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News from City, University of London

Max Mosley and News of the World debate phone hacking

High profile panel at City University London debates privacy versus journalism.
by Hollie Jenkins

A panel debate hosted by City University London and featuring seven high-profile panellists, including Max Mosley and former News of the World reporter Paul McMullan, explored the boundaries of personal privacy versus journalism.

The debate, chaired by QC Andrew Caldecott also featured Nick Davies from The Guardian; Mark Lewis from Stripes Solicitors; Sir Ken Macdonald, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Roy Greenslade, Professor of Journalism at City University London.

The panellists explored issues including the defining public interest, the legal implications of phone hacking, possible models for determining what content media outlets should be able to publish and ultimately how far should a reporter go.

Professor Roy Greenslade, Lecturer in Journalism at City University London, who also writes for The Guardian and Evening Standard said:

“The public interest for The Guardian’s audience is very different to the public interests of the News of the World readers. There is no easy way of drafting a public interest definition that would give journalists clear guidance on what they should and shouldn’t publish.”

Professor Roy Greenslade, Lecturer in Journalism, City University London

Nick Davies, from The Guardian said that the reporters at News of the World were unlucky to be the focus of the debate.

“It is sheer bad luck that News of the World has received this attention, because the practice is widespread. Paul McMullan should be congratulated for having the guts to come out and speak about it.”

The debate concluded with a lively question and answer session in which the audience, made up of City students and staff and media industry figures, challenged the panellists on how journalists can ensure they are acting in the public's interest.

Whilst differing views emerged from the discussion, it was clear that the issue of individual privacy, public interest and hacking is a grey area for the industry, which warrants more exploration.

You can read Professor Roy Greenslade’s blog on the event here.


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