Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers
2 SEPTEMBER 2009
Q1880 Mr Hall: And who they work
Mr Graham: Yes, 305 journalists,
and top of the list is the Daily Mail. There are 58 journalists
or clients using services and the number of transactions positively
identified was 952 and it goes down the list.
Mr Hall: Can you find the News of
Q1881 Chairman: It is 23.
Mr Graham: This is all what you
looked at in your last inquiry. It is 19 journalists or clients,
182 stories, the Observer with four journalists or clients
and 103 transactions, so some very assiduous journalists on the
Observer asking a lot of questions, but quality not quantity.
All the way down the list, the News of the World
Q1882 Chairman: It is 23 journalists
and 228 requests.
Mr Graham: I think these figures
were updated somewhat after publication.
Q1883 Chairman: But 23 is the correct
Mr Graham: It is the correct figure.
Q1884 Mr Hall: So, just to clear
another point which is made, when the PCC carried out their investigation
into these in their general inquiry, they actually reached a conclusion
similar to that reached by the News of the World, and you
said in evidence that the PCC did not contact the Information
Commissioner either to talk about individual journalists. Is that
Mr Graham: Certainly the ICO was
in contact with the PCC both before and after publication of those
reports in 2006. We were not involved, so far as I know and I
cannot think of any reason why we would be, in the most recent
PCC investigation which was into the Goodman case which, I will
repeat, was about hacking and not about blagging, so I would have
been surprised if they had come to us and, if they had, I would
have had to say, "Can't help you, chum".
Q1885 Mr Hall: Because you see a
very distinct difference, do you not, between the way you get
information? Do you think that blagging is fine and hacking is
Mr Graham: No, I can see there
is a journalistic ethics story that is common to the two and I
can see that there are issues about who knew what when, but, as
Information Commissioner, I have got nothing to offer you on that
because we are there to uphold the Data Protection Act and we
are not there to deal with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers
Act, so we cannot do tapping and hacking, but we can do blagging.
Q1886 Mr Hall: On the 305 journalists
who have actually been cited in evidence this afternoon and the
refusal of you to publish the list, am I understanding this correctly,
that you are refusing to publish this list because to do so would
breach their rights to privacy when these 305 journalists have
been involved in breaching everybody else's privacy?
Mr Graham: No, I am refusing to
publish because it is personal information under the Data Protection
Act and I would be in breach of section 59 thereof and committing
a criminal offence without lawful authority when I have not seen
the lawful authority, and I really am anxious, Chairman, to invite
the Committee not to shoot the messenger. The Information Commissioner
has blown this thing wide open
Chairman: I think we have just about
Q1887 Paul Farrelly: I am in somewhat
of a difficulty, like other members of the Committee, in making
judgments about your judgment because, unlike the Chair, we have
not seen the files, but I understand that, for ease of filing,
the ledgers are coded blue, green, red and yellow; primary colours
plus one, as it were. Can you tell us what the green, red, blue
and yellow refer to?
Mr Clancy: It is various newspapers.
Q1888 Paul Farrelly: Can you just
identify the groups by colour?
Mr Clancy: Off the top of my head,
no, I cannot do that.
Chairman: I think yellow was the Mail
and the Express, blue was the Times, the Sun
and the News of the World, green was the Mail and
the Express, and red was the Mirror Group Newspapers. I
think we have probably finished our questions, so thank you very