Hacked Off: The lobby group that appeared from nowhere - and assumed the moral high ground

 

The Hacked Off campaigners are not shy about proclaiming what they have achieved, and what work they still see ahead of them. In an almost evangelical tone, they claim that their high-profile lobbying helped force David Cameron into setting up the Leveson Inquiry, and that victims of press abuse were able to tell their story with Hacked Off’s help.

Founded by Professor Brian Cathcart, head of journalism at Kingston University and a former deputy editor of The Independent on Sunday, and Martin Moore of the Media Standards Trust, the think tank which says it helps to foster high media standards “on behalf of the public”, Hacked Off has morphed into the organisation Downing Street fears it cannot ignore as it attempts to step quietly backwards into the long grass of press regulation.

The pressure group was initially backed by actor Hugh Grant, who last week gave it all of the substantial damages he received from the News International. Other funding came from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and a series of anonymous donors. Although that anonymity somewhat weakens its democratic credentials, Hacked Off don’t see its quest that way. A better press for the group is an accountable, answerable press.

Its strategy is a hybrid attack on leaving things as they are, and claiming that the Leveson report is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the British media”. This has led to Hacked Off demonstrating outside No 10 – and finding itself being consulted inside.

Having gathered an 180,000-signature petition demanding a new press watchdog with sharpened legal teeth, delivered by the victims of Fleet Street’s worst excesses, the group believes it has the right to shout over the post-Leveson silence from No 10. Pressure brought by Hacked Off certainly helped to push the Prime Minister into a corner. Fleet Street’s ability to locate a long-lost contritional reflex was also pushed along by their self-proclaimed “Campaign for a Free and Accountable Press”. 

Well-funded and dogged, Hacked Off regards itself as the voice of the past, present and potentially future victims of press abuse. Victims such as Kate and Gerry McCann, Christopher Jeffries and the parents of Milly Dowler are living reminders of past errors and the need for a future underpinned by regulation.

Most of all, Hacked Off trusts no one – least of all Mr Cameron and newspapers owners – to deliver the recommendations contained in the Leveson report.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003