30 Nov 2011

Hacking was in the public interest - reporter

2:01 pm on 30 November 2011

A former journalist at now-defunct The News of the World says reporters routinely hacked people's voicemails and did so because it was in the public interest.

Paul McMullan, who worked at the paper for seven years, told the British goverment inquiry into media ethics, that he thought phone hacking was acceptable to get to the truth.

The BBC reports Mr McMullan was News of the World deputy features editor between 1994 - 2001.

He said he believes hacking is in the public interest. He went on to say that most people did not need privacy because they had nothing to hide.

''Privacy is the space bad people need to do bad things in,'' Mr McMullan said. "Privacy is for paedos.''

He also said it was not for anyone to say whether a story was or was not in the public interest.

''Circulation defines what is the public interest,'' he said. ''I see no difference between what the public is interested in and the public interest.''

Mr McMullan said that editors were aware voicemails were being hacked, but threw their reporters to the wolves by denying they knew anything about it.