16/01/2012 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark, plus an exclusive on the rebellion inside Syria.

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Tonight, we make a dangerous foray to the suburbs of Damascus, it is


no longer the Syrian Government in no longer the Syrian Government in


control, but the rebels. Can the regime maintain the


illusion that there is really nothing wrong.


TRANSLATION: We don't just want to bring down the regime now, or the


President to step down, we want to hang him.


The imposition on Syria of an outside force now inevitable, one


for our defence editor. There are rumabilities in the gulf


state that they may be ready to commit troops to arrest the descent


into civil war. We investigate whether school


academys are bending over back wards to stop problem pupils


sitting GCSEs. The message they are getting is you are independent and


in charge, and the dark arts is a temptation if you are trying to


improve the league table position. This what you get when you put


results ahead of pupils. The Mirror editor concedes maybe


his reporters were hacking phones, but all behind his back.


possible it was being gone on but hidden from you. Hud the newspaper


industry be getting ready for the big crackdown, the editor of the


Independent is here. The increasing intensity of the


uprising in it Syria, and President Assad's continuing crackdown in it


defiance of everyone from the Arab League to the UN proving a much


more complex problemer for the international community, than


dealing with -- problem for the international community, than


dealing with Libya, for example. There is Qatari support for sending


in troops with growing support from the Arab world. How would Assad


react, Iran has said it will provide support for Syria if it


comes under attack. It is extremely hard toen gauge who has the whip


hand in Syria. -- to engage who has the whip hand in Syria. We have a


report from Damascus, operating under the regime's restrictions.


As you say, operating for foreign journalists in Syria is difficult.


You need special permission for everywhere you want to go to, and


permission for known trouble spots isn't normally granted. Having said


that, I think the presence of the Arab League monitors here, over the


last month, has opened things up a chink. I think there are more,


considerably more journalists here, foreign journalists now with visas.


We have been able to move slightly more freely. But, I think


"slightly" is the word. If you look at the various elements of the deal


that was worked out with the Arab League, none them have been


achieved. The bloodshed hasn't stopped, the military haven't


completely withdrawn from the cities, few detainys have been


released. As for national dialogue, there -- detainees have have been


released, as for the national dialogue, there is a glim of that.


The options are limited. In the meantime, I have been out on the


streets with supporters and opponents of President Assad. First


I got rare access to a revolutionary stronghold near


Damascus In a working-class suburb of


Damascus, we are walking into the heart of the Syrian revolution.


Deep into a district the Government no longer controls.


It is dangerous. Two more protestors have just been shot dead


here. They are urging us on, delighted at the very rare


appearance of a foreign TV crew, desperate to get their'sage to the


outside world. -- message to the outside world.


TRANSLATION: All we want what everyone around the world wants,


freep dop, for that they are killing us. We don't -- freedom,


for that they are killing us. We don't just want democracy and


freedom, we want to hang the President. TRANSLATION: We are


being slaughtered, all we want is interle national protection, the


security forces are killing indiscim ately.


The people of Duma have been at the forefront of the uprising against


President Assad, no-one too young to risk death. They say they are


terrorised in their own homes by Government thugs and police.


TRANSLATION: They have no fear of God. They break into houses when


our husbands are naked. They are Assad's thieves, at the take away


everything, gold, money, even our food. TRANSLATION: We have to cover


our faces, because there are so many informants here, if they


discover one of us, they will arrest everyone in the family, even


the women, just to get us. funeral of two of the people who


were killed yesterday in demonstrations is beginning just


behind us now at the mosque. Quite often what has happened is people


have been killed at the funerals of people killed before. That is one


of the ways that the cyclele of violence here has continued for --


cycle of violence has continued here for ten months. Interest It is


violence, overwhelmingly from the state. The citizens are armed,


principally with spray cans, painting new anti-regime graffiti,


as fast as the authorities can blot it out. What would a free Duma be


like? It is a religiously conservative town. They reject


Government claims that a fall in the regime would imsuppose Islamic


values on a multiracial country. TRANSLATION: All the people are


together, all the sects and the religions. The Government says we


are sectarian to stop the revolution and scare people. Root


across Syria, the Government -- right across Syria, the Government


is fighting with propoganda as well as brute force. That is why it is


taking me, and other foreign journalists on a tour to Homs, a


city besieged by the milltry, and suffered most in the revolt --


military, and suffered the most in the revolt. There is no stopping on


the square where many were killed when security forces attacked an


opposition protest last spring. We are allowed out in a pro-Government


area. An angry crowd gathers to denounce


the fascist foreign media. It is the opposite of the welcome we


received in revolutionary Duma. Here there is no concern about pro-


democracy protests being crushed. They believe the uprising is an


attempt to wreck Syrian society. TRANSLATION: Is it democracy to


bomb people out of their home, to scare us, and our children. What


democracy are they talking about? We are her mainly members of the


Shi'ite sect, at that the President's family belongs to.


Since the uprising began, they say, they don't dare move outside their


own neighbourhoods. This is a city where the predictions of civil war


are already coming true. A city divided by barriers and frontlines,


into a patchwork of increasingly segregated areas.


There is no destruction here, as in opposition areas. Which are uingr


regularly shelled by the army. But -- which are regularly shelled by


the army. But Government forces say they are targeted by opposition


snipers if they move even a few streets away. TRANSLATION: In this


area, if you go on the street you are shot by a sniper, a rocket


President Yeltsin grenade or a mortar. We can't go to sleep, --


and rocket propelled grenade, we can't go to sleep or do anything. A


soldier has been taken in for treatment, one of thousand, say


doctors, are the victims of armed insurgents, their stories are hard


to prove. This soldier says he would happily shoot demonstrators,


but he says he's not allowed to. TRANSLATION: We have been given


orders not to shoot civilians, we can't shoot women and children,


that is why we are being targeted more than them. We can't shoot when


there are civilians around. That claim absurd. But some in Homs


seem to think that President Assad's not tough enough on the


uprising. We saw a rare portrait of him, together with his younger


brother, regarded as more hardline. The kind people we were taken 0


meet in Homs, don't represent a -- to meet in Homs, don't represent a


majority in the city, let alone Syria, they might be enough to hold


out for a majority to hold out against the international community.


How did the diplomatic allegiances stack up in the region? Just as the


conflict has taken on increasingly sectarian character, within Syria,


as we saw from Tim's piece there. It is also having an effect in the


broader region. There is the perception that the Sunni majority


in Syria being oppressed by the minorities, including President


Assad as plan. What it means -- President Assad's clan. What it


means is Iran is the principle country in the region and backs


Syria for a whole variety of power, politic qal and other reasons.


President Assad's clan looks to Iran for support as an embattled


minority. Consequently, increasingly, some of the other


countries in it the gulf are lining up against the Syrians. Seeking to


empower Arab League attempts to be more active within this situation.


We had Qatar a few days ago, the leader talking about sending combat


troops to protect the people. He wouldn't are done that without


backing from Saudi Arabia. We know the Saudis support the idea being


floated, and one or two other countries, including Jordan. They


form a block of countries favouring such action. How likely is it that


military intervention would come any time soon? It is not likely top


happen soon for a variety of reasons. This may be the beginning


of a consensus of building effort, led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.


There are other Arab countries that don't agree with this. Algeria, for


example, quite sympathetic to the Bashar al-Assad regime in many ways,


Iraq, curiouslys enough, has been quite supportive, and abstained


from any criticism of the Bashar al-Assad regime, for all sorts of


reasons, the position with Iran being one of them. There are


countries, quite influential Arab countries, that might block an


attempt to do it through the Arab League. That organisation requires


unanimity Joining me from New York is Russia's ambassador to the UN,


Vitaly Churkin. Ban Ki-Moon, the UK secretary-


general says, really, now, the casualties are so bad, that it is


time now for the Security Council to of move to intensify all


sanctions against Syria, and Russia blocking this. Why? Well, first of


all, I don't think the secretary- general said that. It is, that of


course your report has been extremely disturbing, the crisis in


Syria has been allowed to deteriorate. What we believe needs


to be done now is that everybody should support the Arab League


monitoring commission, that confidence and trust should be


restored between the Arab League and Damascus, and efb who can


influence the process can -- everyone who can influence the


process can put the conflicting parties to the table. Only through


dialogue the violence canp stop. Would Russia like to see President


Assad go? Russia would like President Assad to intensify and


clarify his plans for reform, to stop violence on the part of the


Government. We call on the opposition not to resort to


violence, and to listen to what his people, the people of Syria want to


see in terms of political and economic reforms in the country.


Let's be clear, your best option, the option Russia would like, for


Assad to reform, but essentially Assad to stay? No, we would like


the Syrian people to decide this in peaceful ways. Through political


dialogue, and fair and democratic elections. Not through trying to


create a revolution or a situation of civil war in the country. That


would have dramatic consequences for the Syrians and neighbouring


countries. It it is not surprising that your correspondent, a cop of


minutes ago, spoke about the concerns -- a couple of minutes ago


spoke about the concerns of the Iraqi and the Lebanese sharing


similar concerns. A deterioration of the situation could have


dramatic consequences not just for Syria, but the region itself. Our


call is for the end of violence, whatever the source of the violence,


and a broad national dialogue. Reform through political prohe is.


We know, ambassador, that there has really been no let up to the


violence, the casualties are escalating as Ban Ki-Moon has said,


you out of step with France, Britain and the US on this. Why is


Russia sticking to its guns in support of President add sad, is it


because Russia sells arms to Syria? We are no -- President Assad, it


because Russia sells arms to Syria? First of all President add sad is


interest, it is a reality, he has broad support in the country.


support in the country? Broad support in the country, eventhough


there are protestors, there are people in the country supporting


him. He cannot be wished away. It is a political reality. If somebody


is going down the road of fanning a revolution and civil war in Syria,


we believe it is extremely dangerous. We believe the conflict


could have been stopped months ago, had everybody heeded the call for a


broad political dialogue. Isn't the problem, we have heard what Susan


Rice the US envoy to the UN has said, essentially one of the


problems Russia make as lot of money out of selling weapons to


Syria, and you still do? When I hear Americans talk about, against


selling weapons, it he reminds me of a cannibal advocating


vegetarianism. The United States one of the largest suppliers of


weapons into the Middle East. This is not the point at all. It may not


be the point, two wrongs don't make a right, I just want to clarify,


Russia still selling weapons to Syria? We may have a certain


contracts with the Syrian Government, I'm not sure what the


state of that is. This is not the important point there. The


important point is unfortunately, you know, the Security Council was


able to work together jointly in order to try to resolve things


politically in yes mam machine. I have heard people -- Yemen, I have


heard people call for in Bahrain a position of going in with the


authorities. From Syria the call from the outset was completely the


opposite. Do you accept that actually it would improve the


situation if Russia stopped selling weapons to Syria, whatever


contracts you have? It has no effect whatever contracts we have


with them. It has no effect on the situation at all. The situation has


been there. Let me of move on, the time is limited with you. Do you


agree that actually the Qatari proposal to send in troops, which


seems to certainly going to be discussed by the Arab League, would


you back that? I think it is an unhelp of statement, it is a


distraction and irritant. There are two main tasks now, to support the


Arab League monitoring mission, it is where we hud focus on, and


secondly, to re-- should focus on, and secondly to restore trust


between the Arab League and Damascus. This is fantasy talk of


Arab troops moving into Syria. I don't see many Arab countries


volunteering that, or Qatar trying to unvaid Syria. I don't see Saudi


Arabia sending their troops to Syria after sending troops to


Bahrain in support of the Government. Unstead of creating


such artificial irritants, let's focus on the need to stop violence


in Syria from wherever it comes, and supporting the monitoring


mission, and supporting further dialogue between Syria and the Arab


League. Briefly, is David Cameron wrong to call for another


resolution on Syria, that unhelpful of Britain and France? No, Russia


was the one who proposed the new draft several weeks ago in the


Security Council, in support of political prohe is, and then the


violence in it Sir -- processes, and then there was the violence in


Syria. So it is good that there are calls from other members of the


Security Council. The academy system in England,


started under the last Government, was designed to guarantee a decent


education for all who attend one. An investigation by Newsnight has


revealed that some academys are employing what is called the dark


arts, to rid themselves of underprfoerming pupils. Academys


permanently exclude far more pupils than state schools. This is a


different method of removal. The drive for league tables means some


of the most vulnerable pupils are being discarded, sometimes


unlawfully. This boy had been at an academy. It


should have powered him to a good education. However, he tarted to


get into trouble, not enough to be permanently excluded, but his


mother felt he had to leave and he was let down. My son felt


completely demoralised, it showed in his whole demeanor. He used to


love going to gymnastic, he lost interest in efg.


- gymnastics. He lost interest in everything. When asked why was he


behaving it way, he said nobody was helping him get back into school.


Is this an example of unofficial exclusion, a way to ease out those


pupils that won't help an academy shape up in the league tables.


cad moose are very, very high -- academys are very, very high stakes


institutions, the expectations of the FE and those in favour of the


academy scheme, must be that they are a success. The message the


academys are getting from wherever is you are in charge, you are in


authority, and then the dark arts a temation, isn't it. The 15-year-old,


we have agreed not to identify him, had been at a Harris Academy, one


of a cluster of schools sponsored by businessman, Lord Harris, and


given high marks by the Education Secretary, recently. Every single


one of the schools he takes over, gets an additional 20% or more


young people to pass five good GCSEs, compared to the record when


the local authority ran it. When the coalition came to power


there were 200 academys, now there are more than 500. Both


traditionlal, set up in deprived areas, and high-achieving schools


which have converted. Are the results which Mr Gove wants them to


achieve being produced, in part, at the expense of more vulnerable


pupils. The whole point of academy schools to improve the chances of


kids like this, to stop them joining, what Michael Gove calls,


an educational underclass. We have spoken to parents who found the


reality to be quite different. Their children have been forced out


of school, not officially, but through pressure and persuasion, a


practice which can be illegal. Our teenager was about to start


preparing for his GCSEs when trouble began. He had had a series


of temporary exclusions. In an e- mail from the Harris Academy,


Merton, his mother was told it might be better for him to have a


fresh start, and to consider applying to another school. The


only other option was alternative offsite provision, where her son


would have beenedcated away from the school, with other children


deemed not to fit in. All -- been educated away from the school with


other children deemed not to fit in. With the statistics of a permanent


exclusion, and you feel pressured into finding another school for


your child. In my case that is how they made me feel.


The Harris Academy Merton say they never unofficially exclude a pupil


This school in south London is run by the local education authority.


They are the ones who give us the money, although we pay tax.


schools, including the academys, are under pressure to bring down


permanent exclusions, and yet, every year pupils come here, who


have to leave academys, without being permanently excluded. Many of


them are seeking to move because of what I often call the dark arts.


They have been asked to of move rather than permanently excluded,


they have been ignored for a few months on study leave, or ignored


in a study support centre. Parents and children have eventually


decided this school isn't for me, they won't have me in the building,


they won't permanently exclude me, they won't do anything, despite my


requests, I are go and look for another school.


This barrister fights cases for parents who think their children


have been unfairly treated. Academys are masters of their own


budgets and curriculum, but Darid Wolfe thinks this very independent


is behind the growing number of cases he's seeing. The freedoms


they have got and they think they have got, which goes beyond what


they have actually got, means whatever they are doing for the


majority of children in their establishment of children, there is


a small group being disadvantaged or squeezed out. Maybe they are


paying the price of the benefits for the other children.


department for education says academys must follow the same law


and guidance on exclusions as all schools. But David Wolfe says the


cases he's dealing with suggest that isn't happening. There are two


groups that I see, children just starting out in primary schools,


but the number merically larger group are typically 14-15-year-old


boys, going into near nine or ten, just starting their GCSE, very


aufpb black, or disabled with special he had Kay -- often black,


or disabled with special educational needs, not exclusively


so. This is Chloe, testing her Christmas present. The 15-year-old


had been in an academy if Lincolnshire. Even her mum accepts


she was a tricky pupil. What sort of things were you


getting into trouble for? It Smoking, being on my phone.


Disrupting classes, houting out, making silly -- shouting out,


making silly remarks. Trying to get everyone to laugh at her. Were you


aware of a problem? Yeah, because she got stated -- stated -- stated.


To staves statement -- so she had a statement, and then after an


incident with a teacher she was excluded. She tried to take it off


me and I stuck it down my bra, she asked me to leave and I said no,


she took my phone and started shouted me in the face when she


took it out of my hand so I pushed her out of my face. Did you push


her hard? Not that hard. She was sent off to another site, she


didn't like it. It was all boys things, welding, carpentry, motor


mechanics, I didn't want to do that. This is the last refuge for


children who don't get on with mainstream education. After a whole


term at home, Chloe spent a month here at a privately of-run


alternative provision. -- privately-run alternative


provision. For some kids, Chloe included, places like this are too


alternative. She wanted to resit an English GCSE, to try to get a


better grade, but she couldn't. Because GCSEs aren't actually


taught here. Clearly it is a no-swearing zone


for the meal, end story, I think we have some young ladies doing the


waitressing. The morning drill is led by ex-army officer Chris Jones,


he set up Build A Future to reengage teenagers, turned off by


school. That's it from me, have a good morning, guys, crack on.


It is certainly not an alternative to school. I personally believe the


way forward is for a young person not to be excluded but to have a


bit of this as part of their education, as well as what goes on


in school. It it is very important for them to carry on with their


GCSEs. We don't offer that, we do alternatives to that.


Across England, alternative provisions do their best for pupils


permanently or temporarily excluded. Eventhough permanent exclusions are


going down, the number of children being educated at alternative


provisions going up. The concern that such places are being used as


dumping grounds. The system driven by league table,


driven by A*-C grades, add academys the stakes are higher, the costs of


setting up academys are enormous, getting them established, sometimes


against local opposition has required big promises about results.


English and maths are the key exams which schools are judged by, the


pressure to secure the best GCSE grades great, leaving less room for


pupils, less likely to get them. But there is no data for the


unofficial stuff, the nudging, the forcing out of pupils. So we have


collected some figures which suggest something unusual might be


happening. We found that compared to local


authority schools, academys are entering a smaller number of pupils


for the key GCSEs, maths and English. Our figures were obtained


from the Department of Education and applied to England. In 2010,


3.5% of pupils in academys did not sit English and maths GCSEs,


compared to 2% for all other schools.


In a fifth of academys, 5% of pupils didn't sit English and maths.


Double the proportion of any other schools. In nearly a tenth of


academys, 10% of pupils didn't sit English and maths, it is a more


than trip the proportion of any other schools.


The Department for Education says these figures relate only to


previously failing schools with challenging intakes. Some students,


however hard they try, will nef get a C grade. No matter how well --


never get a C grade, no matter how well they are taught. It it is part


of the rich tapestry of human variation. For those students,


getting any level of expertise and ability in English and maths


enormously important. Chloe was taken off the role of the


academy without being permanently excluded, it means none her grades


are affect its league table results. Now at a new alternative provision,


she knows she will leave at 16 without improving her academic


qualifications. Basically I'm going to be thick all my life and not


have anything. That what you think? Yeah. What do you think, Donna


think they hud let her do GCSEs, surely there is some stuttor --


tutor some where who can help her through it. It doesn't just matter


to people like Chloe, but to all of us. Figures from the Ministry of


Justice show that more than a third of those convicted of involvement


in last year's riots had been excluded from school.


It's an irony that a number of them will have been turf ofed out of


academys, schools at that were meant to lift tardz for all pupils,


whatever -- standards for all pupils, whatever their abilities,


schools, in other words, that were set up to help them succeed. We did


ask for an interview with the Education Secretary, or any


education or schools minister, but no-one was available.


I'm a joined by the head teach of an axe cad me in Essex, and -- axe


cad me in Essex, and someone -- academy in Essex.


Already disadvantaged children are being disadvantaged further by the


actions the academys are taking? The focus on academys doesn't make


sense. We only convrt today academy. I don't agree with exclues, I don't


agree with where it ends up leading to. The focus on academy doesn't


make sense. As educators we have a moral purpose, head of an academy,


I have the same moral purpose. know in terms of formal exclusions


interest are more at academys, by theed of our film this back door


exclusion is taking place. There is a barrister dedicated to helping


parents deal with this. It is a more insidious form of exclusion


because the parents themselves may be vulnerable? You haven't taken


account of where the academys were situated. Academys mark one are in


it disadvantaged areas so there is more issues there. You will get


more unofficial exclusions in disadvantaged areas where a lot of


them are. By the evidence of the figures we have been using have


been in the past failing, it goes on? Clearly, it would be a mistake


to see that as a bad thing, necessarily. What you moon by that


is -- what I mean by that is boundaries are good for children,


it is good to have rules and ringlaigss for children to follow -


- regulations for children to follow at school. When heads have


to exclude a child, they are not doing it, rubbing their hands


together, and having a good time. It it is very sad moment. It takes


years to exclude a chide. unofficial exclusions we are


talking about here, parents who are asked perhaps it would be better if


your child attended another school, do you approve of that? The reason


why because the head trying to save that child. The head trying to do


right by that child. If he exclude the child, then, in a way, he


ruining that child's life chances. Why as if he gives that child an


opportunity to go to another school or alternative provision,


...Interesting You say that, formal exclusion ruins a child's chances


you say, you don't agree with that? As ahood once responsible for the


whole school. What is -- as a head, one is responsible for the whole


school. What is concerning about that film, none of the other pupils


are interviewed. One has to think about the pupils, there is peer


pressure for pupils to misbehave. Academys were et up because there


needed another solution, particularly in disadvantaged areas.


Do you recognise that some schools are under huge pressure for results,


and won't put forward pupils for GCSEs in English and maths,


necessarily, if they think it is a good chance they will fail. Look at


the statistics as far as academys goes, they are sending fewer


children for GCSEs in England? not being entered doesn't mean they


don't count in your figures. Just because they are not entered


doesn't mean they don't count. They do. As of tomorrow, he have child


in year 11 will count towards the final figures, whatever they decide


to do, they count in the figures. In my town I work with a fantastic


group of secondary schools, if I get to theped of a line with a


young person, they are damage -- the end of the line with a young


person, they are damaging their own chances and others chance, I will


get on the phone to another head and say they need a fresh start,


can you do that, what can you do in reply. Labelling them as


permanently excluded limits their life chances, not ruining, but


limiting them. You would rather unofficial exclusion? It is not, it


is giving an alternative chance to succeed. Would you say that any


academy that formally exclude a child has failed? That is


essentially what you are saying? personally would think I have


failed. Would you think any academy that exclude a child has failed?


don't think so, sometimes, unfortunately that can be a


consequence. But it is important to have that consequence as to that


behaviour. There is huge pressure for academys to do well, lots money


to set up, huge pressure for the headteacher to deliver. You might


say it is in the baseline figure, but it looks better for a school if


there are more students passing GCSEs in maths and English?


refuse to believe that a head teacher would exclude a pupil in


order to get better results. Head teachers, after years of working


with a chide, with all sorts of pastoral -- a child, with all sorts


of pastoral support, with a child stealing things, abusing pupils,


assaulting members of staff. In the end a decision has to be made to


permanently exclude them sometimes, that is in order to provide a


secure and safe environment for other children at the school.


Presumably you have turned your school in it into an axe cad me.


Let as put it the other -- academy, let's put it the other way, if you


have to put them unofficially into offsite profession, you would


regard that as failing? Yes. you wouldn't do it? Of course I


would. I have some students offsite and on site, because I'm not


willing to label a young person as permanently excluded unless I have


exhausted everything I can posably. That includes is there -- possibly


do, that includes an alternative place for them to be. Maybe we


hacked phones, maybe we didn't. The editor of the Mirror and the sister


title, the Sunday Mirror, both told the Leveson Inquiry today, it was


possible that illegal hacking did take place in the tabloids in the


early 2000s, if it did, neither one any knowledge of it. Then the chief


executives of the newspaper Trinity Mirror, insisted there was no phone


hacks at the titles, eventhough there were no inquiries. She


attacked the Newsnight investigation that said it did go


on at thep pap, but the paper never complained to Newsnight at the time


or since. How did this whole business about the last July


hacking story from Newsnight come up? It was extraordinary, we were


accused of terrible journalism for our piece last July, when we


revealed conversations, detailed conversations with former Trinity


Mirror journalist, a Sunday Mirror journalist, despite they have


admitted not regting the allegations after we made --


investigating the allegations after we made them. To remind you what we


said in July, we two very well placed sources who had direct


experience of what was going on. One aid that tapes of conversations


of Liz Hurley's messages were actually -- one said that tapes of


conversations of Liz Hurley's messages were played out. They


witnessed that. The others was default PIN codes among certain


journalists, an aid to hacking. One of these two sources described the


process by which hacking would take place. It was a standard process.


Two journalists would simultaneously phone up a target.


One would get theen gaugeed signal, at that would allow the PIN codes


to be tapped in, voice messages would be accessed on that bay is.


We heard allegations that medical records of Leslie Ash were blagged.


Do you think Trinity Mirror are allowing wriggle room on this?


did deny it strongly before, and said all journalists work within


the code, but notice the present tense back then. Another partial


denial today. Headlines, Sunday Mirror phone hacking claim revealed


by Newsnight, evidence of phone hacking at the Sunday Mirror


newspaper has been found by the BBC's programme, Newsnight, its an


Eamonn news source, do you know whether or not that -- it is an


anonymous source, do you know whether or not that is true?


don't believe it to be true. Does it follow from your choice of words


that this is not the matter of an investigation? No it hasn't.


seems no mam tar row points are being argued, om would say, --


narrow -- some narrow points are being argued. Piers Morgan several


years ago admitted to listening to a tape recording by Sir Paul


McCartney left on Heather Mills phone. Today we had had another


partial denial at the inquiry. would like to ask you, as position


of editor, iting with that team, at that time, -- sitting with that


team, at that time. Is it true there was phone hacking going on


among the showbiz team? Not to my knowledge. You say not to your


knowledge, can I take it that it could have been going on and hidden


from you? It might have been. sense are you getting from Leveson?


Taking a step back, the key messages are focusing on the


possible outcomes. The status quo not accept be. The other


possibility is statutory -- acceptable. The other possibility


statutory legislation, highly unlikely. I think it will end up


with a beefed up version of the PCC and real teeth.


I'm' joined by the Editor of the Independent, and the media Editor


of the Guardian who has been there week in week out. Your life's work!


We have been through all the big stars, the fame, the JK Rowling,cy


enthat Mill and Piers Morgan. Now you get a -- Sienna Miller and


Piers Morgan. Now do you get a sense of the thing, there a digging


in? He has come back more serious. He started to getterous about the


end game. What ot of thing will he recommend -- to get serious about


the end game, what sort of thing he will recommend. That is in his mind,


as opposed to the barristers, they are digging into do they hack or


not. But when the judge gets involved, he will have to write the


support report. He asking about -- the report. He's asking about what


sort of body will replace the PCC. Going down that road. You yourself


gave evidence, what was it like, was it low-key or did you feel


under pressure? You feel under pressure, because it is a court of


law. It it is strange, it is a court of law. There are barristers,


they are not wearing wigs or anything. It is a court, he is a


judge, a top judge. You put your hand on the Bible, and you swear


the oath and all that. It feels like a court. The odd thing about


that when you normally give evidence in a court, you reach a


verdict, guilty or not guilty. And in this case, you think he's


already reached the remember direct. I think he thinks we're all guilty.


-- The verdict. I think he thinks we are all guilty. Do you think


that? I don't think it is that, but I think it is the nature of an


inquiry to foblg cuss on the negative rather than the positive -


- focus on the negative rather than the positive, as soon as an editor


talk about how great a newspaper is, people switch off. There is the


McCann problem, he was taken principally by the evidence of Kate


and Gerry McCann, he wants a form of redress for ordinary people


whose lives are turned upside down by the papers. How does he deal


with an owner staying out of the system. We have obviously focused a


lot on hacking, but on the thicks as well, what is ethical, that is a


wider issue. It is maybe not such a starry issue? He keeps stressing,


time and again, it is not just about hacking. It keeps um coming


back to this. He's also trying to find a form of redress for ordinary


people, not celeb tee, who have a grievance with the press. The other


-- celebrities. Who have a grievance with the press. He has to


find a way of bringing Richard Desmond's papers in it, they are


outside the PCC, he has to find a formula to bring them in. Do you


have a sense that he is the judge and so forth, do you get a sense he


understands the pressures, this is not an exclues, but understands the


pressures of putting together a newspaper? Pts at times he does, a


lot of times he doesn't. The pace, if you work on a newspaper, as I


and Chris do, it is just the pace of decision of-making incredibly


fast. And if you are doing broadcasts? You of to do things


incredibly instinctively, making split of-second decisions, and


thinking whether will the competition do. He feels like we


hud pend days deciding -- should spend says deciding to publish a


story and unvaiding someone's privacy. Thep pap has to turn a


shilling? -- the paper has to turn a shilling? I think he thinks we


Saul stand around fill loss fiesing. A lot of what we do very quick and


intuitive. What he would say, if he cut you open, like a piece of rock,


it should, you hud at your core be ethical? -- you should, at your


core, be ethical, do you think there is a whole credo at that has


to be followed by all journalists? Yes, but if you ask me. How are you


going to do it? If ask me if I'm ethical, of course you will say,


yes, of course I am. Would you find telling me something I didn't know


bf. At least he has looked at d before. At least he has looked at


on official the hard cases. question before we have thought


about what exactly would replace the P cfpl C, you think there is a


level -- PCC, you think there is a level of self-censorship on the


tabloids? I think they are tamer. Duller? Yes, if you go through the


Sunday papers, you certainly notice it. One glaring example, the sad


death of Garyp Speed, I think in the past, the tabloids would have


been all over that. I mean, the mysterious death of a top football.


They all left it alone, pretty much much. I think that was a turning


point. Do you agree? I think Chris touched on something, I'm not sure


Britain a worse place for it. Interest will be an inquest into


the death, 0 interest will be some kind of proper prohe is, interest


ought to be to allow -- process, he ought to be allowed to do that.


That's all from Newsnight tonight. Gavin will be here tomorrow, do


join him. Good night from all of us Another cold night out there. A


widespread frost forming, exept in parts of Northern Ireland and


Scotland, where temperatures are rise above freezing. Tomorrow


turning cloud and rain spilling in. Clouding across Wales and North


West England for north-east England sparkling unshine before the


morning mist and fog has cleared away. For East Anglia a chilly day.


Up hien turning hazy by -- sunshine turning hazy by day. Drizzleley


rain, turning damp around the west coast of Wales. Further east a dry,


bright day, clouding over. Much more cloud across Northern Ireland,


a dull, damp, morning, the afternoon seeing skies brightening.


A milder day too, damp weather pushing into out west Scotland,


north-east Scotland stays fine and sunny once more. More significant


changes of the next few days, most places look -- over the feck few


days, most places -- over the next Brighter skies across northern


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark.

An exclusive on the rebellion inside Syria, how some School Academies keep low achievers out of GSCE averages and phone hacking.

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