Hacked Off declines to reveal stance on data protection and whistleblowing

Campaign group Hacked Off declined to say whether they are in full support of Lord Justice Leveson’s report at a press conference today.

Despite previously encouraging supporters to sign a petition “calling for Leveson’s recommendations to be implemented in full” representatives declined to outline their stance on whistleblowing and data protection.

Citing the Plebgate arrest over the weekend, The Guardian's Lisa O'Carroll asked for Hacked Off's position on Leveson's recommendation that whistleblowers should go to their own bosses rather than the media. And Ben Webster from The Times asked whether Hacked Off supported Leveson's proposal that journalists should lose some of their exemptions under the Data Protection Act.

Dr Evan Harris, Hacked Off director and former Lib Dem MP, insisted that they are currently only referring to recommendations on regulation of the press.

He told journalists: “I’m just telling you that our petition is about the recommendations on press regulation.

“It does not refer to the recommendations on the police, for example, or politicians, or indeed some of the… other areas.

But, he added: “We are confident that Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations are sound.”

The Hacked Off Petition  calling for "Leveson's recommendations to be implemented in full" has so far been signed by nearly 147,000 people.

Meanwhile, Hacked Off founder Professor Brian Cathcart said that Hacked Off was committed to ensuring journalists have a public interest defence in court and suggested this should be a part of data protection laws.

Cathcart also suggested that the public had been “frozen out” of the process and that arrangements should not be being made behind closed doors.

Alongside him, Jacqui Hames, a former Metropolitan Police detective and BBC Crimewatch presenter, accused Prime Minister David Cameron of breaking promises to press victims.

She said: “From the point of view of the victims, you and your advisers at Number Ten are giving every indication that you are preparing a cosy stitch-up with the newspaper editors and owners.

“A clear attempt is being made to sideline and ignore us, the victims – the people you said had been thrown to the wolves by press abuse.”

Actor and Hacked Off director Hugh Grant also spoke at the conference, and reiterated his commitment to the group.

He said he would be involved in Hacked Off until it had achieved its objectives – and said he expected this to be done by the next general election.

He said that as long as public opinion is on the side of Hacked Off, and of Leveson’s recommendations, he has “no intention of easing up or giving up”.

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