Quick Jump: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



Black proposals: See ‘Hunt/Black plan’, below.

Blagging: The practice of obtaining personal data or confidential information by impersonation or another method of deception. Typically this would involve phoning an organisation – such as a school, bank, phone or insurance company – and soliciting private information about a target individual by pretending to be either that individual or someone else with legitimate access to that individual’s private information. See ‘Operation Motorman’, ‘Operation Glade’, below.

Sebastian Bowles: A British boy, then 11 years of age, Bowles was one of 28 people killed in a coach crash on 13 March 2012, while returning from a skiing holiday in Switzerland. As Sir Brian Leveson noted in the Report, the tragedy was “relevant to the work of the Inquiry not simply because of the way in which it has been reported in the press and the extent to which the press intruded into the grief of the family but also because all this happened while the Inquiry was underway, immediately after evidence about intrusive reporting which was to similar effect had been given”.

Broadsheet: See ‘Quality press’, below.

BSkyB bid: See under Themes & Topics, ‘The News International bid for BSkyB’.


Calcutt Report: Much referred to during the Inquiry, the 1990 report of the committee chaired by Sir David Calcutt QC called for more press accountability and improved complaints handling. It recommended the setting up of a new Press Complaints Commission to replace the Press Council. He produced a second Report in 1993 saying the PCC was inadequate, but this was shelved by the Major government. See under Themes & Topics, ‘History of Regulation’ and ‘PCC’.

Caryatid: See ‘Operation Caryatid’, below.

Cash for Honours scandal: A UK political scandal of 2006-07 concerning the connection between political donations and the award of life peerages.

Cheque-book journalism: A pejorative term used to describe newspaper stories for which rights have been obtained via payment to the source or subject.

Chilling: A term used of actions or processes which tend to discourage, usually by indirect means such as financial or political pressure, investigations by journalists that are in the public interest. For example, the cost risks to news publishers of lengthy legal actions are often said to ‘chill’ investigations of the powerful and wealthy.

Conscience clause: The National Union of Journalists urged Leveson to back the inclusion of a clause in journalists’ contracts of employment giving them protection from sacking or victimisation if they objected to being compelled by their bosses to act unethically in pursuit of a story.

Core Participants: A designated list of key individuals and organisations selected by Inquiry chair Sir Brian Leveson on the basis that they:

  1. Played, or may have played, a direct and significant role in relation to the matters to which the Inquiry related;
  2. Had a significant interest in an important aspect of the matters to which the Inquiry related; or
  3. May have been subject to explicit or significant criticism during the Inquiry proceedings or in the Report, or in an interim report.
See also ‘Core Participant Victims’, below.

Core Participant Victims: Sir Brian Leveson’s list of Core Participants (see above) included 51 individuals designated as Core Participant Victims. These were politicians, sportsmen, other public figures and members of the public who may have been victims of media intrusion. See also ‘Core Participants’, above.


Desist Notice: See under Themes & Topics, ‘Harassment’.

Millie Dowler: The trigger for the Inquiry was the revelation that reporters from the News of the World had hacked the phone of 13-year-old murder victim Milly Dowler – a case that was to be examined closely in evidence. See under Themes & Topics, ‘Phone hacking’.


Editors’ Code of Practice: See under Themes & Topics, ‘Codes’.

Christopher Edwards: A 30-year-old British man with a history of mental illness, Edwards was arrested for a minor breach of the peace in November 1994. He was later murdered at Chelmsford Prison, having been placed in a remand cell with Richard Linford, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Edwards’ mother Audrey gave evidence to the Inquiry of the sympathetic and important role of the press during her family’s search for justice for their son.

Elvedon: See ‘Operation Elvedon’, below.


Fake Sheikh: See under People, ‘Mazher Mahmood’.

Freedom of the press: See under Themes & Topics, ‘Censorship and freedom of expression’.


Glade: See ‘Operation Glade', below.


Hacking: Also known as phone hacking. The practice, which began in the 1990s, whereby newspapers illegally accessed the voicemails of celebrities, politicians, police officers, the royal household, rival journalists, ordinary people in the news such as bereaved families and the relatives, friends and associates of target individuals. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘Phone hacking’.

Hillsborough: The Sun’s coverage of the Hillsborough Disaster, in which 96 Liverpool FC fans lost their lives, was highlighted during the Inquiry as an example of the appalling impact that insensitive and irresponsible reporting of death and disaster can have. In his Report, Sir Brian Leveson wrote, “The extent of this egregious failure… exemplifies many of the concerns which have been ventilated in the Inquiry, not the least in relation to the intrusion into grief and shock, but also in relation to accuracy... It also underlines the enormous power of the press and, as a consequence, its absolute obligation to exercise that power responsibly. The press has real influence in our society and is given privileges in law in order to fulfil its function. The story underlines the need for a regulatory mechanism to challenge the press and to require it to justify itself.”

Hunt/Black plan: Proposal for reform of UK press regulation supported by the leading newspaper groups and put forward at the Inquiry by Lord Black of Brentwood and Lord Hunt of the Wirral. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘Regulatory models’.


IMPRESS: A regulator of news publishing established in the aftermath of the Inquiry and officially recognised as meeting the standards set in the Leveson Report, but boycotted by the national and much of the local press. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘IMPRESS’.

Internet journalism: Though its Terms of Reference did not refer directly to the internet, the Inquiry took the view from the outset that ‘the press’ meant ‘newspapers whether printed or online’ and that in consequence its recommendations were intended to apply to news publishing online (where it was not already regulated by another body). See also under Themes & Topics, ‘The Internet’.

Intrusion: The term ‘intrusion’, as used at the Inquiry, tended to embrace both activities that were illegal, such as breaches of privacy rights under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998, and conduct that was legal but was generally considered unethical or in breach of codes of practice, such as publishing photographs of the bereaved in distress. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘Intrusion’.

Investigative journalism: This term was used frequently at the Inquiry, generally to refer to public-interest journalistic inquiry requiring significantly more time and resources than run-of-the-mill news reporting. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘Investigative Journalism’.

IPSO: The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), chaired by Sir Alan Moses, replaced the PCC, which closed in 2014. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘IPSO’.

Irish model: The press regulation system in the Irish Republic, which was considered by the Inquiry as a possible model for UK press regulation. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘Regulatory models’.




Leveson 2: The projected second phase of the Inquiry was to look at criminality in the press, its connections with politics and the police, who was responsible and how such failures of corporate governance could have occurred. Although Sir Brian Leveson and others had urged that Part 2 should go ahead, it was cancelled by Culture Secretary Matt Hancock in February 2018. In May 2018, an attempt to overturn the cancellation in the House of Commons failed by nine votes. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘Leveson 2’.

The Lobby: The term which refers to the group of political journalists in the UK Houses of Parliament with special access to the Members' Lobby.


Madeleine McCann: The disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann in Portugal in 2007 prompted intense media coverage – with some dozen newspapers eventually admitting and paying damages for hundreds of libels either against the parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, or against others including, notably, a British citizen living in Portugal, Robert Murat. The Inquiry heard from the McCanns about their experience and also questioned editors and reporters. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘McCann case’.

Media plurality: The term, used frequently during the Inquiry, refers to the diversity of ownership of news organisations and the range of information they make available. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘Plurality’.

Motorman: See ‘Operation Motorman’, below.



Operation Caryatid: The original Metropolitan Police investigation into phone hacking commenced in December 2005, following a complaint that journalists at the News of the World were listening in to voicemail messages on mobile phones belonging to members of the Royal household. Although the investigation led to the arrest in August 2006 of the paper’s royal editor, Clive Goodman, and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, the full extent of the paper’s hacking was not brought to light.

Operation Elvedon: Operation Elveden investigated allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials. It was led by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers of the Metropolitan Police Service, who also led Operation Weeting (into phone hacking) and Operation Tuleta (into email hacking). See also under Themes & Topics, ‘Ongoing investigations’.

Operation Glade: Following the revelation that private investigator Steve Whittamore had been accessing information from the Police National Computer, this 2003 investigation looked into allegations of offences under the Data Protection Act by the British press. Although ten men working for private detective agencies were charged with crimes relating to the illegal acquisition of confidential information, no journalists were charged. The judge, John Samuels QC, queried the fact that no one from any newspaper had been charged even though Fleet Street titles had clearly commissioned the activity.

Operation Motorman: Operation Motorman was the 2003 investigation by the Information Commissioner's Office into allegations of offences under the Data Protection Act by the British press. It lay at the heart of the Inquiry’s consideration of the issue of the illegal and unethical acquisition of personal data by and on behalf of journalists. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘Operation Motorman’.

Operation Tuleta: Beginning in 2011, this Metropolitan Police investigation looking into email hacking was one of three headed by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, alongside Operation Weeting (into phone hacking) and Operation Eleveden (into bribery). See also under Themes & Topics, ‘Ongoing investigations’.

Operation Weeting: Beginning on 26 January 2011, this Metropolitan Police investigation looked into allegations of phone hacking in what became known as the News of the World phone-hacking affair. It was conducted alongside Operation Elveden (into bribery) and Operation Tuleta (into email hacking). All three operations were led by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, who in written and oral evidence to the inquiry provided updates on progress.


Phone hacking: See under Themes & Topics, ‘Phone hacking’.

Plurality: The term, used frequently during the Inquiry, refers to the relationship between the ownership of news organisations and the range of information they make available. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘Plurality’.

Press regulation: See under Themes & Topics, ‘History of Regulation’ and ‘Regulatory models’.

Paparazzi: The activities of independent and agency photographers who track the lives of the famous were a recurring theme of the Inquiry, their behaviour portrayed by several witnesses as a form of harassment. See under Themes & Topics, ‘Photography’.

PCC Code: See under Themes & Topics, ‘PCC’ and ‘Codes’.

Plurality: See ‘Media Plurality’, above.

PressBoF: The Press Board of Finance, known as PressBoF, was the industry body that funded and oversaw the Press Complaints Commission and the Editors’ Code Committee. The Board ceased to operate following the abolition of the PCC in 2014 and was replaced by the Regulatory Funding Company. See under Themes & Topics, ‘PCC’.

Public interest: See Themes & Topics, ‘The public interest’.


Quality press: One of the traditional labels applied to those British newspapers also referred to as ‘up-market’ and (before the format changes of recent years) ‘broadsheet’. At the time of the Inquiry, these included The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent and the Financial Times, plus their Sunday (or in the case of the FT, weekend) equivalents. They are often distinguished by the seriousness of their coverage or by the better-off readers they seek to address.


Recognition body: The chief novelty of the Inquiry’s Recommendations on regulation was the proposal for a ‘recognition body’ whose job would be to certify that a press regulator (or regulators) met the standards of effectiveness and independence set out in the Report. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘Recognition and statute’.

Right to privacy: The question of whether, or how far, the right to privacy was qualified in the case of prominent or famous people arose many times in the Inquiry. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘Privacy & Celebrity’.

Royal Commissions on the Press: See under Themes & Topics, ‘History of Regulation’.


Sean Hoare: A former reporter on the News of the World who played a central role in exposing the News International phone-hacking scandal. According to an inquest into his death in 2011, Sean died of liver disease and alcoholism, exacerbated by media interest in the phone-hacking scandal.

Section 40: A proposal included in the Leveson Recommendations that would enable judges to require newspapers to pay the costs of legal action against them, even if they had won, if that publisher did not participate in recognised regulation. This was intended as a means of applying pressure on papers to participate, and to guarantee that complainants were not denied access to justice for lack of money. Most of the press industry opposed it and in February 2018 then Culture Secretary Matt Hancock announced that Section 40 would not go ahead. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘Section 40’.

Select Committee: See under Themes & Topics, ‘Select Committees’.

Statutory regulation: Press regulation established or operated under statute (that is, by Act of Parliament) and condemned by most of the press and others in Britain as incompatible with freedom of expression. Sir Brian Leveson insisted that the model put forward in his Recommendations could not be described as statutory. See also ‘Statutory underpinning’, below.

Statutory underpinning: Where regulation is not established by statute but where some legislation is used to support or facilitate it. See also ‘Statutory regulation’, above.

Super-injunction: A type of injunction that prevents not only the publication of information but also any reporting of the fact that an injunction is in place. See under Themes & Topics, ‘Privacy & Celebrity’.

Parameswaran Subramanyan: A Tamil hunger striker who had successfully sued the Daily Mail for saying that he was in fact eating. His lawyer, Magnus Boyd, told the Inquiry that Mr Subramanyan had suffered significant damage to his reputation and received death threats as a result of the libel.


Tapas Seven: Friends of Gerry and Kate McCann who were dining with them in Portugal on the night Madeleine McCann disappeared. They successfully sued the Daily Express and received damages. See under Themes & Topics, ‘McCann case’.

Tuleta: See ‘Operation Tuleta’, above.




Diane and Alan Watson: Brother and sister who both died in separate, tragic circumstances. Their parents, James and Margaret Watson, argued that the press coverage of Diane’s murder in the playground at school aged 16 directly led to Alan’s later suicide. Margaret told the Inquiry that current defamation legislation left the families of murder victims unable to challenge malicious falsehoods about the bereaved. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘Press abuses to 2011’.

Weeting: See ‘Operation Weeting’, above.



Joanna Yeates: The circumstances surrounding the murder in December 2010 of 25-year-old Joanna Yeates prompted huge newspaper interest, including the publication of false accusations about her landlord, Christopher Jefferies. Libel action was brought by Jefferies against eight publications, resulting in the payment to him of substantial damages. The case pointed up some of the wider problems in press standards which provided the background to the Leveson Inquiry. See also under Themes & Topics, ‘Press abuses to 2011’.



Understand all the key topics and the context behind the Inquiry's findings

Journalism & society
View more
View more
View more
Future of journalism
View more
Background & history
View more
Subsequent developments
View more
Ethics & abuses
View more