Hacked Off was founded to campaign for a public inquiry into illegal information-gathering by the press and into related matters including the conduct of the police, politicians and mobile phone companies. Only a full public inquiry, we argued, could put the truth of the hacking scandal before the public and ensure that necessary lessons were learned. The summer revelations relating to Milly Dowler and others convinced the public and the political world of the need for such an inquiry and we did all we could to ensure that it was given powers to tackle all the issues effectively.
Now the inquiry is established and the terms of reference are fixed, Hacked Off will campaign for a new independent system that:
• Makes news outlets, editors and journalists properly accountable for what they publish
• Has the powers and the remit to do investigations into issues of public concern
• Has adequate, meaningful and proportionate sanctions and redress
• Is transparent about its process, funding and decisions
• Prevents the dominance of over-powerful media organisations
• Ensures transparency in dealings between politicians, the police, public servants and the media
• Provides adequate and accessible privacy protection
• Protects journalism that is in the public interest
Much of this work will necessarily focus on the Leveson Inquiry. To achieve our aims, and with this in mind, we will:
1. Monitor the unfolding inquiry, ensuring so far as we can that it fulfils its remit to put the truth before the public and if necessary drawing attention to failings
2. Report on its proceedings and related matters, including in those periods when they may not command national press attention
3. Provide independent commentary, analysis and background on inquiry proceedings and related matters
4. Provide a conduit and clearing house for independent research and analysis which may support the conduct of the inquiry or the understanding of its work
5. Support and report upon the search for a system of press regulation which affords the maximum freedom for ethical journalism in the public interest while bearing down on journalism which breaches accepted professional codes of practice.
6. Give voice to, support and represent the interests of the victims of illegal information-gathering, where appropriate, while recognising that they will have their own views on matters such as press freedom and regulation.
The inquiry process may take years, but we see the work of Hacked Off as vital in ensuring that our initial aims and the aims of the inquiry itself are achieved as fully as possible. The events of summer 2011 leave no doubt that this is vital for the future of our political culture, of law enforcement and of journalism. It may help shape Britain for decades to come.
Our website will be an essential, independent complement to the work of the inquiry and a support and complement to other responsible media coverage.