Actor Hugh Grant wins British tabloid hacking case

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Actor Hugh Grant, who has waged a long and public battle to confront intrusive and sometimes illegal tactics by the British tabloid press, won a fresh court victory (Guardian) against a second major newspaper group which he accused of “illegal activities carried out on an institutionalized basis.”

In a UK High Court settlement on Monday, the publisher of the Daily Mirror – a once thriving left-leaning tabloid – admitted illegal hacking by several of its titles and paid a financial settlement to Grant. He said it would be donated to the campaigning group Hacked Off.

In a section of the judgment against Mirror Group Newspapers, the company acknowledges senior staff “condoned, encouraged or actively turned a blind eye to the widespread culture of unlawful information gathering activities.” It goes on that “repeated and prolonged intrusions into innocent people’s lives” could have been halted had it investigated the claims when they first emerged in 2006.

It is the latest settlement in a multi-year chain of legal campaigns against leading British publishers accused of using private detectives and illicit methods to intercept the voicemail messages of celebrities, victims of crime, and others. The campaign, led in part by Grant and former world motorsport federation boss Max Mosley, has led to court settlements, the closure of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World paper, and a public inquiry into media law which has led to a new regulatory regime for British newspaper publishers.

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