The Levenson inquiry into media ethics continued today as three high-profile witnesses arrived to give statements and be interviewed. Actress Sienna Miller, J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, and Max Mosley, the former FIA President, appeared before the panel.
The evidence that was provided levelled a number of damning accusations at senior tabloid figures. Further details revealed today will surely put paid to any hopes of the furore surrounding the allegations abating. Rowling described how journalists had targeted her five-year-old daughter, and Mosley criticised the Daily Mail editor-in-chief, Paul Dacre, for his views on sex, stopping short of calling him a hypocrite. The 29-year-old film star Sienna Miller recounted her harrowing experiences with certain members of the press, detailing how she had been chased down the street at midnight by groups of up to ten men.
Rowling, speaking of her “sense of invasion”, explained how she had discovered a letter addressed to her, in her daughter’s schoolbag. “I unzipped her school bag in the evening and among the usual letters from school…I found an envelope addressed to me from a journalist.” The author was upset that her daughter’s school was no longer a place of “complete security from journalists.” She was also left fuming by the “vehement” nature of an article written about her relationship with her husband, which had had a damaging effect on his work life. She described the “vicious” article that claimed her husband, a doctor, was “at the beck and call of his obscenely rich wife” as “wholly untrue”, sending a horrible message to her husband’s colleagues.
Bringing the ethics of popular tabloids into further disrepute, Mosley attacked Dacre on his attempts to “destroy him”. Embroiled in a News of the World sex sting, Mosley asserted that the publisher sought to ruin him for challenging the tabloid. In a speech to the Society of Editors, Dacre had claimed that the Mosley was “guilty of unimaginable depravity”. The former F1 boss responded, stating: “I have no idea what Mr Dacre’s sex life is like, all I know is that he has this preoccupation with schoolboy smut on his website.” He added: “He may have some sort of strange sex life. But the point is, it’s not up to me to go into his bedroom, film him and then write about it. It’s his business.”
More evidence is expected to be given in the following weeks, as Charlotte Church, Anne Diamond, Ian Hurst, Christopher Jefferies and Jane Winter are all scheduled to appear before the panel.