Andrew Jones: 'It is difficult to see how the tabloids will regain credibility'

THE inquiry seems like an attempt to reform the relationship between the media, politicians and the police and looks deliberately broad to explore issues that have been festering over a decade.

There is a heavy political dimension to this. Ed Miliband and David Cameron have found themselves in this storm and the Labour leader has made an early running. However, Mr Cameron will want to focus on the past relationship established by former spin doctor Alastair Campbell, which set a model.

Labour specifically targeted News International and the Conservatives copied that. It's become conventional wisdom that you need that relationship to win Westminster elections.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There's a lot of point scoring and to some extent a number of scores are being settled and politicians see this as their payback for the expenses row.

In terms of the relationship, there will always be private meetings between politicians and journalists. They may just have to take place between third parties now.

But it is hard to imagine some sort of environment where there are no off-the-record meetings with senior ministers.

News International is in the eye of the of the storm, but it's inconceivable that other media have not been working with police officers. I think all of us concerned with press freedom are concerned we don't end up with some draconian law that restricts these freedoms.

I cannot imagine the inquiry is going to seek to call journalists at regional papers. I suspect the focus will be on a handful of journalists based around London.

In many ways the media have brought this upon themselves, but I'm slightly fearful we will restrict the Press when there's fewer of them than ever.

My concern is it leads to legislation that makes transparency more difficult to achieve. Increasingly, people tend to group media together as a whole. It is difficult to see how tabloid newspapers can regain any sense of credibility.

Andrew Jones is journalism course leader at Robert Gordon University