Supplementary written evidence from Alan Rusbridger, Editor, The Guardian (PS 106)


The PCC Code: public interest


1. The public interest includes, but is not confined to:


i) Detecting or exposing crime or serious impropriety.

Ii) Protecting public health and safety.

iii) Preventing the public from being misled by an action or statement of an individual or organisation.


2. There is a public interest in freedom of expression itself.


3. Whenever the public interest is invoked, the PCC will require editors to demonstrate fully how the public interest was served.


4. The PCC will consider the extent to which material is already in public domain, or will become so.


5. In cases involving children under 16, editors must demonstrate an exceptional public interest to over-ride the normally paramount interest of the child.



Possible addition to codebook


When intruding into privacy an editor should consider the following:


- There must be sufficient sustainable cause - it needs to be justified by the scale of potential harm


- There must be integrity of motive - it must be justified in terms of public good.


- The methods used must be in proportion to the seriousness of the business in hand using minimum intrusion.


- There must be proper authority - it must be authorised at a sufficiently senior level with appropriate oversight.


- There must be a reasonable prospect of success - no fishing expeditions.


July 2009