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Leveson Inquiry: Summary of week 26

  • 20 July 2012
  • From the section UK

This week saw ex-motorsport head Max Mosley - who took on the News of the World over an article it published about his private life - return to give evidence for the second time at the Leveson Inquiry.

During his second appearance, Mr Mosley called for the creation of a press tribunal underpinned by statute, telling the inquiry the body should have powers to fine newspaper groups up to 10% of their turnover.

The former Formula 1 boss said it should handle issues of "privacy, defamation, media harassment and accuracy".

In addition, a photographer told the inquiry how he was commissioned by a newspaper to find and photograph the McCann family on their first holiday without their daughter Madeleine.

And the inquiry also heard evidence on a range of regulation issues from media industry figures, lawyers and academics.

Mr Mosley last appeared at the inquiry in December, where he told of the impact which a NoW article falsely saying an orgy he went to was Nazi-themed had on his life. In 2008, Mr Mosley won £60,000 in damages from the now-defunct Sunday tabloid.

'Press tribunal'

This time he returned to discuss options for newspaper regulation.

Mr Mosley told the inquiry: "The proposed solution is to create an entirely new body, the Press Tribunal, to mediate and where necessary enforce the rules, while keeping the existing rule-making body, the PCC, albeit in modified form, as the Press Commission."

Also giving evidence at the inquiry was photographer Matthew Sprake.

He said that, in his opinion, finding and photographing the parents of missing Madeleine McCann when they were on holiday in Canada had been "appropriate".

Mr Sprake, who runs picture agency NewsPics, said The People newspaper had asked him to cover Kate and Gerry McCann's first holiday "without Madeleine" in 2008 - the year after the little girl vanished while on holiday with her parents in Portugal.

There was a feeling, he said, that "by keeping Madeleine in the news it was helpful to the cause of finding Madeleine."

He also said that most pictures taken of celebrities were "set up shoots" - that celebrities, or their agents, "passed information" to photographers about where they would be and when.

'Unhealthy culture'

Earlier in the week a range of academics in fields related to ethics and press regulation gave evidence.

Christopher Megone, a professor of "inter-disciplinary applied ethics" at Leeds University, told the inquiry that newspaper owners and editors played a "decisive" role that was "crucial" to the creation of an "ethical culture" in newspapers.

In the newsroom "If there is an unhealthy culture then the organisation can have an ethical code but it will have little influence," he also said.

Meanwhile, former philosophy professor at Cambridge University Baroness O'Neill said readers were too often struggling to judge the "credibility or importance of media claims".

The cross-bench member of the House of Lords and former president of the British Academy, said in a written statement: "At worst they may be deceived or misled, and often they will be unsure how to assess the truth or falsity, the importance or triviality, of media claims."

Claire Enders, of who runs research firm Enders Analysis, also gave evidence.

The media analyst told the inquiry that news websites were no substitute for newspapers - that "digital models" would not fill the role of "traditional enterprises".

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