Phone hacking should mark the end of the Press Complaints Commission
The New York Times Magazine’s lengthy cover story on phone hacking by News of the World journalists is essential reading for anybody with an interest in the British media.
While little in the article is new, it does bring everything together and, because the story has been so under reported here, its publication has become an event in itself. Consequently, the great and the good have finally begun to stir and there is to be a parliamentary inquiry.
Nevertheless, there is little confidence any of this will lead anywhere. Writing in the Independent Stephen Glover reckons the ex-NoW editor at the centre of storm and current press secretary to the prime minister, Andy Coulson is safe. I reckon his position is weakened by parliament’s decision to investigate, but that he’ll make it through.
Yet however you look at it, it seems obvious that the Press Complaints Commission is simply not fit for purpose. Not only was its own inquiry inadequate, it has chosen to attack the evidence of a lawyer who acts for acknowledged victims. That lawyer, Mark Lewis (who is also acting for me on an unrelated matter), is one of the few people to remind the world what the PCC claims to be about.
It is clear that the PCC is little more than a fig leaf for an increasingly corrupt newspaper industry. One wonders how many more scandals it will take before newspapers find themselves subject to some form of statutory regulation.