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7 things we learned from the Leveson inquiry this week

From Rupert Murdoch’s TV favourites to David Cameron’s text message lessons…

Rebekah Brooks after addressing the Leveson inquiry.
Rebekah Brooks after addressing the Leveson inquiry.
Image: AP Photo/Sang Tan/PA

THE LEVESON INQUIRY into media ethics continues to hear evidence from a range of witnesses including newspaper owners, editors, journalists, celebrities and police officers.

This week, Leveson heard revelations from former News International executive Rebekah Brooks regarding Rupert Murdoch’s admiration for X Factor and the Prime Minister’s texting habits.

Here’s some of what we learned from Leveson this week:

1. LOL

Brooks told the inquiry that during text conversations with David Cameron, the politician would sometimes sign off ‘LOL’ in the mistaken belief it stood for ‘lots of love’. He stopped when she told him that it actually stood for ‘laugh out loud’.

2. Advice

Pressure has increased on culture secretary Jeremy Hunt after Brooks revealed that he had sought advice from News Corp over how he and Downing Street should respond to the unfolding phone hacking scandal. (Hunt is due to give evidence at Leveson himself later this month.)

3. Cystic Fibrosis

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a strongly-worded statement in response to Brooks’ assertions that he and his wife were content to allow the Sun to publish details of their young son’s diagnosis with cystic fibrosis. Brown and his wife said there is no satisfactory explanation to how the paper got access to the private medical records.

4. Amanda Knox

Editor of the Mail Online Martin Clarke said that human error, “over-zealousness” and a mistranslation of the Italian verdict were behind the site’s brief publication of the wrong verdict in the murder conviction appeal of Amanda Knox.

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5. Diary

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson dismissed rumours he had kept a diary while working as a press advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron.


Coulson did, however, admit he had failed to declare a £40,000 News Corp shareholding while he was working for Downing Street. The shares were held while the British government was considering Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB takeover bid.

7. X Factor

Brooks told the inquiry that she and Murdoch had different views on many topics, though they agreed on core issues. One of those differences centred on newspaper content: she said Murdoch felt that the Sun was running too much celebrity gossip, “though he liked the X Factor”.

LOL! ROFL! Rebekah Brooks teaches Cameron textspeak >

Blackmail and night-vision pics: George Michael shares his NotW experiences >

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