Actor Hugh Grant has sensationally called for journalists to be given the right to hack into mobile phone voicemail messages if it helps to expose crime and wrongdoing.
The Four Weddings and a Funeral star is the public face of campaign group Hacked Off, whose supporters are calling for tougher legislation of the British media in the wake of the News of the World snooping scandal last year (11).
Grant successfully sued bosses of the now-defunct tabloid after it emerged a private investigator working for the newspaper had intercepted his voicemail messages, but he has now admitted he supports the newsgathering technique if it is used in the public interest.
The Hollywood star tells Sky News, "Meaningful regulation of the press frees it up... Hacked Off very much stands for freeing up public interest journalism. We actually campaigned for public interest defences in law for things like, for instance, phone hacking.
"For some of the people at Hacked Off, we would say if you hacked someone's phone to discover someone's a paedophile or to uncover Mps' expenses (fraud), that's fine - you shouldn't be prosecuted. So, for public interest journalism, yeah. (For) interesting-to-the-public journalism which abuses people, no. Something has to be done about that."
The British Government set up an independent review of press regulation in the U.K. last year amid allegations the News of the World had accessed voicemail messages sent to crime victims and the families of dead soldiers.