The Media Standards Trust has today, 7th September, called on the Press Complaints Commission to release its correspondence with the News of the World from its second investigation into allegations of phone-hacking (conducted in 2009), and any correspondence relating to a further alleged incident this year which is currently being investigated.
In introducing the most recent PCC Annual Review (2009), the Open Letter from the Chairman stated that: ‘While we currently feel it would be inappropriate for the PCC to release personal information and be subject to the Freedom of Information Act (because we deal with cases relating to individual privacy), we can adopt the spirit behind the provisions of the Act.’
In the spirit of the Act, the MST has requested the following:
- Correspondence (letter and email) between News International employees (including those at News Group Newspapers and the News of the World) and the PCC related to allegations of phone hacking, and any evidence given to the PCC by News International (including News Group Newspapers and the News of the World) related to allegations of phone hacking, from July 2009 to September 2009
- Correspondence (letter and email) between News International employees (including those at News Group Newspapers and the News of the World) and the PCC related to allegations of phone hacking and regarding the new case of phone hacking discovered in 2010, from April 2010 to September 2010
Chair of the Media Standards Trust, Sir David Bell, said: ‘The allegations in the New York Times suggest there may have been a culture of systematic invasion of privacy and law breaking in one of the most powerful newspapers in Britain, which is in turn owned by probably the most powerful commercial media organisation in the country.
‘We believe that it is of great importance for the future of responsible journalism and press freedom, of which the PCC is a great protector, that as much light as possible is shed on the events that are alleged to have taken place so that the air can be cleared in public once and for all.’