PCC decision to dismiss phone-tapping allegations splits PR experts

A senior PR professional has slammed the Press Complaints Commission after it dismissed claims that the News of the World is guilty of phone hacking.

'Damaging decision': Jack Irvine
'Damaging decision': Jack Irvine

The PCC announced its decision yesterday to clear the NOTW after the Guardian accused it of illegal privacy intrusions earlier this year. The PCC had been looking into whether there was any evidence that phone message hacking was ongoing at the paper.

The Guardian today has printed a story on its front page with the headline ‘MPs express anger at PCC phone hacking "whitewash".'

The former editor of the Scottish Sun and executive chairman of Media House International Jack Irvine said of the decision: ‘The PCC is gravely damaged by these findings. And it will lead to more calls for more stringent policing of the media.'
 
He added: ‘I do not think that the Guardian's reputation is damaged by this in any way.'
 
However, former NOTW editor Phil Hall, and current CEO of PHA Media, defended the tabloid paper and said: 'The News of the World has always sought to justify its actions are in the public interest and it would be a sad day if investigative journalism was muzzled. It is now clear they do not tap phones but I for one hope their proud record of exposing criminals continues.'
 
He added: ‘The Guardian believed they had legitimate reason to investigate and that must be respected too. But their evidence did not match the headlines.'

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