Monday, 9 January 2012

MacKenzie: 'Fine newspapers that lie to the PCC'

Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie told the Leveson Inquiry today that publishers who lied to the Press Complaints Commission should face "heavy fines".

He said: "I would be favour of heavy fines for newspapers that didn't disclose the truth to the PCC...they were lied to by News International, that was quite wrong and they should pay a commercial penalty for that.

"The threat of a financial penalty will have a straightforward effect on newspapers."

MacKenzie used his appearance to have another bash at the Guardian. He said that the Guardian had got the story claiming News of the World journalists deleted Milly Dolwler's phone hacking messages "completely wrong" and had buried the fact on page 10.

MacKenzie suggested if the Sun had got the same story wrong it could have come very close to being shut down. He also claimed: "People view the Sun at the bottom of the pile and papers like the Guardian as the top of the pile."

MacKenzie said if phone hacking had been used show that Tony Blair was circumventing his Cabinet with plans to go to war it would have a different impact depending which paper published it.

"If you publish it in the Sun you get six months' jail and if you publish it in the Guardian you get a Pulitzer prize," he claimed.
  • Robert Jay QC, counsel for the Leveson Inquiry, denied a claim made by ex-News of the World journalist Neville Thurlbeck on his blog that he told him in private that the NoW was "smut". Jay said he was referring to a particular NoW story and not the paper as a whole.

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