Beginning in 2011, The Times published a series of investigations into sexual abuse of young girls by groups of older men in Rotherham. The newspaper highlighted a series of failings by police and social services, leaving girls easy prey for sexual predators.
In 2013, The Times named Arshid Hussain as a serial abuser of young girls. Inquiries, investigations and convictions followed, but only after The Times had taken the brave decision to identify the guilty men, in spite of attempts by police to gag the newspaper.
Andrew Norfolk, the Times journalist who won several awards for his brave work on the story, says: “In the brave new world of section 40, the August 2013 article might never have been published. We might not have dared to name Hussain because when that decision was taken we had no expectation that any inquiries would result. We would have faced the prospect of being sued by a man who knew we would be ordered to pay his legal costs, even if we won the case. No story, no inquiries, no justice. Is that what the government really wants?”