British press probe: ex-tabloid man says 'game back on'

29th November 2012, Comments 0 comments

Paul McMullan, a former News of the World journalist, said it was "game back on again", having studied the report into British press ethics published Thursday.

McMullan, who gave colourful evidence to the inquiry chaired by senior judge Brian Leveson, told Sky News television that tabloid reporters were likely to revive old surveillance techniques in the light of the report, this time to target politicians and judges.

Now a pub landlord, McMullan said the Leveson report raised concerns about the use of surveillance vehicles, particularly "fishing expeditions where you just pick on a star and stick your van outside".

However, "he doesn't seem to come down really heavily on the use of those techniques that we have been using for the last 10 years so I think, hopefully -- game back on again.

"Nearly all my colleagues have sold all their surveillance equipment and their vans in the last 18 months. I sold my van about a year ago. But I think now we can all go and buy it back again and start up again.

"We're going to steer well clear of the ordinary people, the victims. But we're going to pick on the judges and the politicians and do what we're supposed to do as investigative journalists.

"Over the last 18 months there's been an absolute desert of investigative journalism. No-one's been doing anything.

"At the moment everyone's just been treading water but now I think hopefully it is game back on again.

"Hopefully we will be back to catching the people who need to be caught."

In his report, Leveson said McMullan's lively testimony "needs to be treated with very real caution given his tendency to exaggerate and sensationalise" though it "did contain a substantial kernel of truth".

© 2012 AFP

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