23rd May 2021
We have a lopsided view of the bad things that were happening in respect of the media around the turn of this century.
The focus has been on the press – journalistic ethics, newsroom culture and the breaches of the civil and criminal law.
But those did not happen in a vacuum.
What elements of the press did was part of a wider problem, which involved the metropolitan police and the private investigation industry.
Of course, the press took advantage of these relations and was the source of a lot of the money involved.
But there were wrongs being committed on the supply-side of the trade in personal information.
Had the Leveson inquiry continued with its phase two – that was to look at the dealings of the press with the police and so on – then we would now have a more rounded picture of what went on.
But the Leveson inquiry will now never continue to phase two.
And so the nearest we will get to a documented understanding of this supply-side will be the independent panel report on the Daniel Morgan case – a case which goes to the heart of the problematic relationship between the press, the police and the private investigation industry.
It may well turn out to be the best record we will ever get of what then happened – and how so many got away with so many things which they should not have done so.