10 January 2012

Leveson Inquiry: Hearings - Day 23


"I want this inquiry to mean something", not end up as "footnote in some professor of journalism's analysis of 21 century history." LJ Leveson in reply to A Rusbridger's submission to Inquiry.

Lord Justice Leveson

From Guardian:
Here's a quick reminder of the four modules within this first year of the inquiry.
Module 1: The relationship between the press and the public and looks at phone-hacking and other potentially illegal behaviour
Module 2: The relationships between the press and police and the extent to which that has operated in the public interest
Module 3: The relationship between press and politicians
Module 4: Recommendations for a more effective policy and regulation that supports the integrity and freedom of the press while encouraging the highest ethical standards.

Witness list for this week (9th - 12th January) to be found HERE
Video Recordings of each day's proceedings HERE
Live Feed From Leveson Inquiry Site HERE
BBC Democracy Live Feed HERE 

Leveson Inquiry From Hackinginquiry - Hacked Off
Guardian Live Blog 


Links gathered throughout the day:
Guardian Live Blog, 4.44 p.m. - A 52-year-old former Metropolitan police officer has been arrested by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) on suspicion of misconduct in public office.The man was arrested at his home in Berkshire on Tuesday morning as part of the Met police investigation into leaks to the press, dubbed Operation Elveden.
The IPCC said in a statement:
A 52-year-old man, a former Metropolitan Police Service officer, was arrested by the IPCC at his home in Berkshire this morning (10 January) on suspicion of misconduct in public office and Data Protection Act offences.
The arrest is the result of information passed to the IPCC by the Metropolitan Police Service team investigating Operation Elveden and relates to the alleged passing of unauthorised information to a journalist.
The man is currently in the custody of IPCC investigators at a Thames Valley police station.
      Tuesday 10th January:

      Appearing in person:
      Lionel Barber (FT
      Chris Blackhurst (Independent)
      Tony Gallagher (Telegraph)
      William Lewis (formerly Telegraph)
      Murdoch MacLennan (Telegraph)
      Manish Malhotra (Independent)
      Andrew Mullins (Independent)
      Finbarr Ronayne (Telegraph)

      Witnesses whose evidence statements will be read:

      Tim Bratton (FT)
      Benedict Brogan (Telegraph) Witness Statement
      Adam Cannon (Telegraph) Witness Statement
      Alison Fortescue (FT)
      Stefano Hatfield (Independent)
      Louise Hayman (Independent)
      Arthur Wynn-Davies (Formerly Telegraph) Witness Statement
      Ian MacGregor (Sunday Telegraph) Witness Statement

      Lionel Barber
      Lionel Barber

      Lionel Barber page in Guardian
      His Hugh Cudlipp Lecture - 2010, Full Text

      "I'd rather be right than first.'

      Full Witness Statement

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Lionel Barber
      Lionel Barber is editor of the Financial Times, a paper he joined more than 20 years ago. He replaced Andrew Gowers as editor in 2005. Barber took on the rest of Fleet Street in January, using his Hugh Cudlipp lecture in January 2011 to accuse other papers of a "conspiracy of silence" over the phone-hacking issue, "almost certainly because they too were involved in similar practices". He warned editors they risked political "retribution" in the form of statutory regulation if they did not reform. The FT was one of the few UK newspapers to cover the phone-hacking affair in any depth before July last year. Barber began his career at the Scotsman and the Sunday Times, and has reported from New York, Washington and Brussels.
      Barber: 'We Need to Change the Way we Do Business' - Press Gazette
      The Janet Cook/Pulitzer prize case Barber spoke about in his interview - PBS Newshour

      Ross Hawkins
      Barber at : current PCC code needs to be enforced before it's amended, wasn't enforced in hacking case

      Ben Fenton
      wants FT to be gold standard in journalism so need to upold highest practices. People who affect reputation face dismissal

      Ben Fenton
      No story from a single source is going to get into FT pages or online however good it seems. Even if PM off record, still check it

      T Portilho-Shrimpton
      Barber: I know of no instance of phone hacking or so-called blagging for information at the FT

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Barber says the FT reviewed its safeguards in the wake of the 2003 Jayson Blair scandal at the New York Times, which he describes as "one of the best news organisations in the world". A NYT reporter was found to have has fabricated and plagiarised dozens of stories, leading to the resignation of the newspaper's top two editors."We took the view that if such a thing could happen at the New York Times we needed to review our processes," he says. "I worked for 10 years in the US. I was shocked that it could happen."

      Ross Hawkins
      Barber at : counsel quotes FT code, phrases "sources said" means nothing and is banned form paper

      Ben Fenton
      Negative anonymous sourcing is problematic when writing about companies, tells Does happen but need to keep eye on it.

      Barber: would be huge mistake for inquiry to focus solely on press. Need to think about news in general, general ecosystem

      Ben Fenton
      says hasn't come up with answer on how some papers are threatened commercially by websites, especially overseas-based

      T Portilho-Shrimpton
      Barber: for those who do their journalism in the internet, bloggers, they believe they can publish anything

      Ben Fenton
      Distinction between "craft of journalism" and blogging is what makes it different. Sourcing, revising subbing etc, tells

      Chris Blackhurst
      Chris Blackhurst

      Chris Blackhurst's Career in Profile - Guardian 

      Witness Statement in full

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Blackhurst returned to the Independent as editor in July 2011, taking over from Simon Kelner at the paper where he was previously deputy editor. Blackhurst trained as a lawyer at Cambridge but entered journalism, starting out at a legal magazine but then rising rapidly, becoming City editor at the Sunday Express in 1990 at the age of 30. His career has included stints as deputy editor at the Daily Express and Sunday Express and the Independent and its Sunday sister title. He edited the London Evening Standard's well-respected City pages between 2002 and 2011, before taking over the helm at the Lebedev-owned sister paper, the Independent. Along with the FT, the Independent was the only national to pursue the Guardian's phone-hacking revelations with any vigour before July 2011 and Blackhurst has continued in that vein.

      T Portilho-Shrimpton
      Blackhurst: fortunately we don't have daily corrections and clarifications. I'd say once a week, twice a week
      From Guardian Live Blog:
      On sourcing and attribution, Blackhurst says that he doesn't like phrases like "sources said" and prefers to be as specific about the provenance as possible.He says he will generally try to avoid using anonymous sources and attempt to get quotes on the record.
      Blackhurst says that if the Independent had more resources a readers' editor would be a "nice thing to have" but that he has not felt the need for one during his career. He says he will personally read emails from readers before passing them to his managing editor.

      Jeremy Duns
      Chris Blackhurst tells The Independent 'generally tries to avoid using "sources said"'. Really? - Link Here

      On the Johann Hari affair: (from Guardian Live Blog)
      Blackhurst is tacitly asked whether there was a cover-up by others at the Independent to protect Hari when the allegations were made public.
      I'm surprised you say there was cover-up in the sense there were inclings before because that is genuinely news to me. One of the problems … was that no one had ever complained … Nobody had alerted us to the fact he had drawn his information from somewhere else. If there was we might have nipped it in the bud but in fact it continued.
      Blackhurst says one of his first acts as editor was to ask Andreas Whittam Smith to investigation the allegations of plagiarism.
      He says he had "no knowledge" about the alterations on Wikipedia at this time.

      Rosamund Urwin
      Chris Blackhurst: "there's a whole Twitter community who probably can't wait for him [Johann Hari] to start writing again"

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Blackhurst is coming to the end of his evidence. His final marks are a warning shot to the inquiry.

      It's a matter of regret that the PCC has been found to be wanting. We all recognise the need for reform. My biggest worry is that the sort of journalism we do … and some of the newspapers have been traduced – they do some fantastic work.
      I'm very worried that as the outcome of this inquiry the ability of our industry to investigate will be curtailed.
      Leveson is careful to say that the challenge is to separate what is good about the industry from "practices which are not entirely laudable". He says is keen that the inquiry will not "impact adversely on appropriate" journalism.
      Blackhurst mentions an "unwritten code" between newspapers to not criticise each other. Leveson says "… and that's the problem".

      Tony Gallagher
      Tony Gallagher

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Tony Gallagher joined the Daily Telegraph as head of news in 2006, after six years as the Daily Mail's news editor. He became Telegraph deputy editor the following year and editor in November 2009. Gallagher was a senior member of the team that oversaw the Telegraph's MPs' expenses coverage, which dominated the news agenda with a string of exclusives in the summer of 2009 and earned the paper a hatful of prizes at the British Press Awards including paper of the year. However, the Telegraph suffered the embarrassment of being beaten to its own story by the BBC in late 2010 with Vince Cable's remarks about Rupert Murdoch, which were taped by undercover reporters from the paper.

      Ben Fenton
      on Cable PCC ruling.He published all of it because he thought it was in public interest to do so.

      Ben Fenton
      says they may have a corrections page in due course. Not so keen on a readers' editor. That is me.

      Ross Hawkins
      Gallagher at : with team lunch or dinner with 3/4 of cabinet in past 18 months
      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Gallagher is asked about his relationship with politicians. He says he saw the prime minister three times last year, twice for dinner. He met George Osborne and Ed Miliband a similar number of times, he says.Gallagher says he knows that the only reason politicians want dinner with him is because he is editor of the Telegraph.
      Does this give Gallagher influence?
      "No, is the short answer," he replies.

      Ross Hawkins
      Gallagher at : Tim Montgomerie (() has unhealthy obsession of all matters to do with Telegraph

      Kevin Bakhurst
      inquiry asks Telegraph Editor about consistent attacks on individuals by the Mandrake diary (in this case Tim Montgomerie)....

      William Lewis
      Will Lewis

      William Lewis page from Guardian 

      Full Witness Statement

      Profile from Guardian:
      Lewis is an executive member of News Corporation's management and standards committee, the independent body set up to last year deal with the fallout from the phone-hacking saga. He was seconded to the role following his brief tenure as general manager of News International. The inquiry will also want to hear about Lewis's five years at Telegraph Media Group before his abrupt departure in May 2010. He oversaw a period of rapid change and upheaval at the Daily Telegraph publisher, spearheading the integration of print and web operations with a move to a multimedia newsroom in Victoria. Lewis was promoted to Daily Telegraph editor in 2006 and TMG editor-in-chief the following year. He was named journalist of the year at the British Press Awards in 2009, after the paper's exclusive coverage led to the MPs' expenses scandal. A few weeks after receiving the BPA plaudits in 2010 he was out of the door, after a disagreement about the direction of Telegraph Media Group's digital future.

      Hacked off
      In 2010 Will Lewis was appointed general manager of all four of News International's newspapers

      Ben Fenton
      evidence is to be about Telegraph time, but says he and other MSC members may be called in the future.

      Jonathan Haynes
      Will Lewis up a , but talking about Telegraph, not NI, due to police investigation overlap
      Lewis confirms that a sum "in the order of" £150,000 was paid to the intermediary of the MPs' expenses data.
      Guardian Live Blog:
      Lewis says that he was convinced the MPs' expenses story was "a hoax" at first – a fear that dogged him until the MPs themselves confirmed the allegations."My first concern was it being a hoax," he tells Leveson. "I was also aware that this story was laced with risk all round, as the best and most important journalism tends to be."
      He says he was also worried about the reaction of readers.
      Lewis adds that even from the earliest stages he was aware of the public interest of the MPs' expenses material being published. He took legal advice before negotiating with the intermediary and established that the data had been copied, not stolen.
        Lewis is being asked about the Telegraph's controversial Vince Cable sting, which was after his time as editor.He is being asked about Cable's remarks on Rupert Murdoch and how they were eventually published by the BBC's Robert Peston. The Telegraph conducted an internal investigation which found a "strong suspicion" that Lewis and someone else orchestrated that leak to Peston.
      Jay asks: "Did you leak the story to Robert Peston?"
      Lewis says: "I can't assist you with that. The core to journalstic practice is the protection of sources … and any answer to that story would endanger that principle."
      Jay presses the matter of the Cable leak – in spite of an evacuation notice interrupting proceedings.Lewis replies: "I think it's clause 14 of the PCC code which is as much about protecting my own sources … I don't mean to frustrate … but in this instance I've probably gone as far as I can and should."

      Murdoch MacLennan
      Murdoch MacLennan

      Murdoch MacLennan profile from Guardian 

      Witness Statement in full

      Ben Fenton
      Present chairman is a v private individual(Aidan Barclay)v interested in business but leaves editorial entirely in hands of editor.

      Dan Sabbagh
      Jay "do owners [the Barclay family] have influence over what goes on into newspaper". Murdoch: "None at all".

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Robert Jay, counsel to the inquiry, asks MacLennan why the Telegraph group continues to make a profit in spite of the wider economic plight of newspapers."The Telegraph when we took over was making a profit," says MacLennan. "It has the most loyal readership of any of the newspapers I have ever worked on. It's a tight ship … we have more journalists on the team now than when we took over – and, I like to think, the most talented journalists in the country.
      "It's also one of the most modern newspaper and multimedia organisations on the planet – that's a process we've undergone over the last seven years."
      MacLennan says the Barclay brothers, the ultimate owners of Telegraph Media Group, have no influence over what goes in the paper.

      rachel younger
      Telegraph Groups Murdoch Maclennan tells phone hacking is just non existent at Telegraph, wouldnt even come into discussion

      Roy Greenslade
      MacLennan : black cloud hanging over industry due to hacking, which would never be contemplated at Telegraph

      Ben Fenton
      We have never been involved or engaged in anything of that type. Our journalists live by the PCC code [maclennan emphasises "live"]

      Ben Fenton
      On MPs exes decision to publish was editor's but I was involved in background. was on holiday when £10K spent on sample disk

      Ross Hawkins
      MacLennan at : Telegraph checked back to 2005 so they could come to inquiry and say they were clear

      Roy Greenslade
      MacLennan : Jay asks about him meeting Richard Desmond to agree a non-mud-slinging deal. Desmond said there was, but there wasn't

      Ben Fenton
      Demands by Desmond that Mail stop publishing attacks on him were "laughed out of court" by Dacre, tells

      Roy Greenslade
      MacLennan : Telegraph's PCC censure over Vince Cable was on 'technicality' - subterfuge used in fishing expedition

      Ross Hawkins
      MacLennan at : says you cd make similar subterfuge arguments about their exam board scoop but no complaints were made

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Lord Justice Leveson is asking MacLennan about the Desmond 'pact'."There seems to be an understanding that titles will not have a go at each other," Leveson says.
      MacLennan disagrees and says there "are far too many stories by the press on the press, almost to an obsession". He claims again that readers are not interested in media-on-media stories.
      Responding to Leveson's suggestion that phone hacking claims weren't widely reported as they might have been with any other pillar of society, MacLennan says: "It's become quite onerous in many ways. In terms of reporting on wrongdoing in our industry, that would be done without fear or favour."
      MacLennan says the Guardian "provided a very good service to the industry" with the phone-hacking story. The Telegraph, he says, was "astonished" to learn the scale of wrongdoing. But he reiterates that the phone-hacking scandal is a bad example.
      MacLennan moves on to talk about the PCC, saying that the body didn't handle phone hacking well because "they weren't presented with the full facts".He advocates "powers of investigation" for a new PCC body, as well as a way of imposing sanctions and fines.
      He urges Leveson to think also about the "major digital companies" who are "repurposing" news.
      MacLennan also suggests that Daily Express owner Richard Desmond wants to rejoin the PCC, something we'll presumably hear more about this week as the man himself appears before the inquiry.
      Murdoch's MacLennan's witness statement also suggests that the group paid a total of £110,000 for the MPs' expenses data.It says:
      ...Of course, from time to time an editor might want to discuss certain stories, particularly if they involve a significant ethical issue, and if they do I operate an open door policy. An example of this is practice relates to the Telegraph's exposure of the scandal of MPs' expenses in May 2009. I had been away on holiday when the initial offer of the disc containing the expenses information had been received, and as such I had not been involved with the decision to pay £10,000 to secure the exclusive rights to the disc for the initial 10-day review period. I was first advised of the transaction by my finance director, Finbarr Ronayne, on the evening of Friday 1 May during a telephone conversation update on weekly trading and business issues. However, on my return from holiday the then editor-in-chief, Will Lewis, did approach me to discuss the purchase of the disc during the 10-day review period, and the story he was proposing to run. This was in part because the financial commitment required to trigger the option to purchase the disc for £100,000 could only be authorised by me or the finance director.
      Andrew Mullins
      Andrew Mullins

      Profile in Mediaweek

      Mullins is managing director of Independent Print Ltd, owned by Lebedev family
      Mullins is also managing director of Evening Standard Ltd, and formerly a senior executive at News International.

      Witness Statement in full

      Ross Hawkins
      Mullins at : at Independent we have few PCC complaints, low legal costs

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Mullins says the Independent is not considering appointing a readers' editor – "we're not looking to take on more people than we possibly can" – and adds that the Independent sister paper i has a good dialogue with readers.
      12.04pm: On sourcing and attribution at the Independent, Mullins says that the newspaper "stressed certain issues we think important which might not have been stressed as much" before columnist Johann Hari was found to have plagiarised last year.
      Carine Patry Hoskins, counsel to the inquiry, suggests she'll ask the editor Chris Blackhurst more on this later today.

      Finbarr Ronayne
      Finbarr Ronayne

      Telegraph Employs Finbarr Ronayne as Finance Director - Guardian

      Witness Statement in Full

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Ronayne says he rewrote broad policies on finance at the Telegraph when he joined in October 2008, more as a response to the broader economic climate at the time.On cash payments by journalists, Ronayne says: "The business doesn't encourage cash payments but we undertook a detailed review and we have not identified any cash [paid by journalists going back to 2008]."
      He adds that the Telegraph's strict rules over cash payments doesn't appear to have dissuaded anonymous whistleblowers contributing to the paper.

      Manish Malhotra

      Manish Malhotra

      Finance director and company secretary of Independent Print Ltd and Evening Standard Ltd.

      Witness Statement in full

      Malhotra: editorial and commercial separation is like that of church and state

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Malhotra says he was involved in setting up the group's new code of conduct, along with the legal team, in September 2011.
      He says the Independent guidelines are a "wider document" than the PCC code because they include policies on hospitality and mention the commercial side of the business.
      12.12pm: Malhotra is being asked about financial governance of the Independent.
      He says it is important to have this governance in place in a way that will sure editorial independence for the paper.
      Asked about the potential for illicit payments to police officers, Malhotra says: "Clearly there is a risk that those payments might be paid … but we have a system that makes sure that payments made are proper. We don't have any cash in the system so there's no way for … journalists to make those payments."
      He adds that the company has rigorous safeguards that would uncover any unlawful payments. "I'm confident the controls we have in place would pick up these kind of payments," he says.