A reporter’s battle to see the diary of former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley went all the way to the Court of Appeal – which ordered the government to reveal nearly all of it. It covered the period when the minister was working on a major shake-up of the NHS. The case highlights several reasons why Freedom of Information is considered important to journalism and the public interest. Read more
The government promised to make no changes to Freedom of Information law after a review found it was working well. Journalists mounted a campaign against feared restrictions; top universities and local government complained that it was too big a burden. Read more
A review of investigatory powers was announced, with a deadline for evidence of 3 October 2014. It was to cover the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, under which the first phone hacker was jailed. Read more
Nick Davies, the Guardian writer who exposed the phone hacking scandal, tells the story behind the saga in Hack Attack, published in August 2014.
Audio: “Murdoch and his papers have done incalculable damage” – Nick Davies says Rupert Murdoch’s influence on major world issues goes to the heart of democracy. Listen
“…there was this horrible regime of fear, just bullying down the hierarchy, which is all too familiar in newspapers… And it’s a horrible experience for a decent, honest person to be working at the lower levels of that kind of hierarchy and being forced to do things that they don’t want to do – forced to do bad things, ruling breaking, law breaking, or simply going out and bullying and cheating sources of information, and writing stories that aren’t true. It’s one of the saddest things that goes on in journalism, I think.” (Nick Davies, interviewed in Press Gazette). Read more
“Politicians who fail to support the editorial line of the Murdoch newspapers are “monstered,” their personal lives taken apart with an amalgam of facts, lies and trumped-up scandal. The toolbox of the sleazy reporter includes “blagging,” “muppeting” and “double whacking.” Without getting bogged down in the tawdry details, all involved various degrees of false identities and impersonation.” (New York Times review). Read more
“Hack Attack won’t convert anyone. It smacks of politically correct dogma and lacks the coolness you expect from a reporter who’s been around the block as often as Nick Davies. But no one can deny the offences were terrible and so was the press-police relationship.” (Sydney Morning Herald). Read more
Book extract: bullying culture at the News of the World
Journalists play an important role in society by keeping a check on those in power, but are they at risk of becoming instruments of the powerful? The director of the Ethical Journalism Network discusses the issues in a Russia Today broadcast, here
Note: this video has not been viewed before being linked from this website. Students should be prepared to view it critically, questioning what is said.