment and news. That proportion is constantly now being diminished by the rise of unmediated bloggers, citizen journalism, using crowd sourcing and other methods as well, so but one can always exaggerate the extent to which people "don't read newspapers", because even if newspaper circulations inexorably seem to decline, the impact on broadcasters and others remains strong. So it is a significant but not the only vehicle for information, and a conduit of freedom of expression for the public. But there are other areas of press practice, again I'm sure to be gone into, whether it's corporate bullying, poor corporate governance, et cetera, which can act as much as a curb on free expression as more broadly defined. MR JAY Thank you. Mr Heawood, page 51717, you provide the context: Article 10 and the changing environment, particularly the introduction of greater technologies and different technologies. In your own words, please, are there any matters you would wish to draw out? MR HEAWOOD In terms of the introduction of new technology, digital technology, in a way, it just allows me to build on a point that John made a moment ago about jurisdiction. I mean, there's an exemplary effect of laws made and practised in this jurisdiction. Other countries may want to emulate them. There's also a very direct effect and we've seen this in libel because of the transjurisdictional nature of internal publications, so that suits repeatedly brought or issued in the high courts for libels which may have actually taken place involving overseas claimants and/or overseas defendants. I think that's one impact of the digital revolution on the reach of English jurisdiction, one reason to be very careful about making changes here. The other impact, again as John has noted already, is the fact that we are all now potential publishers. The press, the institutional press, may still play a very particular role. That role has changed, it will continue to change. We're all now not merely consumers of media content; we all have the capacity, the capability to become producers of media content. So I think article 10, which for many may have been a right that was something that was slightly abstract, a right for others, is a right which actually we all now can directly enjoy through access to the Internet, and I think it's one reason why in the submission and today I want to make very clear that I think one thing we have to get right here is the underlying law. I think if we seek to regulate an industry which is actually in the process of transformation and may, in ten years' time, not exist in a recognisable time, we may be regulating, as it were, a stable door, and the horse has bolted. So the law has to be right. MR KAMPFNER May I just elaborate further on your original question about distinguishing between free expression and a free press. The free expression having discussed the issues of media, we defend free expression, whether it is doctors, whether it is academics and peer review. A lot of a vast amount of the work that we did when we launched the libel reform campaign was to protect the right of speech and writing for people who are not journalists at all: speakers at conferences, as I say, scientists, academics, NGOs whose free speech is chilled by either deliberate acts of oppression or by the use of wrong laws or unbalanced laws, such as English libel. Artistic expression and censorship norms there are all manner of UK laws that potentially impede upon that. So it is the right of individuals, organisations, interest groups as well as the media to speak freely.
Q. I move on to the next theme. Mr Kampfner, it's 54661 under the rubric "Weaknesses of UK journalism". Mr Heawood, it's 53718, where you make the separate and different but maybe related point that what is most troubling about certain media organisations is their power. So there's weakness on the one hand and there's power on the other. First of all, Mr Kampfner, weaknesses. There are two questions I have for you: what are the weaknesses and are they systemic? That's the first question. As a subset of the systemic point and maybe the second question: are they truly systemic, rather than being derived from what you call the laziness and pliancy of some journalists? MR KAMPFNER Thank you. This is an important part of our submission, and humbly we would ask you, sir, to consider the view which has very rarely been made to you so far in this Inquiry that while I as an individual and Index as an organisation and I'm sure all right-minded people unequivocally condemn the actions that led to and arose through the phone hacking scandal, and while we as we will set out strongly advocate improved regulation and other methods to ensure better behaviour, nevertheless the born from my own experience over many years and our work at Index, the weakness of the UK media and the fundamental weaknesses of media in general are something that should be strongly taken into account. Referring I go through very briefly in my submission areas upon areas, whether it's entertainment and celebrity journalism, business journalism, sports journalism, and of course one of the fundamental requirements of a good journalist is to nurture their sources, to become friends with the CEO, with the spin doctor, with, if it's a company, the CFO or whatever, in order for them to give you information that could potentially turn into an interesting insight or an interesting story. My experience, however, of the Westminster lobby in the time when I was there from the mid-1990s until ostensibly the mid-noughties was a media that was extraordinarily pliant, particularly and I'm not making any political points here but I think I'm highlighting a particular era, and I'm not particularly qualified to talk about the current era because while I, to a small degree, am involved in it, to a much lesser degree than I used to be. But having been a foreign correspondent and worked with journalists who risked life and limb to eke out information and stories, to come to a culture at Westminster where, with some very notable exceptions, there was a culture almost of feeding it was just feeding the beast. I remember the spin doctors and I quite often had more sympathy for them than I did for some of the journalists would literally say, "All right, we have to feed the beasts today, what are we going to feed them with?" and they would line up to be fed. I remember one spin doctor, who I don't think it would be fair to name, one day I had just started out at the Financial Times and it was all about the soon-to-be-incoming Labour government and it's rapprochement with business. It was about 1996, and he was giving me a story about a new business initiative, and literally dictating pretty much the story to me down the phone, you know: "And then Tony Blair will say this, and then this happened and this happened." And I turned around and asked him a couple of questions, like: "But didn't you say this last week? Didn't this happen? Doesn't this contradict something else?" To which I got a response which I always will remember, which is: "Shut up, take it down if you want more from where this came in the future." This really was and I turned around politely and got on with the guy and said, "Actually, I don't really you go and give it to somebody else. I want to do my own " I'm not trying to sound worthier than anybody else, because obviously if I had lunch with ministers or whatever and they gave me a good story, I would do that story it would be crazy not to but there was a culture of compliance, of docility. Now, if someone was on the floor, if there was a politician on floor, they would all give him a kicking. It was a sort of her instinct. When the going was clear, you would do it. But just as you had this very strong and it was a huge amount was obviously driven by the culture at the time, which was a desperation of politicians to endear themselves with News International, with Associated as well and with all the media groups, but there was a distinct pecking order. There was very much a sense of services renders: you write the story, and the more faithfully you write the story, the more stories you are going to get in the future. To me, while obviously political journalism is about nurturing your services, that seems to be a travesty of this idea which Tony Blair then, later on in his farewell speech, led to him coining the phrase "feral beasts". They were occasionally feral but most of the time they were locked up.
Q. Thank you. Mr Heawood, the power of the press. You make a number of succinct points on 53718. Can I ask you, please, to develop those and to deal with the apparent confrontation between weakness on the one hand and power on the other, and what you mean by "power"? MR HEAWOOD I think it's a necessary power. I think it's a power that the press continues to hold and I think it's a power that should be there in society, whether it's held by the newspapers that we're familiar with or some other source that's coming into being, which may be certain NGOs or individual campaigners. As I talk about in the submission, if you compare what happened to Heather Brooke, who, as an individual campaigner, spent several years trying to reveal the details of MPs' expense claims and was consistently pushed back and the law was used against her and she was taken to court and she took MPs to court, took Parliament to court and fought a very long, very painful battle, very much unsupported by the institutional press who largely didn't think it was a story worth pursuing compare what happened to Heather Brooke and what happened finally when the Telegraph decided that when this disk, this unredacted disk which was being prepared ultimately as a result of Heather Brooke's campaign when that disk came illegally into the Telegraph's hands, they decided it was one of the biggest stories of the century and they would publish over several weeks, as we all know, with enormous consequences. I'm not convinced that the power at this date in law of the lone campaigner was equivalent to the power of a very large newspaper group like the Telegraph to bring something of that importance, of that public interest into public debate. I'm not suggesting for that reason that we should celebrate or fail to question the power held by those big beasts of the media. I'd like the same power to be enjoyed by other players, other actors, other speakers, other publishers, providing they follow LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But it's who has the megaphone, isn't it? MR HEAWOOD Well, the Telegraph on that occasion had the megaphone and was able LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I understand, but Ms Brooks didn't, and it works in two ways. It's not merely the ability to pick up a story and run with it; it's also the ability to drop a story. One of the points that has been made is: who is checking up on the press themselves, if not the press? The press hold us all to account, whether we be politicians or businesses or judges. The court of public opinion is there for the press to put our behaviour in front of them. But who does it for them? Who looks at the press? MR HEAWOOD I agree, and clearly that's the topic of the Inquiry, and I think it's worth remarking that if you look at parliamentary journalism, if you think about speaking truth to power and you think about where power is actually held and exercised in this country one would hope it would be by Parliament. It's democratic seats. Parliamentary coverage has fallen by about 95 per cent in the mainstream press from the second half of the 20th century to today. We've gone from 10,000 words a day in the Times and the Guardian down to about 500 on a good day. So I think the press is, in all sorts of respects, failing to fulfil that consistent role of speaking truth to power. But I think it comes back to my original point, that it's important to get the law right. We want the individual campaigner to be able to be confident that they can pursue that story. We want the press to be aware that if they choose not to pursue a story or they pursue a story in a way which we are unhappy with as a society and we want legal redress against that, that that redress will be forthcoming. One of the huge problems in this instance is actually the pocket, the depth of the pocket. It's not simply that the Telegraph can in some way bully government. The Telegraph is still you know, they largely follow the laws of the land. I have no objection to the Telegraph. But they have a much deeper pocket than an individual campaigner, and lawyers have similarly hungry pockets for what newspapers can provide. So I think there is a real problem here with legal costs as well. I think, you know, there's a lot in this Inquiry of seeking to hold journalists to account. It would be interesting to hold lawyers and the legal industry to account as well. I mean, research in libel has shown that the average cost of a libel trial in this jurisdiction is 140 times greater than the average cost across the EU. So I think there are some real issues here about access to justice on the part of the individual. MR JAY Mr Heawood, we're going to come to this. Let me just pick out one theme. You talk about empowerment of the individual. You also say, in the penultimate paragraph, 53718, that the press has a voice which is collectively more powerful than the sum of its readers or users. Might it be said that that is an argument for the need to regulate the press more, owing to its power? MR HEAWOOD Not necessarily, because I think as I say, one of the reasons for that power is also to do with financial resources, in the same way that companies are more powerful than their individual shareholders or customers. It's not necessarily a desirable property of the press; it's a reality.
Q. Okay. I think you MR KAMPFNER Sorry, I wanted to come in on a couple of points. Obviously if you take Jonathan's example of Heather Brooke and MPs' expenses and the Telegraph, there were two areas that militated against the individual and worked for the news organisation. One is the law. As Jonathan has alluded to and as to be developed later, libel and other legal areas and legal costs are just enormous, not just for individuals, and they are frightening and they are chilling, to use the free expression sense of the term, for individuals and for small publications as well, and there is another there is a more editorial argument, which is the pick-up, that when a story is run by a mainstream media organisation, it is deemed by broadcasters and others to have an imprimatur. Finally in this area of weakness it is a statement that I used at the seminar back in October and it's one I've used in various newspaper commentaries since, and I was pleased that it was taken up by the Times in a leader article a week or so ago I would simply emphasise again that if you look back at the main news stories of the past decade, and you can take your pick, but whether it is issues such as weapons of mass destruction, whether it is the failings of the banks and whatever, just simply ask yourself and I think it's absolutely crucial to this Inquiry: did the media find out too much of what was going on or too little? We're not here to hold a candle for the media. What we do what I personally and what my organisation fundamentally worries about, however, is that any misplaced increase in restrictions on the media will limit the public's right to know. That is a far bigger question than whether or not a particular newspaper can do this or that.
Q. May I touch on the issue of risk aversion, 54662. If I can just summarise the points you make and then ask you to comment. You rightly say that investigative journalism is expensive and the returns, if any, may be long-term. There is a need for a vigorous press, what you say or you call a freedom to engage in robust or even grubby comment. Matters of taste must not be regulated. I think the question is: does that not create a risk of collateral damage? MR KAMPFNER Well, part of the answer to that question will come in, I would imagine, the more specific comments about regulation and what I would term to be the need for better regulation. We contend that there are already a plethora of laws that, legitimately or otherwise, already curtail the right to investigate and in some cases even the right to express, but the sorry, I've lost my thread.
Q. It's the risk of collateral damage. MR KAMPFNER Yes. There will always be there is no such thing as the perfect system. There is no such thing as perfect regulation, which does not mean that we, and you, sir, should not be straining every sinew to find it. I don't want to put myself in the position of saying, "Oh yes, there will always be victims and that's a price to pay." No, because for every individual who is wrongfully traduced, whose life is made a misery, that is an individual tragedy. But if we get regulation stronger, details to be discussed, if the already-existing strong and copious laws were better enforced, which in many cases they are not now, and if an area I'd like to focus a bit upon at some point we can improve on editorial lines of accountability, responsibility and corporate governance, then I think you have the building blocks in place. That will never prevent wrongful things happening that is both the nature of journalism, as the first draft, and it's also the nature of human error, and in some cases bad behaviour but you will have a system that does not chill free speech, but at the same time does make a requirement of looking always at your own standards and your own behaviour as you go along.
Q. Mr Heawood, do you wish to add to that point? MR HEAWOOD Well, I think I'm broadly in agreement, but I think the words "collateral damage" suggests a kind of negligence attitude and I think neither of us is here to suggest that the press should be negligent in any way. But I think the point is that one would rather live in a perhaps slightly too noisy, open society than in a slightly too quiet and overly restricted and overly regulated society.
Q. Can I ask you this: is it your position that the starting point, or perhaps the primary right is the right of free speech, however you wish to articulate it, Article 10 of the Convention, and therefore you need to find a justification or reason for curtailing or curbing that right, rather than the other way around, that the primary right may be the private rights of individuals and you need to find a reason or justification for departing from that right? Do you start from free speech, each of you, and then are look for an exception, or do you start from a different position? Can I ask you first, Mr Heawood? MR HEAWOOD Yeah. I think ultimately these are both right, and one thing the court may want to look at is the ultimate objective of the whole rights portfolio. This is not simply about one right trumping the other. The reason we have a framework of rights and we have, you know, 30 articles in total, is to achieve something equivalent to human dignity, human flourishing, equality before the law. So I think in a way it's not really about one right being more or less important than another. The rights are a means for us to try to create a society that enables all of us to be equal, to enjoy our dignity and our freedoms. I think the way that the privacy law has developed, where the court seems to see it as a conflict between rights, is rather problematic. I think to a large extent the rights are complimentary. Without a private sphere, it's very hard to enjoy a public sphere in which we can express ourselves and speak truth to power and vice versa, so I certainly don't want to answer the question by suggesting that one right is more important than the other. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But inevitably the courts are going to have to balance those two. One could take any of these privacy cases that have been fought through the courts and the court is trying to balance freedom of expression on the one hand, the right of the press on the one hand, against the individual rights of the person who is complaining about their infringement. MR HEAWOOD I think if you look at it in the same way that any other civil tort is brought to court. I mean, it's required of the claimant to show that some harm, some real harm has taken place. I think if we inherit what we've developed in libel law over the last 800 years, where we have a reverse burden of proof and we don't expect the claimant to show harm I mean, in the libel reform campaign we press very hard that there needs to be serious and substantial harm for a libel action to be brought, and I guess we do begin then by asking the claimant in a privacy case, for instance, to show that some real harm has taken place or conceivably will take place as a result of publication. To that extent, I suppose, you are then presuming you know, free speech is the presumptive right, and then if that harm is established, then you may want to ask the defendant in such a case LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I asked the question because that rather answers Mr Jay's. But let me give an example. One of the people who gave evidence, JK Rowling, a very successful authoress, but who wishes not to be in the public limelight. She says she writes books. She doesn't want her family photographed. She doesn't want to be doorstepped. She doesn't want any of this. When you come to describe "serious or substantial harm", it might be argued: well, what is the harm? People are very interested in her because of her success. MR HEAWOOD I think there are two things here which are becoming confused, which is the harm of a publication in a newspaper, which may be the result of a story that has been generated by someone who has some connection with JK Rowling and has chosen to give that story to the newspaper now, that may be morally objectionable, but unless some real harm is consequent upon it, it seems problematic to make it illegal. On the other hand, if you're talking about real intrusion and somebody actually, as we heard from JK Rowling, somehow invading her daughter's private space and putting a note in her daughter's school bag, or the doorstepping or the long lenses through the window, I think there's a very different wrong that's taking place that has very little to do with Article 10 rights at all. It's about it's a form of trespass or a form of intrusion, which I think the law could look at very severely. MR KAMPFNER To answer your Article 10 question, I think I would take a more emphatic position. We, as an organisation representing freedom of expression in the UK and around the world, do regard Article 10 rights as fundamental to democracy. Where they are impinged upon, where they are restricted as necessarily they may be, whether it is shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre, whether it is specific areas of official secrets or operations where there we would like there to be public interest defences in some the laws where there are none, where there are competing rights and Article 8 rights as determined by judges and we think they should be determined by judges and judges alone then they will come up against those competing rights, but we do start from a straightforward Article 10 position. Jonathan has spoken about JK Rowling. I'd also mention one of the other witnesses who gave you very telling and vivid testimony. When Sienna Miller and correct me if I have my facts wrong was talking about how the paparazzi were hammering on her windscreen trying to evoke any kind of reaction so they could then snap that less than flattering picture, it's our contention not only is that reprehensible behaviour and I'd like to come, at the appropriate time, to issues around the progeny of stories, editorial processes and editorial management, and that includes freelancers as well but that is covered in the existing law. Were it to be properly enforced, laws on harassment, that kind of behaviour, it may not be preventable in the first instinct, but it sure as anything is, if this is the right term, dealable with regards. MR JAY You say it's an actionable tort, the tort of harassment and trespass? MR KAMPFNER Yes.
Q. Public interest, please, I can pick up that theme next. It's 54664, 53719. I'm going to deal, Mr Heawood, with your points first, 53719. You make a number of points, but one of them is that public interest should, you say, be a partial defence to otherwise unlawful activity. May I ask you to develop that point, please? Are you saying, for example, in relation to RIPA 2000, interception of communications, that there should be a public interest defence in this context? MR HEAWOOD Yes, I think and this was in response to a question that Lord Justice Leveson set before the Christmas break. He asked: should it be a complete or partial defence? I'm being quite specific: it should be a partial defence. It's not an absolute get-out-of-jail card. You can't simply wave the public interest card and that's end of story. I think, as I say in the submission, the nature of the public interest defence will be different in different areas of law. I'm not convinced that you can have a blanket public interest exemption. But I think if you begin from the starting point that the public interest is something along the lines of a publication that actually enhances the ability of the public, in whole or in part, to play a part in the life of their society, to understand their society and that may be slightly different from the PCC code, for instance. I'm not convinced about that simply the revelation of hypocrisy is a sufficient definition of "public interest". That seems to open the door to a whole swathe of publications which don't in any way contribute to that public interest in the outcome of a story. The public may be interested as observers, but they don't have an interest in that more narrow sense. So I think it is possible to define the public interest. I think what you then have to look at in some cases is the good faith of the journalist and whether they acted with the public interest whole-heartedly in mind or are using it as an excuse for something. I think the nature of public interest in, for instance, a libel publication is very different from the nature of public interest in, for instance, a breach of the Official Secrets Act. It may not be enough for someone to breach the Official Secrets Act in good faith. Their faith may be very, very, very faulty. You may want an objective test. The court may want to come to a decision whether or not it was in the public interest for that particular revelation to come out, but I think in different areas of law such as libel, it may be what's called a subjective test, where the court simply needs to be persuaded that the journalist or other publisher acted really with a conviction that it was in the public interest for that publication to be made. But I think it has to be a narrow definition, and on the basis that it's a defence against, as I said before, a real tort, that real harm has to have been shown.
Q. Yes, you have a test, as you explained to us, of serious and substantial harm, which is a threshold both presumably for libel and for privacy, and unless you surmount that threshold, one doesn't get into any of the consequential balancing arguments. MR HEAWOOD Quite. You don't get off the starting blocks.
Q. Yes. Fair enough. You also, Mr Heawood, draw our attention to very definitions of the public interest in the middle of page 53720, which we can note. MR HEAWOOD Yes.
Q. Mr Kampfner, you approach this from a similar angle but make different points, 54664. I think it may be said that you pose two questions, which you answer. The first is: is the problem located in the failure to enforce existing laws which are perfectly adequate? MR KAMPFNER The short answer is: yes.
Q. The second question: in any event, is uncertainty created by the open-textured nature of the public interest defence in libel and privacy? MR KAMPFNER Well, the current public interest test, insofar as it exists in libel, namely the Reynolds defence, we have contended right from the outset, and I'm pleased to say I think this seems to now have broad consensus in the originals of the draft bill and in the joint committee's response to the draft bill and hopefully in the final bill soon to be published. We think the Reynolds defence is not remotely a strong enough public interest defence and a defence of responsible journalism. So there isn't, in many cases and in other torts, in our view, a strong enough defence of public interest journalism recognised in courts, and as written in our submission, it doesn't exist in a series of laws where I completely agree with Jonathan it is a qualified defence. It cannot be an absolute defence. You couldn't say, "The fact that we revealed, in a war situation, you know two hours before troops were being sent in a particular place, we revealed that they were going to invade this part of a particular country; that was a public interest defence." I think any such defence would be seen as insufficient where it came to endangering life or dealing in operations or that kind of thing. But I would throw it slightly on its head and say in those various laws where I mean, I've written a lot about what I regard as an absence of civil liberties in this country which permeates very deeply into a very secretive Whitehall mindset. There is a suspicion invariably of information and there is almost a built into the walls, there is a determination to keep as much information out of the public domain as possible. One example: when I was editing the New Statesman, we had a very strong story given to us by a whistle-blower in the Foreign Office. We were taken to the official secrets we were slapped with an official secrets case, my magazine and the whistle-blower interestingly not me myself. It's interesting how, in all these issues, whether it's official secrets or libel, they can pick and choose who they go for at individual times. And it was thrown out on the first day, I'm pleased to say, at the Bailey, because this was a straightforward case of trying to silence a publication in order to save the bacon of a cabinet minister. It's all in the public record. And there is often a presumption one can get into the wrongful or misguided error of always thinking it's the media that is doing too much. I repeat my statement of earlier, that in so, so many areas it is extremely difficult for the media, faced with a wall of laws and other restrictions, to find out otherwise legitimate information.
Q. Can I deal with practical solutions to address the question of uncertainty in the context of public interest. It may be a constitutional solution as well. Is it a possible solution, you think, for Parliament to set out in a statute the broad parameters of what public interest might mean and then leave it to a regulator to give flesh to those factors in individual cases, or would you say it's desirable for the existing or a new press regulator to seek to tabulate all relevant public interest considerations, perhaps depending on the context, as Mr Heawood as said, so that we have almost a code book which can then be applied in individual cases? How do you see it, Mr Heawood? MR HEAWOOD I'm not sure that I've come to a final position on that. It's a debate that's going on at the moment. English PEN, Index, the Media Standards Trust and others are very interested in exactly that question. I think I tend towards the second route that you outlined. I'm not sure that as a single piece of statute would do enough. I think it potentially could cause further confusion because, as I said, the nature of public interest in different areas of publication is so different. So I think a code book that perhaps at least gathered together the different areas and the different requirements that might be relevant would be of more value.
Q. What do you think, Mr Kampfner? MR KAMPFNER I would be strongly worried about the first proposition. After all, it is the same Parliament that keeled over at the first sign of trouble when it came to the superinjunction and Trafigura. Parliament's commitment to and the same Parliament that tried to get to change freedom of information to prevent the exposure of MPs' expenses the default position, while there are many, many honourable exceptions who we work with and who we respect, and while we completely understand the competing pressures, the record of Parliament in navigating a course towards better accountability and better transparency is very poor indeed.
Q. Fair enough. The next theme is privacy, 54667. At 54669 well, let me go over the points you make, Mr Kampfner, at 54667 first. The first point you make is that you feel that Article 8 of the Convention has been overinterpreted, is that right, to yield a chilling effect? MR KAMPFNER It has been, from time to time, a bit like Churchill and democracy. I can't think of a better way of dealing with the issue than leaving it to the discretion of judges, and as with any judgment, one can always argue the toss and agree or disagree with those final decisions. We do I think the some of the main problems arose from the Fontaniva(?) case, where it was broadly, the continental view of privacy, which is pretty much everything is private unless we seek to make it otherwise, began to seep in from that judgment, which we regarded as wrong and dangerous. However, subsequently, in any of the many cases involving footballers or others in the public eye, these are difficult issues and there does need to be a public interest a strong public interest defence. One could literally go case by case through them and say: yes, no, yes, no or possibly. We would very much assume a public interest unless there is a convincing argument that there isn't, and certainly the public realm is a public place.
Q. Yes. Thank you. That moves to the next point, Mr Kampfner. Prior notification, bottom of 54668. You address Mr Mosley's evidence and make the point that in your view prior notification could lead to injunctions stifling a significant amount of investigative journalism. Could I seek to put the point in this way, perhaps: that particularly in privacy cases, genie out of the bottle argument, the harm is done, one could say prior notification should be the general rule, but that would always leave open the possibility for exceptions. One such exemption might be precisely the sort of case you're addressing at the bottom of 54668, where there's concern that an injunction would be improperly gained on imperfect information, causing lasting harm. Would you agree with that formulation? MR KAMPFNER Yes, I would. I would also point you back to Ian Hislop's testimony of a week or two ago, where he talked about injunctions simply being used to stop coverage in perpetuity of issues. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That's a slightly different point, though, isn't it, because that goes to the speed and efficacy of a remedy, which I've been trying to address with a number of people, as I'm sure you're aware. What I think we're focusing on at the moment is the substantive position. How you then solve a problem and how you cope with trying to resolve the issue between the two competing parties and the speed that you can do that is a slightly separate point, but there is a fundamental issue, isn't there, namely whether it is ever right to permit a story to be published without giving a right of reply and I understand your answer to that, or prior notification and if it isn't, then how you couch the way in which you put the requirement to ensure that sensible decisions are made in individual cases which are then testable quickly. But the "quickly" bit is a slightly separate point, isn't it? MR KAMPFNER Point absolutely taken, sir. I mean, what I would say two things. One is a practical, one is a broad one. There is already, correct me if I'm wrong, an assumption of a requirement in good journalism to test your story or test your supposition against the person about whom you are writing in any Reynolds defence, which is broader than simply in cases of libel. It is obviously good journalism, if I'm writing about someone, to get their point of view before you write it. But there may well be cases when, for absolutely legitimate journalistic reasons, you cannot and should not do that. If you're exposing corruption and you know they are going to slap a story I mean, what sometimes happened in politics and again, it may not happen now, I'm not qualified to judge was you go back to a spin doctor or a minister and say, "I understand this and this and this is happening", and they'll just go and give the story to a rival just to spike your gun. So there were often non-legal but editorial reasons for not doing that. But on prior notification, we just took, as did the British government, an absolutely strong view in Strasbourg that prior notification is deeply as enshrined in statute and thankfully the European Court agreed with us. And they didn't just agree with us; they agreed with us vehemently. Their judgment was unequivocal on that. You just need to read, as we have written, a number those countries that currently require prior notification in statute: Albania, Azerbaijan, Latvia, Lithiania, Moldova, Poland, Russia and Ukraine. These are not paragons of free expression. MR JAY Yes, but is that a fair argument? There may be other problems with their press regulation systems MR KAMPFNER Many indeed, yes. No, but I think by way of example, at least in part
Q. You say the United Kingdom shouldn't be added to that list. Mr Heawood, do you have a separate angle on prior notification or do you endorse what we've just heard? MR HEAWOOD Yeah, I completely endorse those points. I think, just to add a sentence to the point about accuracy. I think in a libel case the wrong is that the information is false and damaging. In a privacy case, we're simply talking about an unjustified intrusion into someone's private, virtual or physical space. In libel, if you're talking fundamentally about accuracy, then there may be a greater responsibility on the journalist to check out the accuracy of the story and therefore the Reynolds steps, as they currently exist, do require journalist to notify the subject of the story in advance. I think in privacy, if for some reason it's absolutely clear that the information is accurate, I think it is worrying to then impose this prior notification requirement because you are essentially asking the subject to snap an injunction on publication.
Q. Isn't that slightly anomalous, though, that in libel the wrong, if there is a wrong, can be corrected by a public announcement of the court and a payment of damages and the public understands that a wrong has been righted, but in privacy, the complaint, of course, can be 100 per cent accurate, but the damage, the intrusion of privacy, is permanent, which is an argument, of course, in favour of prior notification. Is that not a possible analysis? MR HEAWOOD It is, but it seems to bring up a rather odd issue about these various speech laws in general, whether it's libel or privacy, that we seem to treat the harm that is done so much more seriously than we do the harm of someone losing a limb. Personal injury cases, the redress that's available to someone who may b permanently incapacitated is often rather less than the redress that we seem to be thinking should be available to people whose LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I don't think the privacy awards have matched the type of sums that we've been reading about in the press recently agreed. Those agreements might be for all sorts of reasons. If you want to debate the size of awards in personal injury cases, that's something which I'm very happy to talk about, but I'm not sure how helpful it is, because there are different features that come into play. MR HEAWOOD I take the point, but I think taken as a whole, the cost of defending a libel or defending an injunction an application for an injunction is so great that it does have a potentially chilling effect, which we make talk about when we talk about costs. MR JAY Before I deal with the issue LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Part of it, then both of you, it's not so much the substantive law that you challenge, although in some regards you do; it's the ability to get a remedy and the cost of sorting it out? MR HEAWOOD In part, but I think also to clarify, in libel prior notification isn't an absolute requirement. It may be a requirement as part of a series of hurdles in the Reynolds defence on a public interest issue, where a libel a publication may be largely accurate but there is some inaccuracy in the mix. I think what Max Mosley and others have called for is an absolute requirement for privacy, which I think is problematic. MR JAY We understand a possible room for a more nuanced position, that there's a general rule with exception to that rule. MR HEAWOOD Potentially, and that may be slightly more desirable if it was written into code rather than into statute. MR KAMPFNER And again, it would come into the points I'd like to make at the appropriate time on editor management and corporate governance. MR JAY We're soon going to come to those points, but just an insight, Mr Kampfner, that the two international European examples you provide us with, 54672, the French privacy example and then the Hungarian experience can we try and summarise the position thus in relation to France, because you're the first witness, I think, who's given us an insight into this. Under article 9 of the Civil Code, which was introduced by amendment in 1970, there is a general right to privacy. That's just one sentence in the code and the courts have interpreted that, particularly the higher courts in France, quite restrictively. You require a good and solid justification to breach that right and you give us an example of the Meteron(?) secret diaries case; is that correct? MR KAMPFNER Correct, sir. It is within the same originally, citing Article 8, in other words the same body of law that operates now in the British jurisdiction. However, the codification into the French constitution as a constitutional right gives it further strength. It is a very which partly goes to the French approach to privacy and the private life, but it is a broader one about the ownership of the public space and the ownership of image. Here is an example: a French TV crew wanting to do a GV, a generally view shot of a beach, talking about exceptional weather at a particular time, cannot identify a single person on the beach because each person lying on the beach owns their only image and could sue, and so therefore pictures are blurred. It is an absolute view. It is sort of the Hanover decision on speed. It is absolutely a view that the public realm is private unless any individual wishes their movement in the public realm to be identified and commented upon. It's, in our view, an unhappy place to be.
Q. Conceptually? MR KAMPFNER Yes. In many cases, French beaches are very happy places to be.
Q. The Hungarian example can we deal with this shortly because we won't, with respect to Hungary, necessarily be looking for detailed lessons from Hungary, but the problem, as you see it, Mr Kampfner? MR KAMPFNER I would also, Mr Jay, say that Hungary isn't a far flung place about which we know little and care even less. It is now an integral member of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament. The European Parliament, along with the White House, the OSCE and pretty much every UN commission under human rights pretty much everyone condemned or criticised the media law both in its substance and its tone, and the European Commission was got one or two minor changes but was pretty powerless to act. The points where I think it is salient for this Inquiry to remember is that while the prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, seems to have some difficulties with democracy at the moment the constitutional court and other courts are being similarly deprived of their independence some of the many of the provisions in the media law are seemingly innocuous and mainstream. Co-regulation, licensing, fining, et cetera. If you looked at them on a piece of paper, a lot of these laws, you would say, "What's the problem with that?" Several witnesses have come to this Inquiry and advocated similar such measures, and of course the British heritage and British jurisdiction is different, but it is a case of "be careful what you wish for" because this has led to owners because they are part of this internal coregulation under statute provision, they're frightened stiff of any form of journalism that would lead the new adjudicator to deem them not to be fit and proper, and we have cases and we can bring you more, as any other organisation in this field can of self-censorship and of outright censorship, even in the 12 months that this law has been in existence.
Q. Thank you. I'm going to move on now to the issue of regulation, which subdivides internal and then external regulation. Mr Heawood first. This is 53772, internal regulation. The basic themes may be these: the need for clear lines of responsibility, the need for audit trails and the need for sound governance. Mr Heawood, in your own words, how would you develop those issues? What are you looking for, please? MR HEAWOOD I think those are points that are taken from the Index on Censorship submission. I'm happy to expand on those. I think one of the greatest innovations that we currently have in the press is the internal ombudsman, the readers' editor, which the Guardian and the Observer have blazed a trail in appointing, but it's an internationally recognised model, and I would certainly be interested in a regulator which obliged members of that regulator to have an internal ombudsman as a first port of call. I think the vast majority of complaints can be resolved very quickly and effectively if there is someone inside the newspaper who is able to resolve complaints but is editorially and commercially independent, and I think that independence is something to be cherished. It's unusual at the Guardian and the Observer because of the nature of their ownership by the Scott Trust, but I certainly see no reason why other newspapers couldn't be obliged to have a similar function in-house.
Q. Thank you. Mr Kampfner? MR KAMPFNER I completely endorse that point. More broadly, we see a strong independent framework of self-regulation where the regulator does the complaint mediation work that it does now, that it strongly facilitates ADR in alternative dispute resolution in its many manifestations and I think that's a very important carrot to membership, that where you are a member, you will have the facilities and the means it's not the only means, but very good means to seek resolution where resolution is required. The regulator should have a very strong standards arm to it, where it should be seen to be at one arm removed but at the same time consistently to be looking at the standards of newspaper behaviour, twice yearly meetings with editors and others important in that media organisation. So we see a strong regulator the code needs some tweaking, but it's fundamentally a good code. We think there should be far stronger lines between the funding arm of the regulator and its operations. We it's my view that serving editors even if they recuse themselves from individual decisions, I just think it diminishes from the sense of transparency and of disinterest in outcomes, and so serving editors should not be part of that, but LORD JUSTICE LEVESON It undermines the trust of those who might complain. MR KAMPFNER Correct. You do, however, because of the fast-changing nature of the media, particularly now in the digital age, you do need I think if you're a former editor 20 years ago, you're probably not in touch with the immediacy and the changes that are happening exponentially in the news media and particularly the challenges of the Internet newspapers. If we think it's bad now, newspapers used to wait until the following morning to put something out. Now they put it out at 4 o'clock in the afternoon or whenever they get it, so the challenges are greater than they were. One area I would like to stress and I hope this is the right place to do so is editorial management, corporate responsibility, corporate governance. Just imagine the following scenario: a reporter on the news desk has got wind of a very good story, talks to the news editor about it. It will involve, perhaps, any of the areas we highlight: phone hacking, paying sources for information, stealing documents, forging documents, impersonation, blagging, secret recording, secret filming, et cetera. It could potentially involve any of those. So in other words, we're in difficult terrain. The news editor has a private conversation, thinks: "Well, actually this is pretty flaky. Who is your source? This may just be somebody with a grievance. Go back, get stronger information, come back." So the story fast-forward. The story is strong, the news editor is prepared to back it. The news editor talks to the editor with the reporter present, really cross-questions the reporter. "Are you sure about it", et cetera. So you get to a point where the editor is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt. He or she is going to take a risk on this story, a reputational risk on this story. That editor should then go to the managing editor, or their publisher if it's a magazine, and say, "I'm not going to give you the details because it's my responsibility but I'm going to sanction an operation, to coin a phrase, in which we're going to use potentially the following methods to get a story which we're strongly of the view is in the public interest." Another conversation: "Are you sure, are you sure", et cetera. You have that conversation, and the managing editor says, "Fine, it's your call, completely support what you're doing. Go ahead with that." The story may come to nothing. The story may be a fabulous story, and so the concerns fall away because of the public interest test, or it may go badly wrong and there are then problems then ensue. The quarterly board meetings of the news organisation could and should have an agenda item on standards and practices: "So, in the last quarter, how many potentially underhand operations did you do?" "Well, we did eight." "Okay, don't tell us the details. We don't need to join those two sets of dots. How did they go? Were you satisfied with the process?" And then you add into that a role for the regulator to discuss again, without joining the dots, without compromising sources and you have a robust internal mechanism that ultimately comes down to the directors of that news organisation. There is a massive self-interest for them, as News International and News Corporation directors are now finding to their cost. Where you don't apply procedure editorial standards the "I was in Tuscany" excuse, "I didn't know about it, I didn't know who the bloke in the dirty mac in the corner was", is just no excuse. The buck does stop with the editor and not knowing is not an excuse and it's an issue of corporate self-interest to make sure that procedures are good. But where done properly, this will not in any way chill free speech. I think it will be great for newspapers to say, "We did 37 investigations last year. They involved the following methods, and we're proud of each and every one of them." I think that will be greatly enhancing for a news organisation.
Q. Mr Heawood, I imagine you endorse all of that? MR HEAWOOD Yes, nothing to add to that.
Q. Just picking up a number of themes from Mr Kampfner's submission on external regulation. First, you say that the regulator should be an authority on the big issues of the day. What do you mean by that? MR KAMPFNER Where there we're constantly, in the media, in the broader sense of media, coming up against all these dilemmas of data, of the other sense of privacy, which is corporations and search engines and others, and ISPs holding information about individuals, the Wikileaks case. All kinds of issues flying around. The regulator/ombudsman should be somebody who has a voice and who helps who contributes to the public discourse on really thorny issues.
Q. May I move to a related matter, the issue of statutory regulation, which I know, Mr Kampfner, you oppose, and is this right, Mr Heawood, you adopt a similar position on? Or position to? MR HEAWOOD Yes, yes, very clear position. Clearly opposed to statutory regulation. I think also thank you this holy grail has appeared of co-regulation, this term which is now used as if it's a kind of magical third way between the rock and the hard place of statutory or self-regulation, and every example of co-regulation that I've seen so far seems to be a veiled form of statutory regulation, insofar as it usually provides that somewhere in the process an elected politician has the capacity to exert some influence over the decisions or the composition of a press council or a press commission. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But it's not difficult to remove the scope of politicians. It's really a more fundamental question than that which I'd be grateful for your assistance on, which concerns the way in which you ensure that common standards are commonly applied across everyone. MR HEAWOOD I'm not sure who that "everyone" is. I think this is one of the problems I think this is why I mean it's a rock and a hard place. I don't think there's a magical way between them. You may ultimately have to choose the rock or the hard place, and if the rock is statutory, where you do have that capacity for political oversight, and the hard place is self, where it is independent but there are flaws with that, I think one would prefer to go down the self-regulatory route, where it's essentially an opt-in, contractual model where you may still encounter, as it were, the Desmond problem of some publishers who choose not to opt in, but are still subject to the law of the land this is why I reiterate that it's crucial to get the law of the land right and to facillitate access to justice. I think ultimately that's preferable and then to be a member and subscriber to that code becomes a badge of honour for the publications which are involved and you may wish to incentivise membership in various ways and compliance with the code may, as now, be recognised by the courts as one of the incentives for membership and compliance. I may have missed something but I haven't yet seen a model which somehow charts a magical course between those routes and somehow manages to get the best of both. I'm not sure that it exists. MR BARR Before I suggest such a model, Mr Kampfner, are you broadly in agreement with what you've just heard? MR KAMPFNER We see no need in a robust environment for any statutory element to regulation, where there is, as I've outlined, I hope, strong editorial practice, where there is a good code and there is robust self-regulation as set out in this form or in variance of that. We believe that that will suffice in improving standards. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But it hasn't to date. One can look at history, as you probably heard me say over the years, over the weeks MR KAMPFNER It probably feels like years. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON There is some calamity, something must be done, there's a commission or a report, recommendations are made. Your predecessors said, "We must be self-regulated and that's the route" and then, two years on, there's something else. Now we must do something no, one last chance, whatever you want to call it, and over the last 20 years there have been examples. I'm very sympathetic to a great deal of what you say, but when you assert, as you say, that that will suffice in improving standards, I'm not sure of your evidence base for that assertion. MR KAMPFNER I'm not sure I accept what you say, sir, in that it's a prediction more than anything else. The dangers I hope I have given a reasonable fist of drawing upon the dangers of statutory elements to regulation around the world. I hope I have pointed out that we don't lack for laws where it comes to dealing with areas of wrongful behaviour. We have a reasonable code. Nobody in their right mind would argue that the PCC, whatever the reasons for that, has not nobody could remotely sympathise or even seek to explain its actions in the early part of the Milly Dowler case, in the McCanns' case. I was just as touched and horrified by the examples set out to you and the Inquiry in the first three or four weeks of evidence. But I would simply argue that yes, there have been many last-chance saloons before, but with the right robust and considerable changes I've outlined some and you've had many other witnesses who better than me have outlined others a strong system of self-regulation you could have the ombudsman or the chair of the new regulator reporting to the DCMS Select Committee on the not on the individual judgments but on the general performance mechanisms of the regulator once a year. You can have all kinds of areas where, at every level, the behaviour, the standards and the compliance is rigorously monitored. I just and I think advocates of freedom of expression, mindful of foreign precedents and mindful of the weaknesses of the media, would just resist strongly and urge you not to go down the statutory route. MR JAY ADR, please, finally. 53722, Mr Heawood. 54675, Mr Kampfner. Mr Heawood, first of all, identify the key features of the ADR scheme you have in mind, please. MR HEAWOOD So we're talking about alternative dispute resolution. Again, it returns to my central point that the underlying law has to be right and it has to be accessible. So when you look at libel and many of the cases many of the more egregious cases that have come up in the course of the Inquiry are actually libel cases, although it's not within the terms of reference of the Inquiry as such what we are very concerned about is that libel doesn't currently work for either party. It doesn't seem to prevent some of those really grotesque attacks on individuals' reputation, but at the same time, it is being used very effectively to silence all kind of publishers, NGOs, scientists, researchers, academics, book publishers, authors, historians et cetera, who don't have the resource to fight those cases. So in order to get resolution for both parties we have found, in our research, that mediation is actually phenomenally surprisingly successful in more than 90 per cent of cases where it's been used. Early neutral evaluation has been used less but it does in the cases where it has been used, it has been equivalently successful. So what we are recommending through our alternative libel project is that those options should be made not mandatory because there are some problems attached to making forms of ADR mandatory and in some cases it may be inappropriate. The rights and wrongs may be so black and white that actually it's a waste of people's time to try to find some sort of settlement, but in most cases there should be a heavy incentive to go down those routes, which would be recognised by the courts in the costs awards LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Of course there's a snag there that we discussed with Mr Barber, that those of very great wealth might be perfectly prepared to use the very expensive court route itself to effectively squash the expression that you wish to preserve, and if it's voluntary, then nothing can be done to stop that. MR HEAWOOD You mean they will refuse to mediate and will say, "See you why court"? Well, quite, and this is a problem that we have wrestled with considerably, but problems have been put to us around Article 6 rights of access to justice. If you're suggesting that some private body which offers mediation or arbitration services could replace the courts LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No, you can't, because of Article 6. MR HEAWOOD Quite. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That's right. Therefore, if there is such a mechanism, it has to be provided by law. Now, it might not work and the victims might not like that, but it's just the other side of the coin. MR HEAWOOD If I can just make one final point there. To that extent, we have then looked down the Tribunal route. Many people are talking about: can you not have a libel tribunal, perhaps a broader press tribunal that sat within the courts and tribunals service? I think unless that tribunal came with quite severe cost capping and other ways of limiting the ability for size of chequebook to determine the amount of time spent, I'm not sure it offers significant advantages, really, over the High Court. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I understand. MR KAMPFNER We would like, sir, to jointly submit in due course the full report that we're doing jointly on alternative dispute resolution and currently we expect it to be published in March, and we've done a draft of it, which I trust you received. We have an advisory committee involving a number of lawyers chaired by Sir Stephen Sedley, and we hope it will be a valuable contribution. It's our view that judges could take cognisance of the willingness or otherwise of parties to engage in any of the several potential fora for or mechanisms for dispute, but they're not obliged to. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'll be very interested to see what Sir Stephen, who has a great deal of experience in this area, and his team have to suggest finally, and of course there will be an opportunity for that to be presented and discussed. But once one seeks to permit judges to take account of this feature or that future, there has to be some jurisdictional basis for them so to do. There has to be something that says, "You can take this into account", otherwise judges are acting outwith the law, and whatever we do and however well we do it or we don't do it, we try to do it consistently with our obligations to respect the law, whether it be a statute or common law. MR KAMPFNER It's your area and not ours, but is there not already a de facto recognition of some element of prejudicial activity in terms of early determination of meaning? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, yes, but that's because there's a decision that that's what's been ordered should happen in this particular case. Anyway. MR JAY I have about three minutes left. Mr Kampfner, Mr Heawood, are there any points you feel we haven't covered or you haven't covered adequately which you wish now to draw to our attentions? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Your statements, of course, are part of the record and I've read them both carefully, but I'm very keen that you do have the chance to say any extra if you want to. MR KAMPFNER I would like to conclude on a very specific point that is absolutely, in our view, fundamental to freedom of expression in the UK, and I said it I alluded it to it in my seminar presentation but I want very much and I said it this morning in the Times to exhort you and the Inquiry to make it clear, where clarity is required, because the decisions are being taken in coming weeks, that libel substantive reform of libel through the final defamation bill should not be held up pending resolution of all the many issues that you are wrestling with. You will be reporting in the autumn. Where there are measures that need to follow, that will take another many months, and if libel, which is there it's pretty much there. Pretty much consensus has been reached through the joint committee of the Lords in Commons on the substantive issue. It's ready on the stocks. It's a fast bill. We've had prelegislative scrutiny and I think it would be a tragedy if inadvertently, of course, this the ongoing work of this Inquiry delayed the insertion of libel into the Queen's speech in May. So anything you might wish to say or do now or at an appropriate point, we would be very grateful on that score. MR HEAWOOD I'd obviously completely endorse that. We spent several years of our lives trying to achieve sensible libel reform and we are very keen to see that completed. Just one very small point about the chilling effect. Sometimes people talk about the "chilling effect" of law or regulation as if it's desirable, as if it's necessary there should be a deterrent. Now, obviously law serves a deterrent purpose but the chilling effect is something quite different. The chilling effect of a bad law or a law which is badly applied or inaccessible is that certain subjects simply go unreported. So in libel we've had evidence from publishers that a majority of publishers will now not touch certain individuals. They won't commission books or biographies about them because they're so litigious that they know they might be financially destroyed if they did so. So I think we need to very careful about the nature of the chilling effect and to make sure that the law is right, that it's accessible either through a regulator or through the courts in the best form. But essentially just to say thank you very much for being here, for letting us come. MR JAY Thank you both very much. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. I would be grateful, if you can spare the time, if you would stay and listen to some of the other interest groups that are coming to give evidence today, which have different concerns, which it seems to me may impact on some of the nuanced discussion surrounding the very big issues that you've spoken about. MR HEAWOOD I agree, and I've read their submissions with great interest. As far as possible, we'll stay for part of the day. MR KAMPFNER I was wondering, sir, whether you were possibly on the point of saying something about libel and then you didn't. Did we stop you in your prime? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No. It's quite difficult to do that with me. What I decided to do and I will tell you exactly what I've decided to do is to look rather carefully at what has been happening. I have not studied the legislative pre-scrutiny. I don't know precisely what the provisions proposed are. I've not seen precisely how they fit in to my terms of reference. But what I will do is I will do that, particularly if you have any material that will help me do it, and I will then make the position clear. I would be very surprised if anything that I was doing should prevent legislation being proposed and advanced because libel is not specifically within the terms of my reference, but I felt it wrong to shoot from the hip, as it were, in response to your submission, which I've seen before. I would rather make a considered response. You've seen that during the course of this Inquiry, periodically I say things at an unexpected time in an unexpected way. I have very much your request in mind. I will consider it, but I hope you will not consider it discourteous if I take just some moments to think about what I should say and how I should say it. MR KAMPFNER Thank you. MR HEAWOOD Thank you. MR JAY Thank you. Sir, may we take our break until quarter to 12? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Certainly. (11.33 am) (A short break) (11.44 am) MS HEATHER HARVEY (affirmed) MS ANNA VAN HEESWIJK (affirmed) MS JACQUI HUNT (affirmed) MS MARAI LARASI (affirmed) Questions by MR JAY MR JAY I am going to ask each of you respectively, please, to say who you are and who you represent. First of all, please, Ms Larasi. MS LARASI My name is Marai Larasi. I represent the End Violence Against Women coalition. It's a UK-wide coalition of more than 40 organisations which campaigns to the government at every level in the UK. We have part of our work that is focused on preventing violence against women as well as addressing it and members include organisations such as Women's Aid and Refuge. I've worked in the violence against women field for over 17 years, I'm co-chair of this coalition and director of a national organisation called Imkaan, which works against violence around black and minority ethnic women and girls. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Before we start, could I ask, to help the lady who is trying to record all this and I failed to assist her sufficiently with the last group of witnesses if you'd all speak rather more slowly. Right. MR JAY Thank you. Ms Hunt, please. MS HUNT My name is Jacqui Hunt. I'm director of the London Office of Equality Now, which is an international human rights charity working to protect and promote the rights of women around the world. We mobilise grass-roots action and action of our membership, which is in now 160 countries, to support the efforts of local and national groups to promote women's rights.
Q. Thank you. MS VAN HEESWIJK My name is Annie van Heeswijk and I'm the campaign manager for human rights organisation Object, which campaigns against the sexual objectification of women in the media and popular culture.
Q. Thank you. Finally please, Ms Harvey? MS HARVEY My name is Heather Harvey and I'm currently the (inaudible) research and development manager at Eaves. Eaves is a charity that works on all forms of violence against women. We have front line support which deals with cases of violence against women and across all forms of violence against them and we have a research and development function, which is the team I'm based in.
Q. Thank you. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I can see where it says "inaudible" that even now it's all going too quickly. I appreciate there's a lot to be said, but I'm very keen to make sure that I have a full record of what you're all saying. Before Mr Jay starts, can I thank each one of you for the submissions you've received, which I've read and which will form part of the record of this Inquiry. I'm very grateful to you all for the trouble you've obviously gone to to put these together. MR JAY I'll just identify the submissions and then ask you each to confirm that this is your evidence to the Inquiry. First of all, Ms Larasi, it's a submission dated January of this year, is that right, and this is your formal evidence to the Inquiry? MS LARASI Yes.
Q. Ms Hunt, 22 December last year and likewise your formal submission to the Inquiry? MS HUNT Yes, it is.
Q. Ms Van Heeswijk, you put in a witness statement yesterday? MS VAN HEESWIJK Yes.
Q. You have updated the submission, so it notionally bears yesterday's date, and you've also provided us with a bundle of 20 exhibits which are in a yellow file; is that right? MS VAN HEESWIJK That is correct.
Q. Again, that is your formal submission to the Inquiry. Finally, Ms Harvey, your submission, 22 December of last year? MS HARVEY Yes.
Q. I'm going to ask each of you, please, to explain succinctly at this stage why it is that you have sought to come to this Inquiry and assist the Inquiry with submissions and evidence. First of all, please, Ms Larasi. MS LARASI So from an evil perspective, the media creates, reflects and enforces attitudes. Those who work in the media should be conscious of this and should actively seek not to reproduce attitudes which condone violence against women and girls. Too often this is done through inaccurate reporting for example, on the law on rape intrusive reporting on victims and their families and misrepresentation. Example of criminal trials, for example, reporting only the defence perspective. Sensationalist selection of violence against women stories for example, the Facebook murder and the language used can somehow imply that the victim provoked her assault. Supporting experts and court reports reported might, for example, say that a particular crime is cultural or religious and therefore is less serious or somehow inevitable.
Q. Thank you very much. Now, Ms Hunt, as an encapsulation, please, what is it that prompted you to wish to assist this Inquiry? MS HUNT Just very briefly, international human rights standards require elimination of discrimination against women, including standards that the UK has signed up to, and sexist stereotypes in the media are a form of discrimination against women.
Q. Thank you. Ms Van Heeswijk, please? MS VAN HEESWIJK Firstly, it's clearly widespread concern about the ever-increasing sexualisation and objectification of women, as highlighted and outlined in the recent government commissioned reviews, the Bailey review and before that, the review into the sexualisation of young people. It is clear that the Page 3 tabloids contribute to a culture in which women are perceived as existing for the sole purpose of providing these sex objects or being sex objects, essentially. What is particularly harmful about this is that these images exist within mainstream newspapers, which are not age-restricted and are openly displayed at child's eye level, despite the fact that such material would be prohibited from the workplace because of equality legislation it would be considered a form of sexual harassment and despite the fact that such sexually objectifying and degrading images would be restricted on broadcast media before the 9 pm watershed. So essentially what we are proposing is that there are very simple solutions to tackle the sexualisation and objectification of women in the mainstream Page 3 tabloid press.
Q. Yes, and Ms Harvey, please? MS HARVEY We're very grateful to have the opportunity to contribute. We feel, as others to this Inquiry, that we strongly support the principle of freedom of expression for the press, but I suppose where we have concerns is that freedom of expression for the press doesn't always tackle exactly what the high ideals of journalism are, as I understand it, about, which is, as others have well put this morning, holding our states to account, holding decision-makers to account, challenging the status quo and the norms of our society, imparting information in a way that is not misrepresenting, in a way that is not misleading, in a way that is accurate, and what we are concerned about is our as others have said, our press not only reflects our society but can also create and shape and reinforce standards in our society, and if we do not take into account the existing power and balances that are in our society at the moment, then you can simply replicate discrimination, sexism or a misleading interpretation of what is occurring, and for us, we feel the press has a really vital important role to actually challenge the status quo and the sexism and discrimination in our society and can do that in a way that doesn't actually conflict with the principles of freedom of expression but it requires maybe some tweaking, amendments, some better guidance. So we will be calling for things like better guidelines, some greater involvement of independent parties, greater liaison with groups who deal with equalities-type issues and we think that we can go a long way to actually delivering what the high ideals of journalism are about in a way that is not so harmful as it, we believe, currently can be to women, such as deterring women from bringing forward complaints about rape being just one example which I can talk more to in my submission.
Q. Before I ask each of you to develop those points, I'm going to look at individual examples which are referred to in your various submissions. I think I'm going to start with Object, Ms Van Heeswijk. This, to make it clear, is a joint submission MS VAN HEESWIJK It is.
Q. by your self and Turn Your Back On Page 3. The specific examples start at, on the internal numbering, page 6. I'm just going to check whether we've provided updated URN numbers. I'm not sure we have. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Page 6 of the internal? MR JAY Internal numbering under your tab 3A. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes? Internal page 6, the evidence from the Sun. MR JAY That's right. Because what you've done, is this right, is to start off by taking a week in the life, if that's the right way of putting it, of three tabloid papers and you've looked at a week in mid-November of last year; is that right? MS VAN HEESWIJK That's correct.
Q. First of all, please, in relation to the Sun, you make four general points. The Page 3 girl. Can I ask you, please, about the Dear Deirdre column and explain the issue in relation to that? MS VAN HEESWIJK Essentially what we're trying to illustrate here is the extent to which women are persistently and relentlessly portrayed as a sum of sexualised body parts within the Page 3 tabloid press. I think you will find that there is a sort of gradient of extremity running from the Sun to the Daily Star to the Sport, which I know I have given copies to everybody, but what runs the common theme throughout this is the Page 3 feature, which is of a topless or sometimes fully nude young woman, who is sexualised and objectified. It isn't actually restricted only to the third page. In the Sport it's on every page, including the front page. The same would be the case for the Star. In the Sun, we have the Page 3 girl. We have the Dear Deirdre, which is essentially a daily agony aunt and is another staple of the Sun but provides another example of always being accompanied by a woman in her underwear, essentially, who is sexualised in this way. It's one of the many examples within the Sun of the way in which women are portrayed.
Q. Thank you. So if we look through the Sun examples I'm not going to look at all of them but they're all illustrative really of a theme. The first one, Kelly Brook, her breasts are described as "Mitchell brothers" and we can see the photograph, and your analysis is she's essentially reduced to a pair of breasts. MS VAN HEESWIJK I would just like to refer you to the exhibits that we have printed, only because I think there are some stronger examples within them, because we're not going to be able to go through every single exhibit in this original submission.
Q. I'm in your hands. If you feel in relation to the Sun there are stronger examples in our yellow file, please identify those and we will look at them. MS VAN HEESWIJK Okay. Let's find so we have for example, one of the issues that we have raised is not only the way that women are persistently sexualised and objectified, but the trivialisation and even sometimes sort of eroticisation of the reporting of violence against women. In the Sun, we have, in exhibit 6, an example of the front page
Q. Just while we find it, it's exhibit 6A, which is under our tab 6. Is that right? MS VAN HEESWIJK Yes.
Q. Thank you. Sorry, please continue. MS VAN HEESWIJK So we have the front page of the Sun. We have here I think it's quite difficult to read but it says "Bodyguards for battered Towie sisters". Essentially the story is about acts of violence that were inflicted upon the Towie sisters and the photograph used to accompany that is clearly a sexualised image of one of them in her underwear, which we would say completely trivialises the acts of violence thats she was subjected to and sends out a broader message essentially of not taking these kinds of violent acts seriously.
Q. I think you wanted to talk about exhibit 10 as well; is that right? Another Sun front page? MS VAN HEESWIJK Exhibit 10 is extremely relevant because inside the Sun, one of the issues of course is that these are mainstream newspapers. They're not age-restricted. They're not sold and they're not displayed on the top shelf. They're readily available and completely mainstream, and so within the Sun we have also adverts for the porn and sex industry. We have the Page 3 staple and we have, on the front page here, the Sun offering free toy Lego, which is clearly going to be directed at children, parents buying this for children, again despite the fact that the images within the Sun would be prohibited from being displayed within a workplace, because they would be considered a form of sexual harassment for adults. The images within the Sun would not be shown before the watershed on television and yet they're commonplace within an unrestricted newspaper which describes itself as a family newspaper.
Q. Thank you. Any further exhibits? I'm going to deal with exhibit 11 separately, because that raises a slightly different point, but any of the other exhibits in relation to the Sun before we go back to your submission? MS VAN HEESWIJK The other thing I would say about the Sun is because it has such a huge readership, there's a very big issue in relation to even parents and teachers trying to regulate this kind of material. So, for example, through our work, through Object's work with teachers in schools, teachers have often told us about their difficulties in relation to this issue because clearly they are wanting to encourage their children and young people to read the newspapers, to engage with the news, to know what's going on in the world. They have periods where children are supposed to bring in newspapers, and invariably they bring in the Sun and the Daily Star. The reading age of these newspapers are low. They're very easy to read, essentially, and they are going to be attractive to young people to buy, and so teachers find themselves in a situation where they're having to confiscate newspapers from children which the children were free to buy at their local corner shop, at the local supermarket of course, a point that the children don't fail to make because of the sexualised and degrading images that exist within these newspapers. I could refer you to another example of the Sun, which is under Exhibit 15. This is a whole story on one of the Page 3 idols. Interestingly enough, the term "idol" there. Again, what story is this telling to young girls about what they should aspire to, about the stereotypes of femininity that are portrayed to young girls? And in particular, I'd like to refer you to the photographs of her again in a bikini at as a 14-year-old.
Q. This is page 4 of 10 at the bottom right. MS VAN HEESWIJK Yes.
Q. You give other examples in relation to the Sun in your submission. In example 4, page 7, is a fictitious scenario involving Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton, which is self-explanatory, which, as you say, eroticises sexual harassment and portrays Ms Middleton only in relation to her bottom. And then example 9 I'm only alighting on these randomly "How to stop your man having affairs": "Cook dinner in just your lingerie once a week." Could I move on from the Sun to the Daily Star, please, which is page 10 of your submission. There are also examples in the yellow file. MS VAN HEESWIJK Sorry, what is actually up on the screen at the moment is from the Sun, but it is actually another example of trivialising violence against women. It's example 15.
Q. Thank you. If we go to the Daily Star in the submission it's page 11 on the internal numbering. You say at the top of page 11: "In relation to the covers, hyper-sexualised imagery of semi-naked women is commonplace on the front covers of the newspaper. Page 3 'glamour models' extend over several pages." There is a Daily Star forum, which you explain, and then there are various pornographic advertisements. Which of the examples, please, Ms Van Heeswijk, would you like us to look at particularly in relation to the Daily Star, since it might be said these are all thematic; in other words, very similar? MS VAN HEESWIJK I think the imagery on the front pages is extremely relevant because, as I've said, these newspapers are displayed at child's eye level in the mainstream. There are some examples of front covers under exhibit 1. One of them is the Daily Star.
Q. 1B is the Daily Star. We can see the photograph on the left-hand side. In terms of the examples you give, you might like to look at example 2, at the bottom of page 11. MS VAN HEESWIJK Mm-hm.
Q. The use of language and the associated image. MS VAN HEESWIJK I think another point to make here is the assumptions that they make about the presumed male reader. So they say: "We assume you're not even reading this because you're still getting a massive pervy eyeful of that pert ass going up a fake ski slope." So even when the image itself is of a woman engaging in an activity, in a sport, skiing, she is still sexualised and reduced to a body part in this example.
Q. Thank you. We've read some of the other examples, but unless you wish to alight on any specifically, can we move on to the Sport and then the Sunday Sport. Is this right: there's a mid-week edition of the Sport MS VAN HEESWIJK And a Sunday.
Q. and a Sunday edition. In terms of the front pages, we have the example of a mid-week front page at exhibit 1A in the yellow file; is that correct? MS VAN HEESWIJK That is correct.
Q. A Sunday example, exhibit 3 under our tab 3 in the yellow file? MS VAN HEESWIJK Is that going to be up on the screen? Are we waiting for that to go up?
Q. I think we should see exhibit 3, please. MS VAN HEESWIJK Yes, I think so too. So I mean, as you can see, in this exhibit the women are completely nameless, headless. It's only focusing on one part of their body, which is extremely objectifying and sexualised, and it's also it's very worrying because they're here clearly in a sort of vulnerable position and it's normalising the up-skirt photographs. It's normalising this sort of voyeurism and form of sexual harassment and bullying which we know are of great concern, particularly actually to young girls, young women in schools, who are often subjected to this form of sexual bullying and harassment, especially now with the widespread use of camera phones, and this is a front page photograph.
Q. You provided us with a copy of the Sunday Sport last Sunday? MS VAN HEESWIJK Yeah, this is the most recent.
Q. We can MS VAN HEESWIJK If you care to look through it, you'll see that sort of every page is just photograph upon photograph of more or less all white women who have been and these women are completely sexualised and objectified, degraded, portrayed as sex objects. We really have to ask ourselves what kind of a story this tells, especially, I think, to young children, to boys and girls, when they see in mainstream newspapers men in suits, men in sports attire, men as active participants, as subjects, and women as sexualised objects who essentially are naked or nearly naked on, in the case of the Sport, every single page. But it is a common theme throughout the other newspapers as well.
Q. The last exhibit I'd like you to look at, just to identify it, is exhibit 4. It's a picture of Charlotte Church when I think she was 15. Where is this from, do you know? MS VAN HEESWIJK This is in the Star. I mean, there are many things you could say about this, but essentially it's Charlotte Church at 15. The commentary is important here: "She's a big girl now. Child singing sensation showed just how quickly she's grown up after she turned up at a Hollywood bash looking chest swell." Clearly sort of an emphasis on a 15-year-old young woman's breasts, and interestingly enough, that's juxtaposed with this article, which is sort of outrage against a spoof sort of satire around paedophilia. The hypocrisy within these sort of newspapers is often quite evident.
Q. Can I ask you this general question, if I can seek to put it in these terms. If one were to rename these papers Penthouse, Mayfair or whatever, what is the difference, if any, between a publication which is, if I can put it in these terms, expressively pornographic and the material we've just been looking at? Is there a differences, and if so, what is it? MS VAN HEESWIJK I think you'll find that there isn't a marked difference between the content which exists within these classified pornographic materials and the contents within some of these mainstream Page 3 tabloids, so the difference therefore is how they are regulated. One could say that it is actually more harmful to have these images within mainstream newspapers because of the normalising effect that it therefore has and the legitimising effect that it has. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Regulating in that regard, you simply meanwhile where the newsagents are required to display them? MS VAN HEESWIJK Sir, if they're classified pornography, then there are age restrictions. There's an issue with lad's mags, which there's only a voluntary code as to the sale and display of. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That's voluntary, is it? MS VAN HEESWIJK It's completely voluntary, and some supermarkets respect this code and they do with lads' mags, they do display them on the top shelf and they cover them, but many don't. The issue with these newspapers is they're never displayed on the top shelf. They are completely mainstream and freely available to anybody, and the fact that they exist within a newspaper, I think, lends them a sort of legitimacy and makes this type of portrayal of women seem unquestionable, seem sort of normal and acceptable, essentially. Again, this type of material wouldn't pass a test for pre-watershed broadcast media, so again I think that there is an issue there of why it is seen as acceptable for them to exist within print-based media. MR JAY The issue of regulation is one I'm going to come to at the end. MS VAN HEESWIJK May I make one other point about the exhibits?
Q. Please. MS VAN HEESWIJK Only because I think it's extremely interesting that when we were sent the submissions when the submissions were sent to all of those of us who are giving evidence, the images within our submission were actually censored, and that I find interesting because they were censored for adults within this hearing when in fact they are freely available in mainstream newspapers which are not age-restricted.
Q. Yes. Thank you. May I move to the submission, please, of End Violence Against Women. You give us ten individual cases. There may not be time to address all of them, but I think you did certainly want to speak to the Facebook murder, which is our page 54610. If you could encapsulate the issue there and your concern? MS LARASI So what we have is this is a Daily Telegraph story and the way it was reported was "Man murdered wife after she changed Facebook status to single" and the whole tone of the story focuses on she changed her status to simultaneous, you know, their relationship was breaking down, and then he killed her. He was getting more and more depressed, et cetera. From a violence against women and girls perspective, he killed her because he was abusive. He killed her and he killed her. He didn't kill her because she changed her status on Facebook. For us, the concern is the focus on her actions, the focus on Facebook trivialises the murder of this woman, and also moves the focus away from this man's violent actions, and so for us it's particularly concerning. Responsible journalism for us would look like, you know: "This is how often women are killed, women are murdered twice a week by a current or former partner, over 50 women are killed every week", et cetera, and would contextualise it within a wider violence against women and girls framework, not focus on she changed her Facebook status, and the fact that it became known a Facebook murder is in itself symbolic. It wasn't a Facebook murder. It was a murder of a real woman by her partner.
Q. It's the singling out, you say, of one adventitious feature without any proper understanding of the overall context; is that right? MS LARASI Absolutely, absolutely.
Q. The revealing rape victims' identity case, although a serious error, I'm going to pass over because it speaks for itself. Item 3, please, gang rape of young girls, an "orgy", 5462. Your concern there? MS LARASI This was the Daily Mail and is particularly upsetting. The first thing is you put the term "orgy" in something and what you immediately do is you grab people's attention. It becomes titillating. But also we have a situation where two young girls were raped. We're talking about unlawful sex. They were incapable under British law of giving consent. What then happens in the story is it completely focuses on their behaviour, their attitudes, what they did, et cetera. So it wasn't just the headline itself; the whole tone of the story really focuses on what those young women did and didn't do, and even went so the far as to focus on their parents as opposed to the behaviour of the young men. And what we also find is this almost sympathetic approach to these young men. They added that the careers of the promising young footballers had been ruined by the biggest mistakes of their lives. Now, that, yes, is reporting what happened in a court situation but the ways of reporting it so that what you're not doing is actually trivialising or exoticising what happened to young women are particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation and sexual violence. We don't know the true circumstances in terms of the conversations that were had, et cetera, but what we do know is there is a context, which is that young women are vulnerable, and what responsible reporting could do is focus on the vulnerability of young women and contextualise it, rather than using terms like "orgy", "Lolita", et cetera, and putting that in the public domain with no regard to the impact this reporting might have on those young women or might have on other young women in a similar situation. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But even if you're going to put the defence perspective, is there not a further argument that what is critical is also to put the perspective that you've just identified? MS LARASI I'm not quite sure I LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, your complaint is that this story provides a slant and an unbalanced slant. MS LARASI Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You're not suggesting it should be a slant the other way? MS LARASI No. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You're merely requiring it to be balanced MS LARASI Absolutely. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON and contextualised? MS LARASI The way you would in a broadcast context. I'm not saying that you can't have a position where you say, you know: "In court, there was scrutiny of the young girls' behaviour", et cetera. I'm not saying that you couldn't do that, and say that's what happened in court, but I would expect that some scrutiny of the young men's behaviour and I would expect it would be reported in a way that was a lot more responsible, that suggested actually young women are vulnerable. So you contextualise the young women's behaviour within the context of young women being vulnerable to sexual exploitation. The idea of that for example: "The other girl was more reluctant and was raped by just one player." I mean, that tone in itself actually indicates that you're not focusing on the young woman's vulnerability and you're not also thinking about you know, "just one player"? A rape is a rape, therefore, for that young woman, there's likely to be a whole you know, a degree of trauma associated with that experience. MR JAY Your position is not censorship of comment; it is responsible reporting, which requires balanced comment. Is that right? MS LARASI Absolutely, and also seeking out of expertise, of professionals who are able to speak to the issues that are being reported. So, for example, dialogue with Rape Crisis as an organisation, you know, could look at what's the situation around young women. Who's reporting to you? Are there particular vulnerabilities? Et cetera. That would be been a much more responsible way of approaching it.
Q. Item 4, please, 54614. This is racism and misogyny wrapped up into one. It is a traveller family with 12 children and a particular report in the Sun in February of last year. What, in essence, in the issue here? MS LARASI This is one of those stories where, apart from promoting racist stereotypes, I'm not actually quite sure and misogynistic position, what interest what this particular story was hoping to do except feed particular stereotypes. The family concerned were placed in temporary accommodation by Harringay local authority during the broadcast of a really popular Channel 4 showing of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. The woman concerned complained of being harassed, there were children, her children were photographed. You know, in my mind, the whole tone of this is completely irresponsible and I think that's it. It's completely irresponsible. I'm concerned about the racism, I'm concerned about the misogyny in the reporting.
Q. Understood. Then I think you cover the issue of honour-based violence in at least two examples. It's not so much the examples necessarily as the point you want to make. MS LARASI Yes.
Q. Can you encapsulate, please, for us the essence of that point? MS LARASI So very often practices such as honour-based violence or forced marriage are reported in the popular press in gratuitous detail. The language, for example, is inaccurate, so forced marriage is often referred to as "arranged marriage", sending the wrong message about what the issue is. There's the idea that particular practices are reported primarily as cultural or as religious rather than as violence against women and girls, and therefore are not linked to other forms of violence against women and girls, which actually serves to exoticise the violence that particular women are experiencing. A responsible approach would be to say, "Violence against women is happening in a range of contexts. Forced marriage is one element of violence against women. So is honour-based violence." That way you focus on the idea of the violence against the women and the girls rather than on the idea of culture. One of the things I've noted and we haven't given an example here is the frequency with which the focus is on a Muslim father. You know, a Muslim father did this, this happened within Muslim families, et cetera. From our perspective as experts working around violence against women and girls, we know that this is not primarily an Islamic issue, we know that this is happening across a range of communities, and we know that where culture and religion can be used as vehicles, ultimately the causes are the same. It's violence against women and girls. It's patriarchy. Those are the issues we would ask reporters to focus on and we would want people to provide a broad perspective, so speaking to a range of experts as opposed to one practitioner who may actually have one position, which is: this it is associated with fundamentalism.
Q. Thank you. The last example I'm going to ask you specifically to comment on of course, the Inquiry has read the others is item 8 at page 54625, which is the piece based on an unpublished and unfinished MSc dissertation. This is a Daily Telegraph article, I think. MS LARASI Yes. What's disturbing about this particular piece is the original press release said "Promiscuous men are more likely to rape". The Telegraph reported the piece as "Women who dress provocatively more likely to be raped". My immediate concern is: why would you twist the piece in that way? What agenda is being served? Rather than focusing on the actual you know, the information that was in the press release. And so I'd be really concerned about the reporter's intent, or the editorial intent around this particular piece, because it's misrepresenting the information and it's also presenting an unpublished piece almost as science, as research, et cetera, that is valid and it's completely twisted and distorted the original piece, anyway.
Q. I put this point to you only as an idea. Would fair, responsible and comprehensive reporting about violence in women seek to bring in a number of strands. The first strand, not in any particular order, may be human nature, some men are violent. Another strand may be cultural, economic, social, religious. Another strand may be more subtle, the influence of what we read, press, socio-economic forces. Maybe those are in the second strand. And what we need is a picture which embraces all those strands rather than a picture which seeks to alight on any one of the strands? Is that right or not? MS LARASI Absolutely, but there is also because the other side of it is a context where men who commit violence are excessively demonised in the press and portrayed as beasts or demons or monsters, and actually men who commit violence are our fathers or brothers or sons. They're the men around us, and when you demonise those particular men in that particular way, what you do is you actually take it out of the context of normal society. When you're talking about one in three women experiencing violence in her life, we're talking about huge statistics there. So what we want is for people to understand that violence against women and girls too often is very normal. So if you sensationalise it, what you are likely to do is have people disconnect from it, have people "other" that violence, and therefore not see it as something that's related to them. The impact then on women reporting, if you have this whole exotic or "other" thing happening, for us is a concern, because if things are reported badly, then actually how women see that is, you know: "This isn't me", or: "It's not necessarily safe for me to report", or: "I might not be believed", or: "But he wasn't a demon; he was somebody that was my loving husband and he happened to be really really violent." So you know, there's something about actually providing a balanced perspective that for us will be much more useful and what we don't want are reports that actually damage individual women and we don't want reports that excessively demonise violent men.
Q. Thank you very much. May I move on, please, to Ms Harvey and your submission. You provide us case studies, examples and analysis. May I start, please, with 54246, which is under our tab 4. MS HARVEY Yes.
Q. In the middle of the page, failing to ask appropriate challenging questions. This is the difference between reporting of last summer riots and then reporting of cases of male violence against women. In your own words, please, what do you see the key differences to be? MS HARVEY Well, taking that's just one example. The riots over the summer or gang violence or a whole range of other features that get covered in the news will often be covered in what I would say is quite a responsible way, where it is situated in a context where they look at: are there any wider patterns here? Are there any trends here? What's the research here? What's the statistics here? How does this particular incident fit with the wider context that we're working in? It will usually involve asking particular commentators and maybe politicians, lawyers, academics, experts, frontline NGO services to come and actually comment on maybe what happened, why did it happen, is there anything that we should know more about that might enable us to prevent this happening in future or take measures that could minimise the possible likelihood of harm? What I'm concerned about and I only reference two cases here, but actually if you take just recently over the Christmas period, for instance, I think probably most of us were struck by the fact that there were about four instances of a man murdering his wife and children. I'm not saying they're necessarily linked, I'm not saying it's necessarily the same thing, but what I am saying is I would expect responsible journalism to actually look at those things as: what is going on here? What is happening? Why is it happening? Is there anything is there a common factor or isn't there? There may not be, but those are valid questions to ask. Is there any research on this issue or isn't there? If there isn't, should there be? If there is, what does it say about it? I think in actual fact from the work that we do we know that there is research that looks into those kinds of factors. So what we're concerned about is these cases get treated as a one-off example of a few bad apples, and it's a tragedy, a one-off thing. There's nothing anyone could do about it. You could never predict it could happen. There's nothing particularly you could do to prevent it. Whereas the position we're coming from, which reflects the position in CEDAW and other international conventions is that violence against women is linked directly to the public policy sphere. It's linked to our society and our economy and our choices. It's not inevitable and it's a reflection a cause and a consequence of inequality. So what we would expect in terms of responsible reporting is that some of those questions get asked, some people are called upon to actually say: well, what are "You are our politicians. You are our decision-makers. What do you think about this? What are your steps to deal with it? What are you doing about?" And they're very, very rarely, if ever, treated in that way. It's simply a one-off tragic case. How awful, how dreadful, what a shame, nothing we can do about it. So it's just a lack of contextual ignorance and failing to ask the right questions, but I think where that becomes a problem for us is that that again causes us to sit back and think there isn't anything we can or should be doing about and it can have quite a damaging effect as well in terms of what is your priority and your focus and your public responsibility and your accountability, whereas, as I said before, in a free press which it is actually meeting its own aims of holding people to account, could and should, I think, be asking those kind of more challenging questions about our society and the status quo.
Q. Thank you. A related issue, but it flows on from the general issue you just adumbrated, at the bottom of page 54247, invisibility of the victim and identifying with the perpetrator. MS HARVEY Yes.
Q. Do you want to say something about that? MS HARVEY Yes. We actually also referenced the Facebook murder as an example of this and again, some of those family killings over the Christmas period. What we feel is that a lot of the coverage of cases of violence against women, whether that's sexual violence or other forms of violence against women, have a considerable focus on the perpetrator in often quite a sympathetic way. So he was depressed, he was losing his job, he feared that his wife was going to leave him, he was provoked. She said something that triggered him in some way. And often it's amazing how little you find out about the woman who is actually the victim. Whilst again, I think the point that was made by my colleagues. It's not that those things are not valid to be said. They are. There will be all sorts of reasons that may cause a man to be violent, but the point is ultimately he has been violent, he has chosen to be violent and there is a context for that and there is another half to that story, which is what's been happening in the lives of that woman and of women more generally. And again, putting it in context of the statistics, when you look at two women a week being killed by their partners or ex-partners, there is a kind of a context there which needs to be addressed, and the tendency to kind of obscure the victim so you find out virtually nothing about her, or worse, in many cases, to scrutinise her very intensely and actually look at what was her behaviour and what was her lifestyle like. Was she a difficult person? Did she say unpleasant things? Was she having an affair? She may have been, and all those things might be reprehensible or dislikeable or may make the situation more difficult, but the way it's portrayed all too often is the implication and what the reader could go away with is the impression that there is a validation or a justification or an explanation of why that man would commit that violence, and these things do have an implication for whether a woman will report a case or not. Will she blame herself? That's particularly the case in rape instances that we deal with. I think we're going to come to that later.
Q. Yes, in the context of rape this is 54249 you point out that the stranger rape scenario is quite rare, and the more statistically familiar example is acquaintance or date or even marital rape. Can I invite you, please, to develop that theme? MS HARVEY Yes. If I'm really honest, this is where it becomes quite difficult because understandably the media are reporting the cases that go to court and they're reporting the cases that are, in their view, or what they perceive to be their readers' views, the most interesting, the most different, or unusual, or in many cases, the ones that most fit with what their readers' own views are or how they view society. So I can see how this happens, but it's kind of which comes first. These two things feed off each other. Something like only 8 per cent of rapes are the kind of stranger who leaps out of a bush on a dark night or attacks a woman sleeping in her bed at night. That is about 8 per cent of rapes. The rest are acquaintance rapes, date rapes, market tall rapes. You would never know that from reading the papers, but that feeds a discourse around what is a "real" rape, who is a "real" victim, who is a "real" rapist, and where that becomes particularly harmful for us is we will find examples of women saying that they will blame themselves, that they shouldn't come forward because they were drinking or wearing certain clothes or they'd known this person, it was a friend of theirs, or even, in some cases, they'd had sex with them in the past, and what they have read in the papers or heard in the discourses is that in some way they are responsible for that, that that's not "real" rape. So where it's harmful is it actually can deter women from reporting rape. This is similar with false allegations. Again, there is a very significant intense interest in reporting so-called false allegations of rape. Again, there's very little contextualisation around how common is a false allegation of rape compared to a false allegation of other crimes. What goes on that causes a false allegation? What is recorded or reported as a false allegation? It could be no crime. It could actually there's a whole series of things that actually could get reported as a false allegation where actually it may just have been that there was no conviction. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I've not thought about this in quite the context that I am now, but of course there are all sorts of entirely sensible laws relating to reporting, and of course, because of the entirely correct approach not to identify victims, do you think that there is less interest in reporting the marital example because the newspaper report then loses all context? Because if it's a marital rape and you can't identify the victim, then you can't identify the defendant either, because the whole thing has to then move into language which is much more non-specific, so that there is no risk to the identification issue. Is that a problem? I've never ever thought of it that way, but it's just arising out of what you've been saying. MS HARVEY I think what we're trying to focus on here is there was recently a Mumsnet survey and it was very unscientific, informal, but it was a huge number of women who responded around sexual violence and they said that there was a very high proportion of them had experienced some form of rape, whether that was date rape or marital rape, whatever. They said they would not report it when they were asked: "Would you report it? Did you report it?" they said no, they wouldn't, because they were in fear of being blamed or of being accused of false allegations. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You don't have to persuade me around that. Anybody who's spent 40 years in the criminal justice system, as I have, knows only too well about the underreporting, the issues that stand in the way of accessing justice. I hope we're better now than we were. MS HARVEY Indeed. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON We've certainly put some effort into it. MS HARVEY Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So to get the whole picture I understand, although I'm very happy that you make it clear so that everybody else does. I am just interested, for the purposes of this, in whether the anonymity rules mean that the larger proportion of reported rapes that go to court are not reported because they are not as interesting. Do you see the question I'm asking? MS HARVEY I do. I'm not sure that I would focus on the anonymity rules as the issue here, really. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No, I'm not focusing on them. I'm just asking the question. MS HARVEY I think it's more about the stereotype and perception of what is a real rape. So that is both what gets reported and also what then gets reported by the media, that is, and also reported to the police for action to be taken. I don't think that's so much about the identification as it's about the stereotype that a real rape is a stranger leaping out of a bush. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Jumping out of the bushes. I understand that point. MS HARVEY I may be missing your point, I'm sorry. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Very well. I'm also conscious that much is made about the low conviction rate for rape without any understanding of the enormous problems there are when one is analysing the behaviour of two human beings who don't actually agree about what happened in an incident that is not witnessed by anybody else. That's one of the problems of which I'm sure you're aware. MS HARVEY Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But that's not quite the purpose of this exercise, and I'm sorry to take you down that track. MS HARVEY No, sorry. MR JAY Finally, Ms Harvey, in relation to your examples or your themes, could I ask you please to address the new media theme, 54249 and following page, and your concern there. MS HARVEY Yes. I only briefly mentioned it here but obviously there's increasingly and rightly debate in the general media and general public and comment, blog and, as others have said, almost all of us have become publishers in a way. I think the point that I reference here some of you will have seen the New Statesman article which actually asked women about their experiences of blogging, commenting and what kind of responses they got, and what was quite shocking about it, even for me, was the level of abuse that people get, and there was a recognition even amongst some of the male commenters as well that the abuse that women get when they comment on issues of public policy generally, but particularly on issues relating to women's rights or feminism or anything of that nature, is very sexist and gendered abuse. It's not purely: "You're talking rubbish and you don't know what you're talking about", or: "Shut up", or: "I disagree about you", which is a normal feature in debate; there is language quite violent and vitriolic language like, "You should have I mean, some of it I couldn't even repeat here, but: "You should have your tongue ripped out. You should be raped backwards with a bush." It's ridiculous, but that is the kind of language that is used, that you should be gang raped, you should be raped in every orifice with an implement. These are genuine things that have been said, as well as a focus on your looks, you're ugly, or an assumption that you must be a lesbian, as though that was a very bad thing, you're unattractive to men, you're not interested in men and you're man-haters. Assumptions about your sexuality, assumptions about your looks and quite as I say, very violent and obscene abuse which, as I say, I can't even repeat here in some cases. Now, the women themselves and a lot of even the men who were also involved in the whole comment thread around that recognised that that was actually about preventing or resenting women's rights to comment on public matters. If she's talking about cupcakes and children, it might be okay, but if she's talking about public policy, if she's talking about women's rights, about equality, about the economy, there is a challenge to her right to have and express an opinion, and a lot of the women who actually blog themselves feel that this is actually about intimidating women into knowing their place, and that's for me, the nub of this matter, really, is women's voices and women's issues are actually being silenced, to some extent intimidated, not properly covered, not adequately or covered in a partial way, in a stereotyped way that can be misleading, misrepresentive, inaccurate and is not a true representation of how women experience life. I think the point I noticed this morning with PEN's submission I very much liked what they used as their definition around public interest, that that might be something that looks at how it can enhance the public's ability to engage in public debate. As I've said before, we support freedom of speech. With that in mind, that it should enable people to equally participate in shaping, deciding, commenting on our society and holding our society to account, and our view is that the way that media covers women at the moment the portrayal of women in media, the roles that are focused on, the stereotypes that are there it curtails and limits women's freedom of expression and women's ability to engage in that public debate, and we think actually the press can be a crucial and helpful partner in actually challenging some of those norms and enabling that freedom of speech and expression for everybody with just a little bit of tweaking these and there. Thanks.
Q. Finally, please, on individual examples I know you haven't given any, Ms Hunt, but are there any themes or specific examples you would draw to our attention which we could consider in the context of your general submission? MS HUNT I think to reinforce what my colleagues have been saying, over the years this has been a huge issue for the international community and decades of work on looking into this, and to really focus on the harms of this sexist stereotyping in media and it being a barrier to achieving the equal participation of women we don't have, for example, very diverse images of women in the media. BME women, older women, women with disabilities are virtually absent from the media. Women in decision-making roles, they have very negative stereotypes. Blair's babes, Dave's dolls. Even when the content of the article is about an interesting issue and may be a very interesting debate, the headlines there signal immediately trivialisation of women, infantilisation of women, demeaning of women, so that women, again, to pick up what Heather was saying, having an opinion is really seen, in a broader sphere, as something negative and it reinforces the way society maybe thinks about those issues and legitimises that. And the other part, in terms of the freedoms we're mentioning, is the legitimisation and normalisation of sexualism in society by the broader community, which may also legitimate violence against women, and that in turn might have a legitimate a consequence on access to justice for women. So if you're looking at all these particular any example of women given a sexist stereotype, it's actually limiting women's participation in society or having justice or being able to combat violence So I think any of the examples we give, they come back to those fundamentals. Freedom of the press: fine, yes, important, really critical, and we use it to expose what governments are doing. It's really really key, but we have to find a way to make sure that women are not sidelined and objectified and taken out of political and human and society participation.
Q. May I turn now to the issue of recommendations, please. In framing that issue, may I just draw attention to two or three matters? The first is that under the existing code, clause 1, there's an obligation to the press to be accurate. If I paraphrase, there's considerable latitude to comment. Under clause 12, there's an anti-discrimination provision, if I can put it generally and crudely, and that must include gender discrimination. There's a free speech issue, which each you recognise, and there is also the possibility of amending the code if the code doesn't adequately address the concerns each of you raise. But I wonder if I might ask each of you in turn, first of all perhaps starting with Ms Lewis, to tell us your blueprint for recommendations for change. MS LARASI So the first point for us is, I suppose, a softer recommendation, which is one around training, and we know that that throws up challenges in terms of achieving that, but having journalists receiving manager training on the law of reporting violence against women so you don't have the "I didn't know, I shouldn't have disclosed, you know, her identity", including the absolute and clear rule that victims of alleged rape have anonymity, but also looking at violence against women and girls within a UK context and a broader context, so there's understanding of what the genuine issues are, and some myth-busting, so that what you have is you have journalists that are themselves empowered because actually what they have is accurate information. For us, there's also something around sanctions for journalists who break the law, and at the moment it's almost as if free press feels as if it somehow grants some degree of immunity. We want accountability. We want a free press, but we want an accountable press. We also want to see editors be more willing to remove editorial material which blames victims. Victim-blaming is very different from providing a critical perspective around violence against women and girls, and we need to make that really clear. So looking at the circumstances, looking at the wider issues is not the same as having a tone which suggests "she called this down on herself". We also really urgently need some kind of public discussion about the way and I think actually what I'll do is leave that to Anna, because that's a bit more around the pornography side of things, but our members have also stated that they want to see a regulatory system which has teeth. At the moment we're concerned that the current system doesn't have adequate doesn't provide an adequate framework for seeking redress. We also know that very often women who have been wronged do not feel able to take on carrying out a complaint. If we have a mechanism that would allow groups to take up complaints and to support individual women in taking out complaints, then we believe that that would be useful LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Or you could do it by having the ability for a group to make the complaint MS LARASI Absolutely. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON rather than the individual victim. MS LARASI Yes. So if I can contact the Advertising Standards Agency if I drive past something and I think that the image isn't appropriate, and I've done that, I want to be able to comment, as an individual member of the public or as an organisation, on something that I actually think is inappropriate in terms of press behaviour. I think that's it. MR JAY So in terms of complaining, one could have perhaps the sort of sufficient interest test, which we understand in public law, which would allow groups to complain as well. MS LARASI Yes.
Q. I think that's a point each of you wishes to make individually, but it's come from Ms Lewis. Ms Hunt, any recommendations you would wish to advance today? MS HUNT In addition to that, I think we want women's groups or equality organisations to be involved in setting the standards within a new, say, Press Complaints Commission, because we know now there are those headlines of discrimination and inaccurate reporting, and there's also a carve-out for so-called good taste or tone, and I think if you don't understand the context and you don't understand the gender equality arguments, you might be persuaded in thinking this is about tone rather than actually about the substance of discrimination, so we would like that. And in terms I wasn't quite sure what Lord Leveson was saying in terms of the group. I think we don't want just a group who's supporting an individual to be able to make that complaint. We would like more along the lines, say, of the CEDAW optional protocol where you're making complaints, both an individual who is directly affected and either grave or systemic, a pattern of abuse that we can then go to the media and say, "This is systemic, this is a pattern of abuse that constantly feeds into the sexualisation" LORD JUSTICE LEVESON The idea, what I was suggesting and I think what Mr Jay has also spoken about, is anybody can complain who has a sufficient interest, so it could be the victim, it could be groups such as yours had a legitimate right to raise issues with the relevant authority, whether it's a commission, a regulator, whatever, to have them adjudicated upon, which would have the benefit not merely of providing a potential sanction, but also an encouragement to education to change the way in which issues are discussed without itself, as it were, using a big club to prevent free speech. MS HUNT Just an additional point, if I may. Sexism doesn't start in the newsrooms. It's in our society. So we're also asking and maybe this isn't appropriate for this forum the government to really take a lead on education campaigns both in schools and generally in the public about stopping discrimination and promoting sex equality. MR JAY Ms van Heeswijk. MS VAN HEESWIJK So essentially our summary of recommendations would be, one, the regulation of printed material should be consistent with the regulation of other forms of media, so essentially that would mean that material that would not pass the test for pre-watershed television should not be allowed to be printed within unrestricted newspapers. Secondly, that any form of regulation or printed materials should be guided by equality legislation that already exists, so in this case I'm referring to the Sex Discrimination Act, the Equality Act and making the point that any messages and images which would not be considered suitable for the workplace under those pieces of legislation again should not be printed and readily accessible within unrestricted newspapers. I would reiterate the point about groups being able to make complaints on the basis of how groups are persistently stereotyped and misrepresented. Then just additionally the issue of gender equality being the sort of baseline of any form of regulating this type of material, so that it is considered in relation to the impact that it has on women, the impact that it has on shaping the attitudes of children and young people about women, about young girls, rather than in relation to more subjective notions of obscenity, for example. My key point would be that this really we're not proposing any form of radical any radical overhaul of media regulation; we're just calling for consistency, essentially, of how other areas of the media are regulated to be and for the print media to be brought in line it that.
Q. Thank you. Ms Harvey? MS HARVEY I think my colleagues can Ms Larasi has covered most of what I want to say. For us it's about improved guidance in training, it's about representation and input and expertise from a wider and more independent group. We would definitely like quick and affordable access to remedies. We would like a proactive power to whatever this new body would be to undertake research or investigations when they themselves identify or receive lots of complaints around patterns or trends or clusters of issue. We would like some form of stronger sanction. But really it's the main thing again would be this point about having some means of bringing a complaint as a member of a group or a community, because I think that's the only way you can bring in line the possibility of some of the perhaps less tangible but nonetheless real harms that could arise in a system that is persists as being unequal and discriminatory.
Q. Thank you. Finally may I deal with a discrete issue which comes out of our yellow file. Tab 11. It bears really on our third module. This is Ms Van Heeswijk's evidence in relation to what the Sun were doing. I'm not sure about the date. Could you help us? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I think it's 2004. MS VAN HEESWIJK Yes. MR JAY This is an attempt to ban Page 3 and then use pressure to try and thwart there. Could you talk us through this one, please? MS VAN HEESWIJK Of course. I guess firstly I would say that it's a shame that the editors of these newspapers were not questioned on these issues when they were in front of you, but I think it is very crucial that this issue is re-addressed in module 3, and this is one of the reasons why, because essentially these newspapers credit created a culture of fear which silences groups, politicians, anybody much from speaking out against their persistent portrayal of women as sex objects against Page 3, and one of the ways that they most sort of famously did that is through the real vilification and targeting of Clare Short, who instigated a campaign against Page 3 in the 1980s. What we see a an example from the Sun newspaper that actually perhaps the second example, which is 11B is more illustrative, because it is a photograph of the page within the Sun. What we have here is Clare Short's face was superimposed onto a Page 3 model and the headline is: "Fat, jealous Clare brands Page 3 porn." They likened Clare Short to the "back of a bus" and they told jokes about that well, jokes in inverted commas, that making her into a Page 3 girl would be a "mission impossible". Clearly, the sort of the if it wasn't the purpose, the effect has been to essentially close down free speech in relation to groups and individuals feeling free to speak out and make a critique against these newspapers. As my colleague spoke about the often abusive comments that bloggers receive when they speak about issues relating to women's equality, which is clearly part of this wider culture that needs challenging, and these individual bloggers, here we're speaking about a national newspaper making similar comments about a politician, a democratically elected politician who took this campaign on because of the concerns of her constituents. I think this is very, very concerning, alarming. It's something that continues, so Harriet Harman, for example, has been vilified for the position that she has taken on Page 3, and then more recently Dr Even Harris, who actually put forward a motion at the Liberal Democrat conference, which was accepted, which essentially is supportive of the recommendations within this submission, again was deemed villain of the week within the Sun. So this is clearly a sort of bullying tactic and I think considering the fact that the editors themselves were not questioned on these issues, I think it's really essential that politicians have an opportunity to speak about the experiences that they've had when they have spoken up against the Page 3 phenomenon. MR JAY Thank you very much. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON There's a limit to what the context of this Inquiry can achieve, but listening to your arguments as they've developed and with the graphic illustrations that you've provided, the start would certainly be, it seems to me from what you say, to permit bodies such as yours to be able to take up issues of press standards with whomsoever is responsible for regulating it. Would that be fair? MS LARASI It would be a good start. MS VAN HEESWIJK It would certainly be a start. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON The point being I appreciate you have all sorts of other anxieties and I understand them, but I'm sure you understand also the length and the breadth of what I can do within the context of this Inquiry. I agree that there are elements that come into module 3 here, but how much further one can go without raising all sorts of other issues which could take me another year to think about is not entirely straightforward. So I'm not discouraging you, but I'm merely asking whether I've understood the absolute priorities. I understand you have a whole range of priorities. MS VAN HEESWIJK I guess one issue would be is that this type of policy and regulation is completely it's sort of universally accepted and receives widespread support in relation to broadcast media, and therefore we would not see it as a real sort of drastic ask or proposal or recommendation to recommend that this already generally accepted policy would then be applied to print-based media. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. I understand the point. You'll appreciate that that absolutely is changing the law. There's no question of trying to find a soft way of doing this. That's rock-solid legislation. MS VAN HEESWIJK Which is why, I guess, it should be posed to the politicians. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, all right. MS VAN HEESWIJK Only because the other part of it, of course, is that the politicians are under international obligations, as my colleague has pointed out, to tackle the portrayal of women in this way, and therefore, if this is one of their obligations, their international obligations, legal obligations, it should be something that they are questioned about in relation to the media. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I think that's very interesting and I'm sure that we have noted that for when we get to the next stage, and if anything arises that you want to suggest should be put to the witnesses who are coming, then I have no doubt you know how to get in touch with us and to suggest it. MS VAN HEESWIJK We do. Thank you very much. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you very much indeed for coming, and I repeat my thanks for the effort that you put into these submissions. We'll say 2.05 pm. (1.05 pm)


Gave a statement at the hearing on 24 January 2012 (AM) ; and submitted 1 pieces of evidence
Gave a statement at the hearing on 24 January 2012 (AM) ; and submitted 1 pieces of evidence
Gave a statement at the hearing on 24 January 2012 (AM) ; and submitted 1 pieces of evidence
Gave statements at the hearings on 06 September 2011 (AM) and 24 January 2012 (AM) ; and submitted 1 pieces of evidence
Gave a statement at the hearing on 24 January 2012 (AM) ; and submitted 1 pieces of evidence
Gave a statement at the hearing on 24 January 2012 (AM) ; and submitted 1 pieces of evidence


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