One question haunts me about the Leveson inquiry: what has happened to public interest journalism? The tabloids ran stories the public were “interested” in, no doubt about it: voyeuristic accounts, illegally obtained, of the private life of Hugh Grant, Charlotte Church and murdered schoolgirls. To date, however, Lord Justice Leveson has not heard about one story that the public needed to know rather than wanted to know; one investigation that might have made Britain a slightly better place.
Think of the opportunities the press had. In the early years of the last decade, technology gave reporters the power to behave as if they were spies in a secret police force. Yet as far as we know, no one hacked the phones of the powerful to expose the abuse of state power, corruption in the public or private sectors, the mistreatment of the elderly in old people’s homes, the rape of teenagers in children’s homes, the madness in the banks or the neglect of hospital patients.
Carry on reading