Public interest stories have been suppressed in the last six months
because of the Leveson inquiry into media standards, PR guru Max
Clifford has said.
Giving evidence to a parliamentary committee on privacy and injunctions,
Clifford told MPs and peers that newspaper editors were "far more
cautious" about all stories, adding "there definitely has been a
"Leveson has made a difference", he said. "I'm aware of many, many
stories which would have made the tabloid front pages in the last six
months that haven't been anywhere.
Asked by Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi if he believed that included
public interest stories, Clifford said "yes."
Phil Hall, the former editor of the News of the World, giving evidence
alongside Clifford, said papers were now "following live news stories
rather than digging out their own."
Clifford also said he had never known the PCC to "help" anybody. Citing
Robert Murat, the man falsely accused of kidnapping Madeleine McCann,
Clifford said the press had printed "a load of lies" to sell papers.
"The Press Complaints Commission was nowhere to be seen," he claimed.
"They're not independent."
"If one good thing comes out of all of this, it is if we have a press
complaints body, truly independent, that is there for the British
public... before anybody destroys them in the papers," Clifford added.