Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Channel 4 News Interview

THE CHANNEL 4 News interview covered a whole range of issues and is the most comprehensive I have given to date.
Matters discussed include Milly Dowler, the Max Mosley story, allegations of blackmailing the prostitutes, the death of his son, privacy, ethics, the need for tabloid reform, the importance of the Leveson Inquiry, my role with the National Criminal Intelligence Service and life working for News International.
I made it clear I could not discuss phone hacking in fairness to all of us who are currently being investigated. If Lord Justice Leveson accepts this position then so should Channel 4 News.
That is save the Gordon Taylor issue and the ‘For Neville’ email. This is the matter for which I was unfairly dismissed and I strongly denied having anything to do with commissioning the interception of the voicemails of Mr Taylor or his assistant Jo Armstrong or of intercepting them myself. This is all on record and was merely repeated.
I also repeated my position on being offered potential immunity from prosecution in return for assisting the police. I have refused it and will continue to do so.
Operation Weeting is now one of the biggest investigations in British criminal history. A well respected Fleet Street crime editor told me last month that it is in fact the biggest, beating even that of the Yorkshire Ripper. I am confident they will unravel the truth.
Home affairs correspondent Andy Davies made a sterling attempt to drag me down the phone hacking route. I stressed that most of my colleagues were exemplary members of our profession and upheld the highest standards.
Davies’ two hour interview was rigorous and tough, which is what I expected. And I made many frank admissions.
There is no point in me or any of my colleagues being defensive as that will be a bar to the degree of self-criticism required if we are to move into the new era of reform which is soon to be thrust upon us.
If anyone has any doubts about that, Lord Justice Leveson made himself very clear yesterday that press regulation is a prospect which is occupying a significant part of his thinking.

Channel 4 will broadcast a small part of the interview on the 7pm news slot in the run up to Leveson part two, probably next week. Will update here and on Twitter @nthurlbeck


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