Aggrieved journalists 'could use inquiry to get revenge'
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Wednesday 16 November 2011
Journalists should not be allowed to give evidence anonymously to Lord Leveson, the publisher of the Daily Mail is arguing.
Jonathan Caplan QC, the counsel for Associated Newspapers at the Leveson judicial inquiry into media practice and ethics, yesterday expressed his "profound concern" that some journalists wanting to give testimony anonymously may be motivated by dissatisfaction with their employers.
His concerns are thought to centre on aggrieved journalists who have fallen out of favour with their employers, using the inquiry to get even; or attacks on rival publications that are commercially motivated.
Although Lord Leveson and the inquiry's counsel, Robert Jay QC, have been working on a draft protocol for how anonymous evidence might be heard – the argument in favour is that journalists could speak freely without fear of retribution from their employer – Mr Caplan said that if anyone had important evidence, it should be given as openly as possible so it could "be tested against the substantial body of evidence that the inquiry is receiving".
Associated is understood not to be alone in having concerns about anonymous evidence. But Mr Caplan's challenge to Lord Leveson on the issue is the first public dissent.
Mr Caplan added that his client had nothing to hide and welcomed complete transparency.
The hearing was told that Associated journalists had not indulged in phone hacking but had used the services of Steve Whittamore, the private investigator who was at the heart of an investigation by the Government's privacy watchdog into illegal newsgathering. But Mr Caplan said there was no evidence that Associated titles had asked Mr Whittamore to do anything illegal.
The Daily Mail has been named as the largest single user of Mr Whittamore.
Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
People are American flagging their Facebook profile pictures in response to those rainbow flagging them
Ginger Pride festival to take place next summer, organisers say 'time of bullying gingers is over'
Historic meeting between Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox head 'getting closer'
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Russian officials ban yoga because it's too much like a religious cult
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Ginger Pride festival to take place next summer, organisers say 'time of bullying gingers is over'