Hacked Off – a campaign for a full public inquiry into phone hacking – is going to be launched later today. The petition is now live at www.hackinginquiry.org. Lord Fowler, Lord Cunningham, Chris Bryant MP, Mark Lewis, Adrian Sanders MP, Professor Brian Cathcart, and Martin Moore will officially launch the campaign at the House of Lords on this evening.
The Dowlers’ lawyer, Mark Lewis; Colin Stagg’s solicitor, Jacqui Hames; Lord Prescott, Chris Bryant MP and others will be available for interview at 4pm on College Green in front of the Houses of Parliament tomorrow. Supporters of the campaign already include: Lord Fowler, Professor Onora O’Neill, Francis Wheen, Tom Watson MP, Dr Ben Goldacre, Baroness Helena Kennedy, Sir David Bell, DD Guttenplan, Professor Roy Greenslade, Professor Ian Hargreaves, John Lloyd, Isabel Hilton, Ian Jack, John Pilger, Richard Peppiatt, Andreas Whittam Smith, Kevin Marsh and others. The campaign is calling for a full public inquiry into phone hacking and other forms of illegal intrusion by the press. The inquiry should cover:
- The extent of the use of illegal information-gathering methods by the press, directly and through intermediaries;
- The conduct of the Metropolitan Police Service in investigating these matters, and its relations with the press;
- The communication between press and politicians in relation to these matters;
- The conduct of the Press Complaints Commission and of the Information Commissioner, and of other relevant parties such as mobile telephone companies;
- The lessons to be learned from these events and actions to be taken to ensure they are not repeated.
A police investigation and civil proceedings are under way, but they are narrowly focused. Even if there are prosecutions, they will concern themselves only with specific cases and individuals. Without an inquiry most of the evidence will stay secret and the wider story of illegal information-gathering and the official response to it will never be told. Only a public inquiry with full powers to call for papers and summon witnesses can explore the full range of issues involved, establish what went wrong and identify lessons to be learned. Anything less risks leaving a lasting stain of suspicion on individuals, companies and institutions. Anything less would be widely seen, both in Britain and abroad, as a cover-up. The campaign is being organised by the Media Standards Trust, Brian Cathcart, and with the help of other concerned individuals. There is a Twitter feed: @hackinginquiry.