The Great Debate UK

from UK News:

Tabloid trickery versus the right to know

Probity is Britain's new watchword. After filleting the bankers over their salaries and bonuses and excoriating MPs for fiddling their expenses we've now turned our attention to the antics of journalists.

The News of the World (NOTW) has frequently embarrassed politicians, vicars, footballers and celebrities, but the Sunday red-top is currently itself the target of an expose by a broadsheet.

According to a report in The Guardian, reporters at the "News of the Screws" worked with private investigators to access "two or three thousand" private mobile phones belonging to celebrities, MPs and public figures.

Those private investigators apparently intercepted voicemail messages and gained access to personal data such as itemised phone bills and bank statements.

Whistleblowers need protection

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BRITAIN- Gavin MacFadyen is Director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit training charity, who advance education for, and public understanding of investigative journalism. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Whether the press, or even the police (if Speaker of the House of Commons Michael Martin has his way) succeed in unmasking the person who leaked MPs’ expense details to the Daily Telegraph, one thing which remains troubling in this story is the alleged exchange of money for those 1.2 million-or-so damning documents.

Leaking in the public interest

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nicholas-jonesNicholas Jones is the author of Trading Information: Leaks, Lies and Tip-offs (Politico’s, 2006). He is a member of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom.

Whatever reservations there might be over the way the leaked information was obtained, the publication of hitherto secret details about the endemic abuse of MPs’ expenses was without doubt in the public interest.

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