Managing Editor's Note: From the Hacked Off site:
Hacked Off was founded to campaign for a public inquiry into illegal information-gathering by the press and into related matters including the conduct of the police, politicians and mobile phone companies. Only a full public inquiry, we argued, could put the truth of the hacking scandal before the public and ensure that necessary lessons were learned. The summer revelations relating to Milly Dowler and others convinced the public and the political world of the need for such an inquiry and we did all we could to ensure that it was given powers to tackle all the issues effectively.
Now the inquiry is established and the terms of reference are fixed, Hacked Off will campaign for a new independent system that:
• Makes news outlets, editors and journalists properly accountable for what they publish
• Has the powers and the remit to do investigations into issues of public concern
• Has adequate, meaningful and proportionate sanctions and redress
• Is transparent about its process, funding and decisions
• Prevents the dominance of over-powerful media organisations
• Ensures transparency in dealings between politicians, the police, public servants and the media
• Provides adequate and accessible privacy protection
• Protects journalism that is in the public interest
We have asked them to investigate whether similar "hacking" has taken place in the Dr. Andrew Wakefield MMR British Medical Journal story that has lead to a lawsuit by Dr. Wakefield. To date, no response.
Write today to Hacked Off asking them to explain the presence of former Liberal-Democrat Member of Parliament Evan Harris as an advisor to their organisation and asking for their support over Brian Deer’s MMR investigation before the UK’s Leveson Inquiry. Write to Hacked Off founders Martin Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org) director of Media Standards Trust and journalist Brian Cathcart (B.Cathcart@kingston.ac.uk) as well as Thais Portilho-Shrimpton the organisation’s employee at the Inquiry (email@example.com).
Please use the form letter below.
Martin Moore, Director Media Standards Trust and Hacked Off
Dear Mr Moore,
Following John Stone's series of articles in Age of Autism (http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/01/contagion-and-cnn-dr-sanjay-guptas-pretend-interviews-in-hollywood-and-real-life.html , http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/01/media-standards-trust-and-hacked-off-director-martin-moore-stonewalls-over-evan-harris-and-brian-dee.html & http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/01/evan-harris-distances-himself-from-brian-deer-position-remains-untenable.html ) we are concerned about Hacked Off's public role. Hacked Off was purportedly started to support ordinary citizens in the UK who had become the victims of unethical and invasive journalism particularly at the hands of the Murdoch owned press, and to support them at the Leveson Inquiry, set up to investigate these matters by British Prime Minister, David Cameron.
It is troubling therefore after many representations that Hacked Off has failed to express concern about the ethical breaches of Brian Deer's MMR investigation detailed in the second of Stone's articles, and has accepted demonstrably false assurances by Hacked Off advisor Evan Harris that he was not involved in that investigation (Stone's third article).
Hacked Off have been provided with evidence that as recently as last year Harris regarded himself as participant in Deer's investigation stating in a BMJ article in relation to the events of February 2004:
“Within a week [after receiving a telephone call from Deer] we were in the Lancet offices explaining to a stunned editorial team what lay behind that fateful 1998 paper.”
Harris wrote an editorial in the Sunday Times supporting Deer's initial allegations against Wakefield (http://www.bmj.com/content/328/7438/528.full ) and on 15 March 2004 led a debate on MMR and autism referencing material "released to the Sunday Times by the strategic health authority" (http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/2004/mar/15/mmr-vaccinations-and-autism ).
It therefore appears that Harris was deeply involved in the investigation, and we look forward to your explanation of why Hacked Off still accepts his word now that he was not.
As to the Deer's investigation itself Hacked Off has been provided with webpages in which Deer published the names of children participant in the Lancet paper in 2004-6. It has been provided with evidence that Deer's own words that his editor at the Sunday Times had an agenda (http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c672.extract ). It has been provided with corroboration Deer himself that he indulged in the practice known as blagging (using a false identity when conducting interviews) in the course of the investigation (http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2011/07/another-manufactured-controversy/#comment-187655 ). It has seen statements from Deer indicating he had accessed confidential documents in the MMR litigation belonging to litigant families (http://briandeer.com/wakefield/jabs-cruelty.htm & http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2011/07/another-manufactured-controversy/#comment-187655 ) , and that he came to a secret arrangement with General Medical Council not to be named in the proceedings against Dr Wakefield and colleagues (http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/3362116/a-deer-in-the-headlights.thtml ).
So far Hacked Off has failed to respond to any of these issues and is just blanking enquiries.
It therefore seems that Hacked Off are operating double standards and there are some breaches of journalistic ethics and citizens' rights that it does not wish to be brought to light. Nor is it possible to understand the MMR affair unless these buried matters are finally addressed. Please will you address them now and make a statement.