Supplementary written evidence from Tim Toulmin, Press Complaints Commission (PS 134)
Letter to John Whittingdale MP
Thank you for your letter of 12th October.
As requested, I am sending copies of my letters of 7th February and 20th April 2007 to Colin Myler.
you are interested in the
Please do let me know if you need any more information.
With kind regards.
to Colin Myler, Editor,
am writing following the convictions of Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire. As
you may know, the board of the
are obviously several matters that are specific to the
We have been especially concerned whether the employment of Mr Mulcaire represented an attempt to circumvent the Code's provisions by sub-contracting investigative work to a third party. We recognise that there is nothing inherently wrong with using third parties. But the Code says that "editors should take care to ensure it is observed rigorously by all editorial staff and external contributors, including non-journalists". There are therefore no loopholes.
1. Were Mulcaire and any other external contributors aware that when using their material the newspaper had to work within the terms of the Code and the law?
2. To avoid a repetition of this episode, what new guidance has been or will be introduced for external contributors? Is it/will it be written into their contracts or otherwise made clear that material must be obtained in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Code of Practice and of the law, and that public interest exceptions may apply? What other steps are being or will be taken to ensure that material supplied by third parties complies with the Code?
What steps have been/will be taken to ensure that all staff journalists on the
As to Goodman, it seems from the evidence submitted to the court that he repeatedly breached the Code and the law. It will not surprise you to hear that the Commission requires reassurance that the newspaper makes its staff journalists fully aware of the requirements of the Code and the law in terms of subterfuge, including when it is justified. This, of course, embraces also the Data Protection Act, where there has been separate comment recently about the extent to which it is respected by journalists.
1. Has the paper's guidance to staff journalists changed in light of Goodman's conviction? If so, what does it say?
2. Are you satisfied that staff fully understand all clauses of the Code of Practice and the consequences of breaching the Code? There are occasions where exceptions to the rules may be made in the public interest - are these made clear?
3. Do you need the Commission's assistance to help with internal training or anything else? As you may know, we run regular workshops on the Code and how it is enforced.
4. The Commission intends to widen its investigation after hearing from you, with a view to establishing whether controls across the industry are adequate. With this in mind, is there anything else that would be helpful to us from the newspaper's experience in this case?
I look forward to hearing from you. I may have some further questions at a later stage.
With kind regards.
Letter to Colin Myler,
Further to my letter of 18th April, I have two further questions.
I see from your letter to staff of 19th February that further controls on cash payments were being developed. May the Commission know what conclusions were reached in this regard?
Secondly, as you know, the Commission is looking at what lessons might be learned, and in particular it may wish to draw attention to examples of best practice. With that in mind, would you object if our report quoted from the revised contracts that have been drawn up for contributors and members of staff?
I look forward to hearing from you.
With kind regards.
Letter from Sir Christopher Meyer to Madeleine Moon MP
I thought you might like to see a copy of a statement I have made today, which I have sent to the local and regional press around Bridgend as well as to national newspapers. I am particularly eager to ensure that anyone affected by one of these tragedies is aware of what we can do to help minimise the impact of journalists' inquiries at such a difficult time.
I am also very concerned about the suggestion that the media are somehow glamorising suicide. I understand that you are compiling a dossier to forward to us, and I look forward to receiving it. In addition, members of my staff would be very willing to come to Bridgend to see you, members of the public and anyone who has a professional interest in these matters to answer any questions.
I should just remind you that our responsibility is for newspapers and
magazines in print or online, but not for television and radio, which fall to
With kind regards