Changes following a five-month consultation on the draft guidelines include fresh guidance on prosecutions in cases involving fishing expeditions, and examples of stories that could be described as raising important matters of public debate.The guidance advises prosecutors to consider what information was available to a journalist at the start of their investigation into the target of a story. This means that fishing expeditions – where the journalist does not have prima facie evidence of wrongdoing before using illicit newsgathering methods – will face closer scrutiny by prosecutors when deciding whether to launch criminal proceedings.

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