Fake News: false claims about Hacked Off in The Times shows we are still feared

Over the past ten years the corporate press has entirely failed to engage with any of the arguments for independent and effective press regulation. Newspaper bosses, defending their unregulated privileges have consistently downplayed Hacked Off’s wide public support and effective campaigns. But, from time to time, the press likes to take pot shots at Hacked Off. This shows that we are still relevant and effective.

We have seen two recent examples in the Murdoch Times – a newspaper which long ago lost its reputation for accuracy.  On June 3rd, the paper published an article asking, “What next for Hacked Off after Max Mosley’s death?”, suggesting that our objectives – and indeed our survival – may be threatened by Mr Mosley’s death. A follow-up article published 8 June claimed, “Hacked Off privacy campaign group is set to go bust”.

Both articles are, of course, untrue containing little more than journalistic wishful thinking. Hacked Off is not “bust” and our mission has never been clearer or more important. And thanks to the generosity of the thousands of supporters who have donated over the years and continue to do so, we continue to campaign for genuinely independent self-regulation and for the second part of the Leveson Inquiry and to provide support for those have been affected by press abuse.

Leveson Part Two commands the support of almost every major party in the House of Commons, with the Conservative leadership isolated in their opposition.

IMPRESS, the genuinely independent press self-regulator, is thriving and now represents more than 100 publishers (IPSO represents fewer than 90).

Hundreds of people affected by press abuse are assisted by the Campaign every year.

Hacked Off and our supporters have played a hugely important role in these developments, and we will continue to do so.

Following publication of the first article, we wrote a letter to The Times, assuming that its commitment to free speech and accuracy would secure publication. Strangely, the letter has not appeared. It reads as follows:


Contrary to the views expressed in Jonathan Ames’ article (“What next for Hacked Off after Max Mosley’s death”, Times 3 June 2021), by individuals either not involved or directly opposed to the work of Hacked Off, the campaign’s clarity of mission is as strong as ever.

Press misconduct and misinformation remains a vital issue for us all. There is widespread support for the commencement of the second part of the Leveson Inquiry, with the Conservative Party leadership isolated in its determination to turn a blind eye to the corruption and criminality which Leveson Part 2 was designed to address.

The UK’s only independent press regulator, IMPRESS, welcomes dozens of new publishers every year. The complaints-handler favoured by the national press, IPSO, was set up in defiance of Leveson’s recommendations, fails to protect ordinary people from press abuse, and is incapable of holding its powerful industry sponsors to account.

Dozens of ordinary people affected by press abuse continue to turn to Hacked Off for support every year, while thousands express their support through social media, online events and donations.

For ten years Hacked Off has worked to secure genuinely independent and effective self-regulation for all newspapers, to promote robust and ethical journalism that abides by recognised codes of conduct, and to support victims of press malpractice.  This has always been uncomfortable for a press that preaches accountability in every area of public life except its own and consistently misrepresents the campaign’s purpose. Our mission is crystal clear, and we remain determined to finish the job.

It is a measure of Hacked Off’s continuing effectiveness and relevance that Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers believe that it is necessary to publish fake news about us.  With the help of our many friends and supporters we will continue to challenge the lies, distortions and bullying of the corporate press.

We rely on people like you to make a difference.

Give now to support the campaign for a free and accountable press.


1 Comment

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

June 9, 2021 at 10:31 am

Oh, that section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 was in force to give an effective means of combatting such falsehoods!

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