The draft terms of reference into the phone hacking enquiry were published yesterday – they are available here. The terms should give us the comprehensive enquiry we need.
I do however have concerns at the way the terms alternate between “press”, “media” and “newspapers” at various points and have written to the Prime Minister on this.
Maybe a decade ago there were clear distinctions between the “press” (by which I think we mean newspapers and magazines) and the broadcasters but these days with websites, ipad apps etc I’m not sure that is still the situation.
We need this inquiry to have the chance to go wherever illegal behaviour has taken place and not be limited to newspapers. How many of you are 100% percent certain that none of the broadcasters have committed any illegal or inappropriate acts? Is there no way a freelance journalist conducting a Panorama or Dispatches enquiry could have been tempted to hack a phone? I have no evidence that they did, but if some evidence did become available it would be nonsensical for it not to be included in the inquiry.
It’s not just the relationship between newspapers and politicians and the police that should be looked at but also the broadcasters as well. I can foresee in 10 years time that newspapers won’t be printed at all but downloaded and we won’t watch the 6pm news live on TV at 6pm but on various devices at whatever time we choose.
Can we really sustain them being able to apply completely different rules based on what they used to be 10 years earlier?