Hall told the joint committee on privacy and injunctions that websites such as Twitter and Google “have this free rein, it is completely unpoliced. There has to be some policing because you can’t have free wheel when you are ruining people’s lives.”
The former editor said that due to the unpoliced nature of the internet, it was far harder for his clients to dispute claims made online, and that newspapers are subject to far tighter control than their digital counterparts.
Hall cited a case involving spurious claims posted to the holiday peer review website TripAdvisor, where a user who had posted malicious statements about a hotel was found to have been funded by a rival company. Hall claimed that the case was significantly more difficult to pursue because it was online than had it appeared in a national newspaper.
Testifying at the same session Max Clifford, the high-profile publicist, told MPs and peers that in the wake of the Leveson inquiry newspapers have become frightened to attack the rich and powerful “In the present climate, you wouldn’t have heard about MPs fiddling their expenses.”
Clifford said that the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) “might as well not exist. I’ve never known them help anyone. Take the McCanns. The PCC had nothing to do with them, they didn’t want to know.”
Both Hall and Clifford argued that the British press had been “shackled” by revelations stemming from the phone-hacking scandal that erupted last year.
Source: The Times