Friday 22nd July 2011
It is fascinating to learn that despite the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World, that paper ranked only 5th in the league table of papers employing private detectives to delve into people's private lives.
The list, and the details of a 2003 inquiry into use of private investigators carried out by the Information Commissioner's Office, have now been handed to officers working on the current phone-hacking probe.
According to THE SUN, 'the ICO's Operation Motorman uncovered 4,000 requests from 305 journalists and 31 publications for a private investigator to obtain confidential personal information.'
The ICO also said that in many cases, the information appeared to have been obtained illegally.
Of course The Sun is pleased that they have come a lowly 14th in the league table.
And which newspaper tops the list, with 952 requests by 58 journalists? Step forward our dear friends, the Daily Mail. The paper made over 3 requests every working day to private investigators, 'followed by the Sunday People with 802 requests by 50 journalists, the Daily Mirror with 681 requests by 45 journalists, and the Mail on Sunday with 266 requests by 33 journalists.
'The NotW was fifth with 228 requests by 23 journalists and The Sun 14th, with only four journalists making requests to private investigators. The information requests, set out in the ICO report "What Price Privacy Now", are NOT proof that phone hacking took place. '
I have experience of Associated Newspapers. Of course there was the dishonest article about me stitched together by an anti-Christian journalist in their Femail section in January. But back in 2005, the Mail on Sunday reported quite wrongly that certain BBC staff had received death threats and had gone into hiding following the brief publication of their home contact details on the Christian Voice website. The story was not true, but the Mail on Sunday then wanted to carry a profile piece on me.
When I refused, the Mail on Sunday sent a man in a shabby raincoat round the local traders trying to dig up dirt on me. He used lines like, 'I understand you've done work for Stephen Green and he owes you a lot of money...' Every local trader immediately replied, 'No, Mr Green is one of our best customers.'
Interesting to find that newspapers which many would regard as upholding traditional morality so stoop so low, isn't it?