Daily Mail accuses BBC of Leveson 'double standards'

The Daily Mail has accused the BBC of double standards over its coverage of the Leveson Inquiry.

In an editorial today the paper claimed the corporation downplayed outgoing BBC director-general Mark Thompson’s revelation that the it had spent £310,000 on private detectives in the space of six years

The BBC has dedicated ‘countless hours to forensically covering evidence’given to inquiry by newspapers and celebrities, said the Mail.

‘Yet, when outgoing director general Mark Thompson admitted that the corporation had used private detectives more than 230 times, the revelation did not warrant a mention on its main TV bulletins and current affairs shows,’it added.

‘Licence fee payers, who footed the £310,000 bill for these investigators, should not have been subjected to these shameful double standards.”

When he gave evidence on Monday, Thompson also admitted the BBC had once used convicted private investigator Steve Whittamore.

The corporation’s staff used investigators 232 times between January 2005 and July 2011, with news accounting for 43 requests for information at a cost of £174,500, excluding the use of private security teams.

BBC Vision, which produces the corporation’s TV programmes, was behind the remaining 189, spending about £133,000, in most cases for consumer shows.

In response to the Daily Mail’s editorial a spokesperson for the BBC told Press Gazette: ‘There was extensive coverage across BBC News including live coverage on the News Channel.

‘The BBC’s use of private investigators had been reported previously and the short bulletin piece focused on new statements that newspapers should not be subject to statutory regulation, that politicians had in the past become too close to newspaper editors and that there was no evidence of phone hacking at the BBC.”

  • To contact the Press Gazette newsdesk call 020 7336 5327 or email pged@pressgazette.co.uk

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