Take a moment to consider the Press Complaint Commission’s ruling against the Telegraph.
Clause 10 of the Code states that newspapers “must not seek to obtain or publish material acquired by using hidden cameras or clandestine listening devices”. It also makes clear that “engaging in misrepresentation or subterfuge…can generally be justified only in the public interest and then only when the material cannot be obtained by other means”.
It is an indisputable fact that Liberal Democrat politicians were, and indeed are, saying one thing in private and another thing in public. There is clearly no public interest in the public being lied to. How else are reporters to prove MPs are lying without, in these circumstances, resorting to subterfuge? Should reporters have called up Vince Cable and asked him “Vince, are you lying to us when you say what you say publicly?” in the expectation that Vince would say “Yes, I have been found out, I have been a liar professionally and personally in my capacity as a politician for years.” Seriously?
This ruling by the PCC further hampers a free press from revealing the truth. Thank God there isn’t a Blog Complaints Commission…