Obituary: Iain Walker

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The Independent Online
ONE of Iain Walker's most substantial pieces of writing, and perhaps the one which will have the most lasting impact, will be published posthumously: a monograph entitied The Ex-Parte Injunction: a cause for concern, which he wrote on a Visiting Fellowship at Oxford last autumn, writes Neville Mawell (further to the obituary by Alan Cochrane, 2 July). It will be available next month from the Journalists' Fellowship Programme, Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford OX1 3LA.

'My aim,' writes Iain, 'is a large one: to challenge current practice in one section of the law, which may be symbolic of how the rights of the press - and therefore, I would argue, of the general public - are being eroded.' His interest in it arose from his experience of injunctions issued against the Mail on Sunday to prevent publication of the series of reports which won him his 'Campaigning Journalist Award'. He noted that his paper received on average 10 ex parte injunctions a week, and that few were challenged: 'the result,' he said, is 'that an area of press restraint is being established, almost by default'. The monograph, written with Iain's usual verve but with meticulous accuracy and documentation, is one which all those concerned with press freedom in this country will need to read.

While completion of his injunction study was his prime purpose in seeking membership of the Journalists' Fellowship Programme at Oxford, he also welcomed the access to, and made the most of, all aspects of the university experience. From the programme's point of view, he was the ideal colleague. Every intake needs at least one British journalist; to act as guide and mentor on matters British, from pubs to politics, to the Journalist Fellows from abroad; and they need a more senior and experienced journalist (most are in their early thirties) as a sounding-board for their own aims and ideas. Iain combined both roles superbly. Gregarious, kindly, supportive - but ready with a friendly put-down when that was beneficial - he added immensely to the esprit and confidence of his journalist colleagues, and they share the bitter sense of loss with his other friends.