Phone-hacking lawyer Mark Lewis has expressed his support for Press Gazette’s #proudtobeajournalist Twitter campaign.
On Tuesday Press Gazette invited Twitter followers to say what makes them ‘proud to be a journalist’in a bid to balance the negative coverage being given to British journalism during the Leveson Inquiry.
The intention has been to provide a snapshot of the sort of public interest work which the vast majority of UK journalists are involved in.
Lewis, who was spied on by the News of the World and represented the Dowler family, told Press Gazette: ‘The majority of journalists are good honest people who ensure that there are proper checks to any abuses of the democratic system.
‘That is the case for the majority of journalists who worked on the News of the World. One of the tragedies of all this, is that a newspaper was closed down because of the actions of a few.
‘The honest reporters suffered, the office staff suffered and the support staff suffered. Likewise the readers of the best selling paper lost out.
‘Their Sunday paper went because of the actions of a few and the woeful mismanagement caused by deciding to cover up what had gone on.
‘In all professions there are some practitioners who let the side down. Dishonest lawyers are a disgrace to the legal profession, I regret that they exist but that does not mean that the entire legal profession should be tarnished by the actions of a few.
‘Imagine a situation where people could not be represented because a few had cheated. That is the position with journalists. A paper was shut down. Not by the claimants but by the management. They tried to cover up the very wrong doing that they pride themselves on exposing.”
Hundreds of journalists have so far used the Twitter hashtag #proudtobeajournalist to reveal work they have done in the public interest – from exposing major scandals, to saving a school crossing patrol.
Lewis said: ‘If this was a Facebook page, I’d press ‘like’.
‘A free press reports all matters and sits side by side with the people in a democracy. The ‘fourth estate’ keeps the other estates in check. Think MPs’ expenses scandal. Aim to expose corruption, don’t let others robe themselves as journalists and then dirty the clothes. Be proud to expose corruption and wrongdoing. “
If you would like to nominate instances of worthwhile journalism which you have been involved in, or know of, do so on Twitter or else email firstname.lastname@example.org – or use the comment box below this story.