Former News of the World editor Colin Myler oversaw a culture of bullying at the newspaper, according to former news editor Ian Edmondson.
Edmondson, who is involved in an employment tribunal against his former employer News International, refused to go into specific allegations against Myler but repeatedly said that ‘everything emanates from the editor”.
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When he was asked how the bullying culture manifested itself he said: “I don’t really want to go into specifics.” But he added: “From the editor. Every part of the paper is dictated and controlled by the editor.
‘I think in the past you’ve spoken to witnesses where you’ve asked them questions as to why they haven’t done certain things and they are a senior level.
‘Well, you don’t do anything unless you are told to do something.’
Edmondson first joined the paper in 1995 as a reporter and left in 2000 to join its Sunday tabloid rival the People, eventually working his way up to news editor.
He rejoined the NoW in 2004 as number two on the newsdesk and a year later was made news editor.
He said the People had ‘nowhere near’the same culture because it was a ‘considerably smaller paper”, and in the regional press there ‘wasn’t a culture [of bullying] at all”, said Edmondson.
At the News of the World, he said ‘it’s a case of you will do as you are told and you live in that environment”.
He added: ‘It’s not a democracy at a newspaper. It’s autocratic.’
Edmondson was asked about the culture at the News of the World between 2004 and 2011, and he said that a culture of “bullying” which he experienced under editor Andy Coulson continued under Colin Myler from 2007 to 2011.
He was later questioned on the NoW’s publication of extracts from Kate McCann’s personal diary in 2008 – under the headline ‘Kate’s Diary: In her own words’– and contradicted evidence given by his former boss.
When Myler appeared at the inquiry in December he insisted that Edmondson told him he had cleared the story with the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell, claiming: “Ian Edmondson had assured me on more than one occasion that Clarence was aware of what we were intending to do and had said, ‘good’.”
Today Lord Justice Leveson asked Edmondson if he had led Myler to believe he had ‘made it clear’to Mitchell that the NoW had the whole diary and planned to publish extracts.
Edmondson replied: ‘No.’
Edmondson was also quizzed about two emails sent by former News of the World reporter Neville Thurlbeck to one of the women involved in the Max Mosley sex party, in June 2009.
The emails threatened the woman with exposure in the News of the World if she did not cooperate on a story.
Thurlbeck’s evidence was that the emails in question had been dicated to him by a newsdesk executive.
The implication of questioning today by counsel for the inquiry Robert Jay was that Edmondson was the individual Thurlbeck was referring to.
Edmondson said he did not recall the emails in question, but he said that he was no in the habit of dictating emails to reporters and that the form of words was not one he would have used.