Coogan reveals invasive behaviour from journalists at Leveson Inquiry

This afternoon actor, comedian and writer, Steve Coogan, gave evidence at the Leveson Inquiry.

As the subject of phone hacking by NOTW, and attention from the press for over a decade, Coogan was one of the first public figures to sue News International.

In his evidence Coogan claimed that he "never entered into a Faustian pact with the press", and that the invasions into his private life that he, and those around him have suffered, are not justified by his public profile.

He revealed that, included in Mulcaire's notebooks were his account number, the exact amount of money he withdrew from an ATM, the amount he paid for a hotel, and the telephone number of a girl he was seeing at the time. He also divulged that a journalist rang his phone provider pretending to be him, that he had seen journalists rummaging through his bin, and that his daughter's great grandmother was phoned by a journalist pretending to be from the council conducting a survey, all in attempts to gather information about him.

He stated, referring to the disregard of the subjects of the invasive reporting that, "like the mafia, 'it's just business'".

In concluding the evidence that he gave, including many examples of untruthful reporting where journalists clearly had not checked their facts, Coogan recommended a privacy law where those in the public eye were protected, unless the information is genuinely in the interest of the public.
He also made clear that "what is very important to me is press freedom", and that "brilliant journalism" in this country needs to be protected.

He also wished to make clear, at the end of his evidence that both himself, and Hugh Grant were not there simply for themselves. Although they have both been personally affected by invasions from the press into the private lives, they appeared at the Leveson Inquiry on behalf of others who could not themselves "stomach it".

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