A former editor of Rupert Murdoch's controversial Sun newspaper on Monday admitted that he had no regard for privacy when he edited Britain's best-selling tabloid and tended to “lob in'' anything that “sounded right'' .
Kelvin MacKenzie, who was involved in several controversies during his 13-year editorship between 1981-1994, was giving evidence before a judicial inquiry set up in the wake of the News of the World phone hacking scandal.
Asked whether privacy had ever been an issue for him while deciding whether or not to publish a story, Mr. MacKenzie replied: “Not really, no.''
He believed that “most things, as far as I could see, should be published”.
“My view was that if it sounded right it was probably right and therefore we should lob it in,” he said admitting that this often landed him in trouble, including with his own boss.
Mr. Murdoch, he said, was livid when the Sun was forced to pay £1 million in damages to singer Elton John and subjected him to a 40-minute ``non-stop abuse''.
Alleging that there was a ``tremendous amount of snobbery'' in Fleet Street, Mr MacKenzie said the perception of what was in public interest depended on which paper published a story with tabloids judged differently from ``quality'' newspapers.
"If you had Tony Blair's mobile number and you hacked into it and discovered that he was circumventing the cabinet in order to go to war. If you publish it in the Sun you get six months' jail and if you publish it in the Guardian you get a Pulitzer prize," he said.
There was "no absolute truth in any newspaper" and not always possible to ``get things 100% correct," he argued.
Mr MacKenzie is among several high-profile editors due to appear before the inquiry which resumed on Monday after the Christmas break. (ends)