Hacked Off: Campaign for a Public Inquiry into Phone Hacking

Media Standards Trust


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Hacked Off – a campaign for a full public inquiry into phone hacking – launches on Wednesday 6th July.

The petition is now live at www.hackinginquiry.org. Lord Fowler, Lord Cunningham, Chris Bryant MP, Mark Lewis, Adrian Sanders MP, Professor Brian Cathcart, and Martin Moore will officially launch the campaign at the House of Lords on Wednesday evening.

The Dowlers’ lawyer, Mark Lewis; Colin Stagg’s solicitor, Jacqui Hames; Lord Prescott, Chris Bryant MP and others will be available for interview at 4pm on College Green in front of the Houses of Parliament tomorrow.

Supporters of the campaign already include: Lord Fowler, Professor Onora O’Neill, Francis Wheen, Tom Watson MP, Dr Ben Goldacre, Baroness Helena Kennedy, Sir David Bell, DD Guttenplan, Professor Roy Greenslade, Professor Ian Hargreaves, John Lloyd, Isabel Hilton, Ian Jack, John Pilger, Richard Peppiatt, Andreas Whittam Smith, Kevin Marsh and others.

The campaign is calling for a full public inquiry into phone hacking and other forms of illegal intrusion by the press. The inquiry should cover:

  1. The extent of the use of illegal information-gathering methods by the press, directly and through intermediaries;
  2. The conduct of the Metropolitan Police Service in investigating these matters, and its relations with the press;
  3. The communication between press and politicians in relation to these matters;
  4. The conduct of the Press Complaints Commission and of the Information Commissioner, and of other relevant parties such as mobile telephone companies;
  5. The lessons to be learned from these events and actions to be taken to ensure they are not repeated.

A police investigation and civil proceedings are under way, but they are narrowly focused. Even if there are prosecutions, they will concern themselves only with specific cases and individuals. Without an inquiry most of the evidence will stay secret and the wider story of illegal information-gathering and the official response to it will never be told.

Only a public inquiry with full powers to call for papers and summon witnesses can explore the full range of issues involved, establish what went wrong and identify lessons to be learned. Anything less risks leaving a lasting stain of suspicion on individuals, companies and institutions. Anything less would be widely seen, both in Britain and abroad, as a cover-up.

The campaign is being organised by the Media Standards Trust, Brian Cathcart, and with the help of other concerned individuals.


Notes to editors:

The Media Standards Trust is an independent registered charity which fosters high standards in the news media on behalf of the public and public interest. It does this through a combination of research, debate and key initiatives.

Chaired by Sir David Bell (former Chair of the Financial Times), the Trust is governed by a board of trustees Board members include: Deputy Chair Julia Middleton (CEO, Common Purpose); Sir Cyril Chantler (Chairman, King’s Fund); Sir Robert Worcester (Founder, MORI); Robert Peston (Business Editor, BBC); William Davies (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford); Roger Graef (Films of Record); Baroness Helena Kennedy QC; The Right Reverend Stephen Platten (Bishop of Wakefield); Geraint Talfan Davies (Chair, Institute of Welsh Affairs); Anthony Salz (Executive Vice Chairman, Rothschild); Sue Stapely (solicitor, Quiller Consultants/Sue Stapely Consulting); Amelia Fawcett (Chairman, Pensions First; Chair, Guardian Media Group); Albert Scardino (journalist, editor); Sir Philip Otton (retired judge); Mary-Ellen Barker (Thomson Reuters); Charles Manby (Goldman Sachs).

The MST is funded by charitable donations from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Nuffield Foundation.

For more information, please contact Martin Moore, Director of the MST, on 0207 727 5252, or martin.moore@mediastandradstrust.org.

  • Pingback: Campaign launched for public inquiry into phone hacking | The Wire | Press Gazette

  • Angelina Pratt-Whistlove

    The evidence suggests that the police have been receiving significant sums of money from newspapers (I use the plural because it’s difficult to believe that it’s only one doing this kind of hacking). This may explain the reluctance of the police to take any action on previous allegations of hacking.  Either way, are the police to be trusted in any kind of investigation into the NOTW case?  Probably not, unless a team from the Channel Islands or the Shetlands is used.

    • Anonymous

      The police do have experience of cleaning them selves up in the 70′s Met when Commissioner Robert Mark made quite a difference, there are some like him around.

      Maybe an investigation team needs to be specially appointed and overseen?

    • Anonymous

      The police do have experience of cleaning them selves up in the 70′s Met when Commissioner Robert Mark made quite a difference, there are some like him around.

      Maybe an investigation team needs to be specially appointed and overseen?

    • Kes

      love the comment.nice .wish i had such a beautiful name !lets persue this issue .

  • AlanK

    The public enquiry must be led by a High Court judge with witnesses required to attend and give evidence under oath.  Anything less will be a cover-up because the Prime Minister will not want his relationship with Andy Coulson to be exposed as a monumental error of judgement.

    The enquiry also needs to investigate how the press manage to be on the suspects doorstep when the police carry out a raid giving the polce proceedings all the characteristics of an unlawful lychmob ‘hanging’ the suspect without the benefit of a fair trial.

  • Billy

    The Metropolitan Police were not dilligent enough to investigate the
    phone-hacking allegations, how can the public believe they will be
    dilligent enough in investigating themselves? The whole idea is
    complete nonsense.

  • B White

    The public inquiry is not enough. 
    We need to force those involved to account for themselves NOW. That means James and Rupert Murdoch. Let Jeremy Paxman loose on them. We insist that our political leaders have to face the media. Why not the media themselves? The Hacked off Campaign should demand this, on behalf of all the victims. 
    If they refuse, they should be seen as, de facto, unfit to run any media in the UK. Nobody who is unprepared to publicly account for wrong-doing is fit to run a paper or TV.
    No person who is not a UK citizen, resident and taxpayer should be allowed to own any part of the UK media.

  • Scarlett

    Am I the only one who thinks that management “should” have known – and if they didn’t they were negligent?  If they did, they were criminal.  Either way they should face trial!  More than that, I believe that all income relating to the NOTW from the time of the hacking through to it’s demise this weekend should be forfeit with interest!  Furthermore, any of the sister papers that used anything from the hacking whether as primary or secondary reporting should also forfeit any profits that can be attributed to those articles.  Finally, given that the Group has evidenced criminal activity – why doesn’t the government suspend all broadcast and publication licences until such time as the investigations are over – bankrupt the corporation if necessary.  Why should criminals profit from their activities?  It is time management accepted accountability – it is too easy to say “I didn’t know”.  I’ve seen companies where executives tell their staff “don’t tell me anything then I can deny it if it gets to court, better to lose a branch than the tree trunk”. 

    • Brangane

      You are right that management should have known.  I believe they MUST have known but conspired to keep the lid on it.  “It’ll be OK so long as we don’t get caught” must have been their attitude and this includes Government and Police.  Now they are caught red-handed.  Apologies, regrets, resignations do not meet the need here. Criminal prosecutions and a full overhaul of the relationships, processes and future conduct of all parties is essential.

  • Jules

    One element of Newscorp’s activities that no-one seems to be looking into is the extremely “favourable”property purchase deals Murdoch was able lever out of government departments. A good example of this would be his purchase of the 43acre Convoys Wharf site in Deptford SE London from the M.O.D. No tender process,no auction,and certainly no valuer involved. Purchase price, a few hundred thousand !!
    After failing to smother it in skyscrapers thanks mainly to local campaigners and Ken Livingstone”s refusal to give assent he lost patience and sold to his mate Li Ka Ching for over £200 million and a profit share on any residential units built on the site. He has paid no tax in this country and blighted the use of valuable employment land.

  • Howard

    It struck me that if, in the USA,  I behaved as R. Murdoch is reported to be behaving here (non-cooperation with a parliamentary committee; undermining police investigations) I would be deported from that country.  Why do we tolerate this man and his son?  It is clear that their presence is not in the public interest.  The pair should be deported forthwith.  Professor Howard Fee

    • Murdoch Ruined My Life

      Howard – I agree. Dirt coems out in the wash. I always knew his day would come. He has harmed us gravely and must be held accountable for his bad faith/actions that have for so long – over the decades – completely disregarded our wellbeing.

  • Howard

    In addition to the judicial inquiry being advocated by Hacked Off, we need a separate judicial inquiry into the Honours System.  There is little public confidence in this, particularly in the context of the higher honours and distinctions made to press barons, media types, business people, bankers, politicians, civil servants and the police.  

  • Howard

    In addition to the judicial inquiry being advocated by Hacked Off, we need a separate judicial inquiry into the Honours System.  There is little public confidence in this, particularly in the context of the higher honours and distinctions made to press barons, media types, business people, bankers, politicians, civil servants and the police.  

  • Jack Boydle

    The hacking saga is not
    the only example of collusion between press and politicians: why has
    the press not told the public that the primary objective of David
    Cameron’s proposals for reorganising the NHS is to put tax payers
    money into share holders pockets?

  • Ian

    All victims of his illegal activities should sue him and his company for every penny he has, the government should remove his licence to broadcast and then with luck he will sell Sky to someone with a bit of integrity and higher morals.  And Christmas really will come early if the whole stinking lot end up in jail where they belong.  Otherwise we should tweet and boycott ever company which advertises in his newspapers and on Sky until he crawls back into the sewer he came from.

    • Murdoch Ruined My LIfe

      Hi Ian. I’m glad you raised this issue. It is so relevant to those of who have been irreparably harmed by him. Lets do it. 

  • Bill

    Listening this morning to Nick Clegg and the Hacked Off interviewer, I think the one thing missing, is expanding the side comments regarding the transparency requirements.
    This should also include any and all contacts with business and lobbying groups, so we don’t end up with yet another crisis in the furture regarding the ‘contacts’ of political parties and their big business counterparts.

  • Jane

    It’s no accident that Rupert Murdoch created Wapping as an anti-trade union enclave, and that now after decades of unrestricted bad behaviour, hacking and blagging are regarded as normal. The National Union of Journalists and other media workers’ unions have codes of conduct, peer pressure and training. The union stands up for members on issues of conscience and campaigns for properly funded, well-staffed newsrooms where there is no need to take dodgy shortcuts to get stories and scoops. This gives members NUJ members a moral compass and means that readers, viewers, listeners and users get journalism they can trust.

  • Kes

    no mention ANYWHERE of the relationship of senior police ,businesses,newspapers of the secret relationships/meetings with the freemasons .all senior cops are freemasons.


    • Murdoch Ruined My Life

      Nor in other countries to include Australia and the victims there

  • Kes

    oops ,i forgot on previous comment:robert mark was senior cop in leicester before he went to` themet`.he cleared leicester of bad cops.did the same at `the met`.can we find another cop of same scrutability?

  • Kes

    is it not a sad state of affairs that the lead in all this is being lead by wallace and grommit and not by captain sensible.i don`t think we have seen such a failure in a primeminister,in such a short time,as we did in kinnock and brown.(blair escaped with his millions).this from a conservative voter who made the mistake of using his first vote for wilson !

  • Jeannunn61

    What is the secret meetings/relationship between the senior police and the Freemasons? Should this be investigated more by the media. Also, what is the relationship between judges, barristers, lawyers, medical profession etc. With the Freemasons? Could this be the reason why evidence was kept ‘in a bin bag’ undiscovered for so long?
    Many more questions need to be answered as to who is running ‘operations’

  • Murdoch Ruined My Life

    I was framed and charged with murder. A murder I didnot commit.
    Prior to the trial Rupert Murdoch printed an article in one of his papers that informed the masses that I had stabbed someone to death.
    However, there was no stabbing. No-one was ever stabbed, let-a-lone to death.
    I was sentenced to hard labour for life and to date have served nearly 40 years for this crime which was committed by someone else.
    Almost two years after I was sentenced, I was acquitted of murder and found guilty of manslaughter – I didnot want this because to me manslaughter is still killing and I didnot kill anyone either intentionally or unintentionally,
    Approximately 9.5-10 years after I was charged and long after my acquittal, Rupert Murdoch again printed an article calling me a scissor killer. This article cannot be found. I have held it in my own hands in the presence of a barrister and read it with my own eyes as the lawyer accused me of leaking the article myself.
    Several years later, following my apprehension some 18 months after an escape, I was hauled before a Crime Commission since it was on one hand [falsely] alleged that I had made claims about prison officials which I had not – those concerned made the claims in my absence during my time on the run when I was not present to either challenge and expose the claims or defend myself. I was taken before the Crime Commission upon my return to defend those officials that the claims had been made against.
    On one occasion, prior to the day’s proceedings, Murdoch released an article in the morning paper covering the days proceedings in court reporting what had happened during the day in court. The problem, however, was that the day had not even begun. Neither I nor anyone else had even stepped inside the court room. I was subject to abuse from solicitors in company of a crime commission official again accused of leaking the days events to the media, which of course was impossible.
    Rupert Murdoch has ruined my life. Cost me my family and eternally slandered me, yet I have been silenced for nearly 40 years. This is hardly fair.
    I want an apology. I want the world to know what grief Murdoch has caused me that continues to adversely affect me today.
    Murdoch you stole my life. You misled the public and you misguided a court.
    I DEMAND AND APOLOGY TO SAY THE LEAST. You have forced me into silence and I intend to speak. You will not continue to go unaccountable for those of us whom you have irreparably harmed.

  • Taralynnpoole

    Sir Paul Stephenson, whilst being grilled by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee about how he came to the conclusion that the original phone hacking investigation was sufficient, despite consistent pressure from the Guardian newspaper that it was not said, “It was not seen as a priority – it was not on the top of my desk.  What did put it at the top of my desk was learning of the hideous nature of the hacking.”

    Agreed, the nature of the hacking is harder to swallow when it is bereaved people having their phones hacked, however the implication in this statement is: “When I thought it was the phones of celebrities being hacked, it was not a priority, but when it was non-celebrities it went to the top of my desk.”

    Phone hacking is a criminal activity.  What this implies is that it is no longer criminal if it is the phone of a celebrity.  It was the Chief Commissioner that said that. 

    What hope do we have for equality and justice when the chief commissioner is prepared to admit to a select committee that such actions against celebrities do not warrant criminal sanctions, and the select committee swallow it?

    He has just admitted that the law applies differently to different types of people.


    • Brangane

      I thought that what Stephenson was really saying was that, as Commissioner, he was there to provide overall leadership, policy, standards, etc, rather than day-to-day supervision of the work of the force.  So, until it was forced to the top of his intray, it was not something he would normally be aware of.  Now that he is aware, he has discovered more and decided it is too difficult to deal with mainly because he has accepted an expensive gift (contrary to the code of conduct) and the Met have a hired a former NOTW deputy editor without properly checking his fitness for the contract he was given. The Met DPA and AC Yates disagreed on the “due diligence” supposed to have been carried out on the man they hired.  In effect, he was hired on a nod and a wink and it all backfired with a very loud bang.

  • Brangane

    What did the Parliamentary Committee hearings produce?  Precious little.  I ended feeling sorry for Rupert Murdoch (I never thought I would see that day!).  Far from being a monster, he is a frail old man, slow to react to questions, clearly bemused by what has been happening, almost no grasp of detail and more than ready for the knacker’s yard.  The Committee had the wrong person in Rupert M.  His son seems not to have been around long enought to know much about what has been going on. The Committee should now go for Rupert’s senior henchmen who ran his business day to day, who do know the detail and who have clearly failed to deliver in a professional and reputable manner. All we saw was a demonstration of how the Chairman and Chief Exec of Newscorp know almost nothing about the day-to-day goings-on in their empire.  I can see no reason why they should.

  • Alastair Morgan

    If you want to find out more about Jonathan Rees’s background and work with News of the World please follow me on Twitter or look at my webiste. I am Alastair the brother of Daniel Morgan, the private detective murdered in 1987.

  • derek p

    i did make the issue before ……….this whole mess  is being `blanked` by meetings at `lodges` of freemasons .i dont know ,it`s an assumption,but there seems to be a scattering of people in high places .i aint a lover of sir keith vaz,but give him a stronger bite and i am sure he can snare a few of these `wanking`  `exceptional` cops, cronies and friends.
    i have not bought NoW for years.looks like i will not ever !but it beggars belief that if it is rebranded `sunday sun`,or whatever,someone will buy it if owned by the same bastards !somewhere there must be a way for the staff,who are clear of criminal involvement,to buy the business.should be a good buy !if it was italy ,years ago, we could use the senior staff as wind chimes.hanging together on piano wire from lamp posts !

  • Pingback: Media law mop up: Phone hacking – what else? | Media law and ethics

  • Alastair Morgan

    I think this whole situation may have arisen because NoW has had some kind of nasty hold over the Met. I don’t think it is too far-fetched to think that this COULD have something to do with the unsolved murder of my brother Daniel Morgan in 1987. All of the evidence points to Daniel being murdered because he was going to expose very serious police corruption and that he approached NoW with this information because he did not trust the Met.

    We are calling for a full judicial inquiry into the police’s handling of Daniel’s murder and have so far gained the unanimous support of the Metropolitan Police Authority. Since the prosecution of those charged with Daniel’s murder collapsed in March this year, there has been a string of media revelations about close links between two of the men charged with Daniel’s murder and Alex Marunchak of NoW. These links, it is alleged, go right back to the time of the murder.

    A judicial inquiry into Daniel’s murder is urgently required!

  • David J. Baird

    Surely as proprietor of News Corp, the buck (or many millions of ‘em!) stops @ the door of Mr Rupert Murdoch’s Wall St inner sanctum? He should be the one really hung out to dry. Dave Melbourne Australia

  • PeterJ

    I am absolutely astounded that you would endorse hacking
    of any nature, especially by the Murdochs.

    Hacking is blatantly criminal, and both father and son Murdoch belong where all criminals are kept.. in jail.

    The “public interest” in a fraudster faking his own death escapes logic. Darwin is not the first (and won’t be the last) to fake their own death. And thousands of Brits defraud insurance companies every day from whiplash to false claims on lost or stolen goods or damages suffered.

    After Hacked Off’s statement on Channel 4 News that Sky News’ hacking carries their approval, suggests nothing but hypocricy. Hacking, in any form, is no different to breaking and entering, a criminal act which should be punished by sending those responsible to jail, whether they are directors of a large TV newscaster or not. The Murdoch empire is rotten to the core and Sky’s broadcast license should be revoked by Ofcom. Ore are there two laws, one allowing media organisations all kinds of criminality, and the rest of us get jailed should we transgress?

    I’m very hacked off with Hacked Off.



  • Richard Micklethwait

    Several years ago in 2005 I was bankrupted by Lloyds of London for refusing their offer to give up all my rights “even in the event of fraud”.
    My phone was intercepted according to a BT engineer and subsequently I called a phone number and was told that it was “Not at the moment Sir”.
    My MP cannot or will not tell me who tapped my line.
     I did think the CIA tapped UK lines as our agencies are forbidden to do so without a court order, and then GCHQ tapped American lines as the CIA are forbidden to do this. I have reason to doubt this from a recent tip off, but then maybe the FBI can intercept American transmissions, and the NSA almost certainly can and do.
    This tapping goes further than the media.

  • Hamish

    What would really focus the minds of editors and the press barons. Is not to fine them but stop them from publishing for up to a week dependent upon the seriousness of event. It will ensure that they get their facts right before publishing. It will also ensure that they get the message and so will their readers and those who advertise in their publications. The press are simply not capable of policing themselves. The public are entitled to better. I believe that a protest day is what is needed. A day when the public all refuse to buy a news paper. Then lets see what they write the following day    

  • Rallypics

    If Camoron thinks backing the newspapers will save his skin at the net election he`s in for a big shock.Nobody in their right mind will ever believe a politician being backed by murdochs morons. 

  • Susan_seaman

    These fools signing theHacked Off campaign are sleepwalking into State control of everything that affects what little freedom we have left! Do people not read our History?What can be more hilarious  than backing someone like Hugh Grant?

  • S. Simon

    I have being experiencing a horrendous racial harassment and dirty tricks, including hacking of all my emails and phone calls(and sell or dump content in public domain. The content includes confidential personal data, and intellectual property) for over 11years. I complained to Police, but all to no avail. Iam considering to join the “Hacked off campaign” to draw attention and get justice for the victims. Warning, this message has been hacked by perpetrators who act and think as they are above the Law, and untouchable. 

  • S. Simon

    I have being experiencing a horrendous racial harassment and dirty tricks, including hacking of all my emails and phone calls(and sell or dump content in public domain. The content includes confidential personal data, and intellectual property) for over 11years. I complained to Police, but all to no avail. Iam considering to join the “Hacked off campaign” to draw attention and get justice for the victims. Warning, this message has been hacked by perpetrators who act and think as they are above the Law, and untouchable

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