Fri 21 January 2022

For over three years, Byline Investigates Editor Graham Johnson has been exposing unlawful information gathering in Britain’s best selling tabloids. Here’s what he’s learned so far

In 2015, I got a tip that the Mail had phone hacked and ‘blagged’ just like its rivals at the News of The World, The Sun and the Mirror titles. I spent a couple of years tracking down whistleblowers who’d worked at the Mail, private investigators and going through documents.

In March 2017, I started publishing the results of these investigations exclusively on, the crowdfunded website which eventually gave rise to – a news site specifically dedicated to unearthing corrupt practices in Britain’s corporate media.

To be honest, our readers weren’t that surprised that the Mail had been involved in unlawful information gathering. Many assumed, rightly or wrongly, that the paper was no different, if not worse, than its Fleet Street rivals. However, what was significant, was that the group’s controversial Editor-in-Chief Paul Dacre had given categorial denials to the Leveson Inquiry that phone hacking had NEVER taken place at his papers.

Our stories revealed that his evidence was wrong.

Outraged by this state-of-affairs, Mr Dacre tried to personally sue us in 2017.

The big problem for Mr Dacre is that giving the wrong evidence to a public inquiry – especially under oath – is a straight-forward criminal offence under the Inquiries Act 2005. Which is the real reason why the full list of our 53 stories below is important. That means, that if Byline Investigates is right, and Paul Dacre is wrong, he faces up to 51 weeks in jail. And it’s much easier to prove than, say, perjury, by the way.

Outraged by this state-of-affairs, Mr Dacre tried to personally sue us in 2017. However, armed with the facts from our stories, a strong public interest defence – and some pro-bono help from a couple of top media lawyers – we batted him off. In the meantime, our generous readers crowdfunded us £15,000 which we ploughed straight into paying for more stories about the Mail.

We started making short videos on Twitter, which clocked-up hundreds of thousands of views. And last year, we branched out into other controversies involving the Mail. For example, one of my colleagues began writing stories about Meghan Markle’s libel case against the Mail on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday continue to deny that they were involved in phone hacking, and Paul Dacre says he still stands by everything he said at the Leveson Inquiry.

Today, you can decide who’s right by clicking on the links below and making your own mind up.

If you wish to support our ongoing investigation into crime and malpractice at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, you can donate to our crowdfunder. Last, but certainly not least, if you have a tip, or any information you think might be useful to us, please email us at





 Graham Johnson is the Editor of Byline Investigates


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