Hacked Off Press Conference: Statements by Jacqui Hames and Anne Diamond
Below are transcripts of statements by Jacqui Hames and Anne Diamond, taken from this afternoon’s press conference by Hacked Off.
Jacqui Hames, a former Metropolitan Police detective, presented BBC1′s Crimewatch between 1990 and 2006. She was placed under surveillance by News of the World in 2002 after her then husband, also a Metropolitan Police detective, appeared on the programme to appeal for information in an unsolved murder case. She gave evidence at the Leveson Inquiry as a core participant victim. She told today’s press conference:
“I have a message for the Prime Minister.
Mr Cameron. You made a promise to us – the victims of press harassment and intrusion. You said under oath, and I quote:
‘The test of a regulatory system is not does that make the politicians happier? The test of the system is: Is it going to provide proper protection to ordinary families who, through no fault of their own, get caught up in these media maelstroms and get completely mistreated?’
‘It’s not: do the politicians or the press feel happy with what we get? It’s: are we really protecting people who have been caught up and absolutely thrown to the wolves by this process. That’s what the test is.’
What you said could not have been clearer.
From the point of view of the victims, you and your advisers at Number Ten are giving every indication that you are preparing a cosy stitch-up with the newspaper editors and owners.
A clear attempt is being made to sideline and ignore us, the victims – the people you said had been thrown to the wolves by press abuse.
The people like me who’ve already suffered abuse – and the Dowlers and the McCanns – they were prepared to relive some of their worst miseries to give evidence at the Leveson Inquiry.
We did that so that in future other people wouldn’t have to go through the same thing again. If you carry on pursuing your shady deal with the editors and owners, all that will have all been for nothing.
I sincerely hope that we are wrong.
But we will not forget the promise you made and we will continue to fight for lasting reform that gives real protection to the public.”
The journalist and broadcaster, Anne Diamond also gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry as a core participant victim. She told the Inquiry that Rupert Murdoch’s editors had waged a vendetta against her after she asked him (in an interview) how he slept at night knowing that newspapers ruined people’s lives.
Speaking at today’s Hacked Off press conference, she said:
“I’m here, because like so many people, I’m worried that the recommendations of the Leveson report are going to be sidelined by other arguments which may in fact be spurious.
Such as, for example, that the statutory underpinning amounts to state regulation and that any regulation means a threat to press freedom. I trained as a print journalist but I have spent most of my career as a broadcaster. Never though, never have I, nor any of my colleagues felt unduly restricted by the regulations of, for instance, OFCOM, or the BBC governing body, and a lot of fine journalism has gone on in the broadcast media.
What Leveson proposed amounted to nothing like that sort of regulation, the sort of regulation the broadcasters have to operate under. As for many people who consider themselves victims of the worst press intrusion and harassment, I know it wasn’t easy to appear before the Leveson inquiry, in fact it was stomach-churningly nerve-wracking and involved raking up a lot of upsetting and very distressing memories and incidents. But we did it because it was really important to try and find a way forward that would still give us a free press, but also rein in the worst of press behaviour, and stop their behaviour bespoiling the name of the British press.
The Leveson Inquiry cost some £7m which must not be allowed to be a waste of money. I simply call upon all politicians of all parties and persuasions to stick by what they’ve already said; to stick by their word, to implement the Leveson proposals.”
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