Tuesday, 28 February 2012
BBC Newsnight Interview - Payment of Sources
British national newspapers have been doing this for 150 years and advertise this fact in their newspapers every week.
So do the BBC. Interviews are paid for. Sources are paid for tips which make the news and documentaries.
Was I the only one to think she was being just a little naive in seeming to be so surprised?
What is important is whether or not the News of the World paid police officers, which can never be justified in law. And during my time on the newsdesk, no such payments were approved by me or sought from me.
It's a pity we didn't have more time to debate this important issue and interruptions hadn't halted important themes mid flow. Such as the payment of criminals.
The News of the World avoided paying criminals, in line with the Press Complaints Commission code.
But there were also many occasions when we did in order to expose a crime being committed by others and there is a very clear public interest clause in the PCC code for doing this.
The BBC's very own flagship documentary programme Panorama pays thousands of pounds to criminals to expose crime. Often the same underworld tipsters that I use myself.
As do the police themselves.
And long may that continue.