Online and Offline: Postscript 2011–2012
As this text finally goes to print, there are on the table two different drafts for Royal Charters to regulate the press in the post-Leveson era. One, agreed by all political parties on 16 March 2013, was evolved without input from the newspaper industry itself; the other (published on 25 April 2013) was evolved by that industry. Both versions accept the need for a Royal Charter under which investigative journalism should be regulated. One thing is plain from both versions, however: the original point of the Leveson Inquiry (an exploration of the negative impact on the criminal justice process of unbridled investigative journalism, including the generation of information via inappropriate ‘leaks’ or improper — even illegal — means, including payments to informants) has been relegated to the background of the debate. This is despite the fact that Operations Weeting and Tuleta (investigating hacking and computer hacking) and Operation Elvedon (investigating payments to the police) remain ongoing, and could be used to generate substantial evidence to consider whether or not modern methods of investigative journalism have created a type of crime news which has distorted the criminal justice process. For instance, in January 2013 former Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn was convicted of misconduct in a public office for offering to sell information to the News of the World in September 2010, and sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment. Her defence, supported by many, has been that she asked for no money but simply went to the press as a ‘whistle-blower’. What that action certainly indicates is the extent to which titles like the News of the World were an automatic resource for police officers wishing for something to be publicised.1
KeywordsCriminal Justice Public Interest Criminal Justice System Crime Reportage Daily Mail
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- 2.Lord Judge (2011) Practice Guidance: The Use of Live Text-Based Forms of Communication (including Twitter) from Court for the Purposes of Fair and Accurate Reporting (Lord Chief Justice’s office, 20 December 2011).Google Scholar
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