The scandal for which the Leveson inquiry was set up led to the closure of the News of the World [GALLO/GETTY]
Piers Morgan, a former editor of British tabloid newspapers and current CNN talk show host, has denied ever publishing a story obtained through illegal means during testimony before a UK inquiry on phone hacking.
Piers Morgan, who worked as an editor for News of the World and Daily Mirror, gave his testimony to the Leveson Inquiry via video link from Los Angeles, California, on Tuesday.
The inquiry was set up by David Cameron, the British prime minister, after allegations of phone hacking at the News of the World led to its closure and triggered a firestorm and questions over journalists’ ethical behaviour.
“I was never directly involved. This was dealt with through the news desk or features desk. An editor in that position – probably most editors – they just wouldn’t get involved,” he said.
Morgan said that journalists knew they had to “operate within the law enshrined in their contracts of employment” and that he did not have concerns that they were breaking the law with regards to using private investigators.
Earlier, former News of the World TV editor Sharron Marshall and the head of a journalists’ union, Steve Turner, appeared at the inquiry.
The Sunday paper, which had been in circulation for 169 years, was published by News International, the newspaper subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.
The scandal led to the resignation of Cameron’s communications director and executives at News International.
The inquiry, chaired by Justice Leveson, an English judge, is in its fifth week and is examining the culture, practice and ethics of the press in the United Kingdom.
Victims of phone hacking are also testifying at the inquiry, but participants are decided on whether they played, or may have played, a direct and significant role in relation to the matters to which the inquiry relates, according to the BBC.
Morgan was hired by CNN in September 2010 and hosts “Piers Morgan Tonight”, what the channel calls a “candid, in-depth newsmaker interview programme”. The show premiered in January 2011.