Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Time to limit the Power of the Murdoch press...?

The Guardian has a series of stories about Rupert Murdoch's UK newspapers, and their propensity to hack the phones of a wide range of establishment figures. This article outlines MPs findings that 

the News of the World  was guilty of;

Amnesia, obfuscation and hush money

hacking phones 'on industrial scale'

And that Scotland Yard and press body failed properly to investigate

The  report rejects executives' lone 'rogue reporter' defence
 The Guardian also reprts that ....

The MPs reserve their most damning passages for the News of the World and others involved in illegal phone hacking. The paper's royal correspondent and a private investigator were jailed in January 2007, but the committee says many others played their part. For the Guardian, which has doggedly pursued this story, revealing last July that the NoW had paid more than £1m to suppress legal actions, the findings are a vindication.
The MPs say they were "struck by the collective amnesia afflicting ­witnesses" from the NoW. These "claims of ­ignorance … and deliberate ­obfuscation" reinforced the impression "that the press generally regard themselves as unaccountable and that News ­International in particular has sought to conceal the truth about what really occurred," the report concludes.
Comprehensive coverage of the story, with the Guardian producing a full suite of facts and reactions, is to be found here

Add to that the bullying history of the paper under the editorship of Tory PR head Andy Coulson, and you have a truly astonishing story of the arrogance of unlimited media power. And this,also from the Guardian...

David Cameron's communications director, Andy Coulson, will come under fresh pressure to defend his editorship of the News of the World and his knowledge about the illegal activities of his journalists amid new allegations about the paper's involvement with private detectives who broke the law.

The Guardian has learned that while Coulson was still editor of the tabloid, the newspaper employed a freelance private investigator even though he had been accused of corrupting police officers and had just been released from a seven-year prison sentence for blackmail.
I can't help but think that, if Gordon Brown was to announce an inquiry into the ownership of the British Press with a view to restricting foreign ownership and limiting Murdoch's power, he would gain hundreds of thousands of votes overnight.

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