Wednesday 8 February 2012

Guido: 'Journalists are reluctant to speak out'

Blogger Guido Fawkes, aka Paul Staines, told the Leveson Inquiry today that journalists are reluctant to speak out because they are worried about their careers.

He said: "People still in the business are reluctant to admit what's going on."

Staines also said that journalists "were very thin skinned" and "will put the knife into each other by me." He agreed, after being asked by Lord Justice Leveson, that there was an "unwritten rule" that journalists did not write about other newspapers.

He told the inquiry: "I'm a citizen of a free republic [Ireland] and since 1922 don't have to do what a British judge tells me to do."

On privacy, Staines said: "I don't think people in public life paid for by the tax-payer should have the same expectancy of privacy as a private citizen."

He also defended the Telegraph's use of subterfuge over the Vince Cable story because "he was saying one thing in private and one in public."

Staines told the inquiry he would not join a press regulatory body because he would have to "self-censor" and didn't "want an editorial product that's politically correct".

In an attack on the Lobby system, Staines said it was a cartel and journalists should not accept anonymous briefings. He called for Lobby briefings to be televised.

He claimed Lobby journalists knew about the expenses scandal but it only became public because of freedom of information campaigning journalist Heather Brooke.

Staines said he favoured an unregulated free press and the enforcement of existing criminal laws over issues such as phone hacking. He said if the Leveson Inquiry did not act as a catalyst to prosecute journalists who had invaded privacy on "an industrial scale" it would have failed.

Staines claimed his website attracted 50,000 to 100,000 users a day.

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