Category Archives: News of the World

Was this really in the public interest, Brooks and Coulson?

Articles Today from the News of the World:

‘July 4th, 2011

RUTHLESS lawyers will be banned from berating murder victims’ families in court in the wake of the Milly Dowler trial.
Tough new rules to be unveiled this week will protect their privacy and dignity – with judges forced to halt intimidating, humiliating or distressing questioning.
The safeguards come in a revamped courtroom code aimed at ending the nightmare ordeal faced by thousands of witnesses and innocent victims of crime.
It follows the shameful treatment of Bob and Sally Dowler by lawyers defending their 13-year-old daughter’s killer Levi Bellfield.
The distraught couple endured cruel questions about their sex life, Bob’s porn collection and letters which showed Milly was unhappy.
Such vicious cross-examinations will be halted under a charter of rights for witnesses drawn up by Victims’ Commissioner Louise Casey.
She wants to tilt the justice system back to give victims at least equal status with the rights of suspects.
She said yesterday: “I see lobby groups and campaign organisations in droves on the offender side. Yet victims struggle to get heard.”
Ms Casey will hand her 60-page report to Justice Secretary Ken Clarke on Wednesday.
Among its other proposals is one that courts should have flexible start and end times to make it easier for family members to give evidence. Another is that the bodies of murder victims should be returned to their families within a month.
The report is expected to be backed by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, who chairs the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee overseeing court practice.’

LOUISE CASEY writes for the News of the World

‘MANY of us felt such compassion for the brave family of Milly Dowler and anger at the way they were treated in court.

Sadly for me, although I was shocked and appalled, I wasn’t surprised.
When I started working for the rights of victims I thought I was unshockable. But what I have found over the last year has made my jaw drop.
Like most people I assumed that families who, like the Dowlers, have had their lives ripped apart by criminals, would get all the help they need. And that the criminal justice system would be on their side.
What I discovered is they are often not given the support, care or consideration they deserve. Many are still treated as if they are an “inconvenience”, and this can make their grief worse.
These families deserve not to have to sit next to an offender’s family in court listening to them laughing and joking. They deserve to be told that their rapist is going to be released before they bump into him in the supermarket.
They deserve to bury the body of their child without defence lawyers asking for autopsy after autopsy – in one case I know a 35-day-old baby only got to be buried by her family on what would have been her first birthday.
They deserve to not find out that the murderer of their husband is appealing by reading it in a newspaper. They deserve to be treated with humanity, dignity and most of all a bit of respect.
So when my report comes out about the treatment of families like these, I ask that you be shocked too. And then those in charge might sit up and listen.’

Reaction on Twitter was instantaneous and substantial. Many people are calling for Jeremy Hunt to reconsider his proposal to allow Rupert Murdoch to buy the remaining stock in BSkyB. Here is a small sample of the tweets:

“All you citizen journalists/bloggers – call the NOW newsroom on 0207 782 1001 email to find out their views”

Nicky Campbell

my blood runs cold

Ladies and gentlemen, form an orderly queue:Hacked Off – campaign for a public inquiry into phone hacking: via

Will Straw

Staggering: Milly Dowler’s voicemail was hacked by News of World. Can Brooks & Coulson really claim they knew nothing?

Caitlin Moran

This Milly Dowler/Notw thing is the very worst. Listening to weeping relatives leaving messages to a dead girl – Jesus Christ.

If you want to make your thoughts heard re: & contact

Aditya Chakrabortty

Media studies: The Guardian, the BBC and the Telegraph all have the NOTW’s alleged hacking of Milly Dowler’s mobile as their top story.
Here is a link to the key people in the phone – hacking scandal from the BBC News website and another to a timeline charting the main events.
Whatever unfolds in the next few days and weeks, surely Jeremy Hunt will seriously reconsider his decision to allow Rupert Murdoch’s acquisition of BSkyB?

A link to the NUJ’s Code of Conduct : here

Members of the National Union of Journalists are expected to abide by the following professional principles: 

5. Obtains material by honest, straightforward and open means, with the exception of investigations that are both overwhelmingly in the public interest and which involve evidence that cannot be obtained by straightforward means
6. Does nothing to intrude into anybody’s private life, grief or distress unless justified by overriding consideration of the public interest

Is this justification for deleting messages from the mobile phone of a missing child? Could it be considered in the public interest?

(If you would like links to many of the past articles and information concerning the phone-hacking/blagging scandal, click on the relevant tab above this post and there you’ll find everything you could want to know!)

News International to admit some phone-hacking liability!

News of the World to admit phone hacking liability

breaking news
The owner of the News of the World is to admit liability in a number of cases brought against the paper for alleged phone hacking.

News International says it has approached some claimants with an “unreserved apology”.
It will also establish a compensation fund, with a view to “dealing with justifiable claims efficiently”.

A News of the World reporter and an ex-news editor were arrested earlier this week over the allegations.  BBC NEWS

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 More here at Peston’s Picks Blog (BBC)

James Macintyre
But still they key question remains, about the relationship with and payments to the police from Murdoch press.

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Keir Simmons
News of the World says it has decided to approach some civil litigants in ‘phone hacking’ cases with ‘unreserved apology’.

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Apologies for Phone-hacking : News International to Give up the Fight –

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News International ‘Sorry’ For Phone Hacking

News International has offered an unreserved apology and an admission of liability over the News of the World phone hacking allegations.

The global media giant said it had also instructed lawyers to set up a compensation scheme for a number of public figures to deal with “justifiable claims”.
The company said the announcement follows an “extensive internal investigation” and disclosures through civil legal cases.
In a statement, News International said “past behaviour” at the newspaper in relation to voicemail interception was “a matter of genuine regret”.
It added: “This will begin the process of bringing these cases to a fair resolution with damages appropriate to the extent of the intrusion.”
But the company said it would continue to contest cases that it believed were without merit.
News of the World, a Sunday tabloid newspaper, is accused of intercepting the voicemail of a number of public figures during 2004 to 2006.
More follows…

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Minority Thought
Compare this News International statement from 2009 () with this (). What a difference 2 years make.
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John Prescott

The NOTW has now admitted mass criminality. The Gvt should NOT approve Murdoch’s bid for BSkyB until all investigations are complete


Richard Peppiatt’s Resignation from the Daily Star

Late yesterday afternoon, the Guardian reported a remarkable resignation here. A journalist working at the Star newspaper wrote an angry and scathing letter, here , to Richard Desmond, owner of the Daily Star, giving the reasons for his leaving what must have appeared secure employment with the paper.

The journalist, Richard Peppiatt,admitted in his letter that he had been guilty of submitting stories about celebrities which were untrue and concocting others which had no basis in fact whatsoever. 

Kelly Brook, often the subject of articles in the Daily Star, once asked where the stories came from. Peppiatt in his missive to Desmond says:

“Maybe I should answer that one. I made it up. Not that it was my choice; I was told to. At 6pm and staring at a blank page I simply plucked it from my arse. Not that it was all bad. I pocketed a £150 bonus. You may have read some of my other earth-shattering exclusives.”

To many of us , this admission is remarkable. 

We may have suspected the dearth of veracity in some of the articles we read in such papers, but to have our suspicions confirmed in such a powerful way in Peppiatt’s letter leaves us sighing ‘At Last! One of them has held up his hands and told the truth!’

What seems to have been the straw which broke Peppiatt’s journalistic back was his being ‘forced’ to write articles denigrating Muslims and aimed at a faction of the public only too willing to believe the worst of this group in our society. He writes in his letter to Desmond:

“The decision came inside my local newsstand, whilst picking up the morning papers. As I chatted with Mohammed, the Muslim owner, his blinking eyes settled on my pile of print, and then, slowly, rose to meet my face.
“English Defence League to become a political party” growled out from the countertop.
Squirming, I abandoned the change in my pocket and flung a note in his direction, the clatter of the till a welcome relief from the silence that had engulfed us. I slunk off toward the tube.
If he was hurt that my 25p had funded such hate-mongering, he’d be rightly appalled that I’d sat in the war cabinet itself as this incendiary tale was twisted and bent to fit an agenda seemingly decided before the EDL’s leader Tommy Robinson had even been interviewed.
Asked if his group were to become a political party I was told the ex-BNP goon had replied: “Not for now.”
But further up the newsprint chain it appears a story, too good to allow the mere spectre of reality to restrain, was spotted. It almost never came to this. I nearly walked out last summer when the Daily Star got all flushed about taxpayer-funded Muslim-only loos.
A newsworthy tale were said toilets Muslim-only. Or taxpayer-funded. Undeterred by the nuisance of truth, we omitted a few facts, plucked a couple of quotes, and suddenly anyone would think a Rochdale shopping centre had hired Osama Bin Laden to stand by the taps, handing out paper towels.
I was personally tasked with writing a gloating follow-up declaring our postmodern victory in “blocking” the non-existent Islamic cisterns of evil.”

Many of us interested in daily news outlets had been aware for some time that the mood and direction of the Daily Star had (not so subtly) changed and that the Editor or Desmond himself had decided to throw their support behind the EDL and redouble efforts to stir up public antipathy against Muslims. 
As Peppiatt himself states:

“Our caustic “us and them” narrative needs nailing home every day or two, and when asked to wield the hammer I was too scared for my career, and my bank account, to refuse.”

Is this not what many of us had suspected all along? 

To be so overtly supportive of such a movement is unusual for a British daily, and it will be interesting to see whether the stance of the paper changes now with Peppiatt’s revelations.

The Guardian also prints a reply from the Daily Star:

“Richard Peppiatt worked purely as a casual reporter at the Daily Star for almost two years. Recently he became unhappy after he was passed over for several staff positions. He refers to a Kelly Brook story: in fact, he approached and offered the newspaper that story, vouched for its accuracy, and then asked for and received an extra freelance fee for doing so. Since he wrote his email we have discovered that he was privately warned very recently by senior reporters on the paper after suggesting he would make up quotes. Regarding the allegations over the paper’s coverage of Islam, he was only ever involved in a very minor way with such articles, and never voiced either privately or officially any disquiet over the tone of the coverage. For the record, the Daily Star editorial policy does not hold any negativity towards Islam and the paper has never, and does not endorse, the EDL.”

Is this a suggestion that the revelations in Peppiatt’s letter of resignation are simply bitter vitriolic outpourings from what is a ‘rogue reporter’?

Where have we heard that before, News of the World?

In an ideal world, Peppiatt would be the first of many journalists grafting for these papers to come to their senses and rediscover the ethos and principles they must have had when rookies. They owe it to the rest of us.

Healthy democratic choice in any country is completely dependent on the truth. Facts must be presented honestly to the public for an informed choice to be made. 

Update March 9th:

As well as new links to this story under the ‘Journalists’ tab on this blog, I have come across this recent podcast which adds more detail in an interview with Sean Ellis.

“Ex Daily Star journo Rich Peppiatt” speaks to the Pod Delusion: here 

 A podcast in which he offers further, more detailed reasons for the tone of his resignation letter. 

A fascinating insight, perhaps, into the way papers like the Daily Star operate…. 

Rosie Robertson

News From Nowhere – How the Papers got Their Stories – BBC Radio 4, Thurs. 24th Feb

This saga, long running, some believe, because of poor investigative rigour and lack of will, for whatever reason, on the part of the Met. police force to pursue many strong leads and a welter of evidence, rumbles on.

Recently, thanks to dogged work to keep the story alive by the Guardian, Independent, Channel 4 Dispatches, concerned Bloggers and ‘victims’ from all walks of life, it appears that the feeble flame is at last showing signs of bursting into the roaring fire it should have been at least six years ago.

On our Blog, #PRESSREFORM, here, are links to many articles and comments made about the whole affair over the past years. An example of these would be this :

Secret Phone-hacking Documents – Guardian

We seem now to be moving ever deeper into the murky world of (questionable at best and corrupt at the very worst) news story information gathering.

Today’s Radio 4 programme, News from Nowhere – How the Papers got Their Stories, with presenter Jon Manel, sought to show that the methods of collecting details and information on personalities in the public eye were not merely confined to phone-hacking. Listen here.

It illuminated the way newspaper journalists used private detectives to gain access to medical records, addresses from phone numbers, details about and information from friends and relatives of targets, vehicle registration numbers, ex-directory numbers and so on. The PIs were skilled in the art of ‘Blagging’ and could elicit very personal details of a target’s life from receptionists, office clerks etc. 

The programme suggested that the illegal practices employed by journalists and sanctioned by their editors were not confined to the News of the World, nor did they cease when the Private Investigator Glen Mulcaire was sentenced to prison. There is evidence that the practices still go on today….which goes some way to explain why most of the media have failed to publicise this whole affair properly.

Have editors, journalists and newspaper proprietors bitten their tongues, squeezed their eyes tight shut and held their breath in the hope that they could delay the inevitable, put off the reckoning which edges ever closer? 

Rosie Robertson