Reaction to Sunday Telegraph story
The Hacked Off campaign is disappointed to see that the Sunday Telegraph has published an article by Andrew Gilligan which misrepresents the relationship between the campaign and the lobby group Sovereign Strategy.
The article implies that Sovereign influenced the campaign’s content and strategy. It did not. Its contributions were practical ones, notably arranging taxis and a meeting room for the Dowler family when they were in London seeing party leaders and other politicians.
The article suggests that Horatio Mortimer of Sovereign was seconded to work for the campaign as a strategic consultant. He was not. He provided administrative assistance. We welcome this opportunity to say that we are grateful to him and to Sovereign, as we are to all those who have helped and supported our campaign.
The article suggests that Hacked Off is left wing or is an instrument of the Labour Party. This is also untrue. It has enjoyed the support of, and made common cause with, MPs and peers of all parties and none.
Hacked Off has been open, clear and consistent about its strategy, which was set out in a manifesto written before we had any dealings with Sovereign. You can read it on our website. We are proud of our contribution to shaping the terms of reference of Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry and we look forward to a rigorous process that puts the truth before the public. We are dedicated to press freedom and have enjoyed the support of leading journalists such as Henry Porter, John Pilger, Isabel Hilton, Andreas Whittam Smith and Roy Greenslade.
We have also been open about the assistance we received from Sovereign, indeed Mr Gilligan appears to have learned about it from a blog published by one of our founders.
Members of the Hacked Off team have a track record in fighting for free speech and a free press.
Professor Brian Cathcart has been a journalist for 30 years working for Reuters, the Independent papers and the New statesman, and currently blogging for Index on Censorship, and is also a professor of journalism. Martin Moore runs the Media Standards Trust which has, over the 5 years since it was founded, consistently opposed State regulation of the press. Dr Evan Harris is founder of the Libel Reform campaign and Trustee of Article 19, he is a leading freedom of speech campaigner. Thais Portilho-Shrimpton is a journalist with 6 years of experience and active member of the NUJ.