PCC chair Buscombe: News International lied to us

Press Complaints Commission chairman Baroness Buscombe today accused News International executives of lying to the watchdog during its investigation into phone-hacking at the News of the World.

The PCC‘s 2007 inquiry found no evidence to suggest the commission had been misled by the newspaper – and a second report in 2009 said there was nothing to suggest the practice spread beyond ‘rogue’ reporter Clive Goodman.

The report was widely criticised at the time, with The Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger calling it “worse than pointless … actually rather dangerous to the press”.

Speaking on the BBC’s Daily Politics show, Buscombe claimed the PCC had not vindicated owners News International. ‘We said there was no evidence at that time and I personally, and the PCC, are so angry because we were misled,” she claimed.

“I am the regulator but there is only so much we can do when people are lying to us. We know now that I was not being given the truth by the News of the World. Who knows if there are other newspapers that have lied?

‘Words cannot describe how angry I am with this. I am totally angry.”

She insisted the PCC had done all it could by setting up another phone-hacking inquiry earlier this year, but that there was “only so much we can do when this is a police investigation about criminal activity”.

After Buscombe’s appearance, the PCC released a statement saying that the Milly Dowler allegations will ‘appall and concern everybody in equal measure”, but defended the practice of self-regulation.

The watchdog claimed that ‘this terrible moment in British journalism’could be used ‘as a catalyst to improve the reach and range of the PCC”.

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