Category Archives: phone-hacking
Extract from Rupert Murdoch’s letter to News Corp staff introducing the company’s ‘Standards of Business Conduct’.
Yesterday in the House of Commons, during Prime Minister’s Questions, Tom Watson used Parliamentary Privilege to reveal further allegations, adding to a growing mountain, in the increasingly widely publicised phone-hacking case.
A BBC recording of his question and David Cameron’s reply can be found here.
|Clegg, Cameron, Osborne listening to Tom Watson’s question at PMQs|
Press reports written following Tom Watson’s allegations yesterday are here:
“A spokesman for News International, the News of the World’s parent company, said: “It is well documented that Jonathan Rees and Southern Investigations worked for a whole variety of newspaper groups. “With regards to Tom Watson’s specific allegations, we believe these are wholly inaccurate. The Met Police, with whom we are co-operating fully in Operation Weeting, have not asked us for any information regarding Jonathan Rees.
“Tom Watson MP made these allegations under parliamentary privilege.”- Telegraph.
The Metropolitan Police spokesman said yesterday, as reported in the Guardian:
“[We] can confirm that since January 2011 the MPS [Metropolitan police service] has received a number of allegations regarding breach of privacy which fall outside the remit of Operation Weeting. These allegations are currently being considered.”
As these new allegations and slivers of information emerge, it becomes increasingly obvious that phone-hacking and the News of the World may be the tip of an enormous iceberg, involving many more journalists, criminals, newspapers and methods of intercepting information.
We are watching, perhaps, the denouement of a murky plot with far-reaching and dramatic consequences.
Will we eventually witness the disappearance of not only criminal methods of news gathering but of the equally harmful character assassinations in the name of the ‘public interest’ such as this, reported today?:
Sun apology and damages to Baby P social worker
A social worker targeted by The Sun in its Justice for Baby P campaign has received an apology and substantial damages.
Full story here.
Yet another apology wrung from the News Corp stable of titles, this time by the Press Complaints Commission.
Many, many more will, no doubt, be added in the future..!
Updated – 9th June 2011:
Tonight, writing in the Guardian, Tom Watson has made an impassioned plea for those Labour MPs, Shadow Ministers, who were also victims of the News of the World hackers to come forward and ‘speak out’.
“Yet it’s not just the Conservative prime minister who could do with a spine replacement. It’s the former Labour ministers who were allegedly hacked by News International’s private investigators who have made secret, out of court settlements with the company. I want to be clear to my parliamentary colleagues (in the Lords and Commons): if you were the target of a News International private investigator you have a democratic duty to speak out. You owe it to yourselves to put an end to a toxic media culture that allows journalists to think it acceptable to hack the phones of the families of murder victims.”
If these people were to publicly denounce the practices employed by the editors, journalists, hackers, newspaper proprietors etc, they would not only be helping those mentioned by Tom Watson in his article, – they would be helping to restore to health the democracy of this country.
They owe it to us, the ordinary people, who need honest, principled reporting and unmanipulated facts to enable us to make decisions as to who represent us in Parliament.
I add my plea to that of Tom Watson.
News of the World to admit phone hacking liability
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)
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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Following months and years of allegations, rumours, challenges, sniggers, sneers, procrastinations and denials we are now seeing that further questions merely bring about further questions ! This whole saga is becoming murkier and murkier… who would want to touch it ? But at what cost do we not touch it…. ?
This saga began with a few people concerned that their phones had been hacked realising that stories printed could only have been ascertained via their mobiles. Since those days the story has grown to such an extent that we are now questioning the actions and motives of all those involved from journalists, private investigators, newspaper editors, owners of big media organisations, The Met, latterly the Director of Public Prosecutions and even the PM has been brought into it ! The British Prime Minister !! Excuse me.. but whatever political party we may or may not belong to the Office of the Prime Minister has been brought into question. Private dinners, inviting Murdoch through the back door not the front door of No 10. What does that say ? And let’s not forget Coulson… he was there at the beginning of this tale – will he be there when we get to the end ? When the DPP & a Senior Officer of the Met start throwing accusations at each other, as alleged, then there are serious questions… we need the answers !
I believe this has become very serious. In fact I would go so far as to say there is an odour… an odour of corruption about this whole affair. I thought this a while ago but the latest headlines, where innocent, distressed, bereaved families have been targeted, just takes it to a different level. Before this, I feel there may have been a question mark amongst the public, ordinary people who go about their daily lives never questioning that they could be targeted, believing such happenings were the territory of the rich and famous. But how wrong can an assumption be… I feel people will now start to sit up and take notice. I hope so because there are far-reaching implications.
But what can we do about it? Write to every newspaper editor,write to the DPP, petition the PM, contact the police… ? But hang on – these are the people/organisations who are involved in this scandal ! Get my point ?
No, we support those who are trying to get to the bottom of this whole sordid, pernicious affair. We show our support for Tom Watson and Chris Bryant ! They are our representatives on this. And whilst pursuing, their lives might not be so easy… they deserve our support ! They, along with those who are taking legal action, rather than accepting pay-offs, are the one’s who will lead us to the truth… and importantly, by doing so, hopefully restore our faith in our long trusted institutions…
Finally, I cannot say how sick I feel that these parents may have been targeted…
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 :
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?