Guardian loses PCC phone-hacking case

Guardian loses PCC phone-hacking case
Guardian loses PCC phone-hacking case 

By Ian Burrell
Media Editor
The Independent
9 November 2009

The Press Complaints Commission, the watchdog for the newspaper 
industry, has rejected claims by The Guardian that a widespread and 
ongoing culture of phone-hacking existed at the News of the World, 
Britain's biggest-selling Sunday title. After investigation, the PCC 
reported that it "found no evidence that phone-message hacking is 
ongoing" at the tabloid, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News International.

The Guardian reported its claims with great fanfare on its front page 
and on its website over several days in July. The PCC said that "having 
reviewed the matter [it] could not help but conclude that The Guardian's 
stories did not quite live up to the dramatic billing they were 
initially given". The PCC had conducted a previous inquiry into methods 
used by the News of the World's reporters in 2007 after its royal 
editor, Clive Goodman, and a private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, were 
jailed for illegal interception of messages.

Now the PCC has said it had "found no evidence that it was materially 
misled" at the 2007 inquiry, when NI executives assured the watchdog 
that illegal practices had stopped. That conclusion raises questions 
about the judgement of BBC News which, having been briefed in advance by 
The Guardian that the newspaper had a scoop, repeatedly gave the July 
story top billing on its television news bulletins and its rolling news 

The PCC noted that "despite the manner in which The Guardian's 
allegations were treated in some quarters . as if they related to 
current or recent activity . there is no evidence that the practice of 
phone-message tapping is ongoing". The PCC found that ethics in 
investigative journalism in the press had improved since the trial of 
Goodman and Mulcaire. They hacked into the mobile phone messages of 
members of the royal household and well-known people in sport and 
entertainment. The scandal cost Andy Coulson his job as editor. He is 
now communications director of the Conservative Party. The Guardian's 
July stories reported calls for the Tory leader, David Cameron, to sack 


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