Exaro editor says VIP paedophile coverage 'justifiable' despite closure of Operation Midland - Press Gazette

Exaro editor says VIP paedophile coverage 'justifiable' despite closure of Operation Midland

The editor-in-chief of investigative news website Exaro has defended its publication of a series of explosive stories of on an alleged VIP paedophile ring, despite Scotland Yard shelving its £2 million inquiry into the allegations.

Speaking a day after the Metropolitan Police closed Operation Midland with no charges made, Mark Watts said: “In terms of what we published, you have to recognise that we were careful with what we published.

“For example, we didn’t name any of the people accused in our initial reports until things progressed a bit further.

“If you look back through what we published, I think it was all justifiable on the strength of the information as it was at the time.”

Watts earlier told Talk Radio that there “is still a lot more to come out of this whole saga”.

He said: “The public really does not know and the media really does not know what has gone on with [Operation Midland]. I think we know more than the rest of the media.  But I would stress that we don’t know everything that has gone on.”

The Metropolitan Police statement regarding the closure of Operation Midland also disclosed that detectives were continuing to carry out inquires into a number of allegations from former officers that concerns about sexual abuse involving police figures were not fully investigated in previous dedcades.

In total, it said it  was managing 32 such investigations.

Watts said: "It’s interesting because there is a real sting in the tail of the Met statement yesterday because the final paragraph of quite a lengthy statement refers to ongoing investigation into past investigations over allegations of child sex abuse against prominent people that were wrongly pulled.” 

Exaro, which launched in 2011, has a dedicated staff of five journalists but also uses freelances.

Its contributors include former Guardian Westminster correspondent David Hencke.



Press Gazette's must-read weekly newsletter featuring interviews, data, insight and investigations.