FT's Lionel Barber: 'I'd rather be right than first'

English: Press Complaints Commission in Salisb...

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FT editor Lionel Barber has given the best appraisal of the state of the journalism to date since the Leveson Inquiry commenced its investigations last November.


He told the Inquiry today (Tuesday) that the phone hacking scandal of last year was a wake up call to the industry – and that it needed to convince the public that it was the best it can be.


Barber actively suggested how he would rehabilitate the industry by saying that there needed to be a more robust, credible way of independent regulation that would not just incorporate the press, but those who are not considered mainstream.


He said that when it came to regulating journalists and bloggers on the internet it would be tough – but that a new body would separate the men from the boys when it came to “real” journalism.


The FT editor also said that he would be rather “right, than first,” when it came to publishing stories.


He said that he thought there should be stiff fines, a mixture of “insiders and outsiders” on the new body, as well as definitely a prominent apology in the paper that he said editors hated having to admit they got something wrong.


The opinions of Barber, were neatly contrasted to that of the “bullish” Kelvin Mackenzie, a former Sun editor, who said that the newspaper he edited changed dramatically after he left. He was quizzed by Leveson yesterday, Monday.


Mackenzie also said he was in favour of stiff fines for newspapers, especially those who lie to the Press Complaints Commission, and that would be a definite deterrent.


He also slammed some of the evidence of the former Good Morning presenter Anne Diamond, who claimed Rupert Murdoch had gone after her after she gave a harsh television interview, where she asked the media mogul whether he was proud that his newspaper tabloids “destroyed lives.”


He told Leveson that in all the years he had known Murdoch, he never once actively went after anyone.


This year, it is expected a new law for private investigators will come into force, to be licensed. Maybe this should happen for journalists too?

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