Sunday 21 January 2018

Journalists can use 'dark arts', watchdog tells inquiry

Gordon Rayner in London

Journalists could still use the "dark arts" to pursue stories if there was a clear public interest in doing so, Britain's information commissioner has told the Leveson Inquiry.

Christopher Graham said he had seen no evidence of journalists illegally obtaining private data since two reports on breaches of privacy were published in 2006.

Mr Graham, who has been the information commissioner since 2009, said he believed a free press should be able to operate within the law, which contained provisions for a public interest defence in cases where private data had been accessed.

"You sometimes have to apply the dark arts to get the story, and then you're accountable for it," he said.

"And if you're really in trouble, that's the mitigation that you put to the court."

Lord Justice Leveson said, "I can't imagine that a journalist with a public interest defence would be troubled by the courts."

Executives from Google also appeared before the inquiry, and said they received 65 requests from the government to remove web pages from its database in the first half of last year.

National security was "the single biggest category" among the reasons cited for wanting pages removed from Google search results, Daphne Keller, the company's legal director, said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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