Hacking inquiry team named

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The Independent Online

David Cameron today named the panel of independent experts who will help Lord Justice Leveson examine media practices in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.

They include Shami Chakrabarti, the director of human rights group Liberty, who said: "It was a daunting privilege to be invited to join Lord Justice Leveson's panel for such an important public inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005.

"My acceptance is a vote of confidence in the vital role of independent judicial process in times of national difficulty.

"It comes from an optimism in the ability of a great democracy to look itself in the mirror in the spirit of re-building public trust.

"It reflects Liberty's belief in an appropriate balance between personal privacy and media freedom and above all in the Rule of Law."

Other panel members are former Daily Telegraph and Press Association journalist George Jones; former political editor for Channel 4 News Elinor Goodman; former chairman of the Financial Times Sir David Bell; Lord David Currie, former chairman of Ofcom; and former chief constable of West Midlands police Sir Paul Scott-Lee.

The inquiry will look at the phone hacking scandal specifically but also at broader issues involving politics, the media and the police.

It is expected to report within 12 months.

When he was appointed, Lord Justice Leveson said: "The press provides an essential check on all aspects of public life. That is why any failure within the media affects all of us.

"At the heart of this inquiry, therefore, may be one simple question: who guards the guardians?"

Ms Chakrabati has become a regular face on television since her appointment as director of Liberty in 2003.

She trained as a barrister before working as a lawyer in the Home Office from 1996 until 2001.

Ms Goodman now works as freelance journalist after 20 years as political editor of Channel Four News.

She also serves on the Commission on Rural Communities which acts as an independent adviser to the Government on rural issues.

Sir David was chairman of the Financial Times from 1996 until his retirement at the end of 2009 and also served on the board of Pearson plc for 13 years.

Educated at Cambridge University and the University of Pennsylvania, he is also chairman of the Media Standards Trust.

Crossbencher Lord Currie stepped down as head of communications regulator Ofcom in 2009.

Before that he worked as an economics professor, government adviser and a non-executive director of the Abbey National.

Sir Paul Scott-Lee joined the police in his home town of Coventry after leaving school and rose through the ranks to become chief constable.

He also spent time on the forces in Northamptonshire, Kent and Suffolk.

Mr Jones served as political editor of the Daily Telegraph before joining the Press Association as a special correspondent.

He retired in 2010 having reported on 11 general elections and eight prime ministers since 1969.