Category Archives: Rupert Murdoch

The Anatomy of the press scandal

As the days turn to weeks many people write many words in an attempt to understand just what this press scandal is and what it means.
Is hacking just a storm in a teacup?
There are some who would like the matter to be contained, for it to be a narrowly focused question of why an individual newspaper hired an individual man to hack into the phones of celebrities, politicians and ordinary people who just happened to find themselves in the news.
There are many who hope that this is all a storm in a teacup, that of the thousands of potential victims in the Mulcaire notebooks only a handful will have suffered anything more than a theoretical intrusion into their privacy.
There are also many who fervently hope that there is nothing within these notebooks to link what is being found to other newspapers, but the opinion from people who have watched these matters closely throughout the years is that hacking and other forms of intrusion is an infection that is widespread throughout the media. It probably began when Mobile phones first began to be widely used.
Intrusion is not new. The media hunger for salacious stories has been satisfied by many different means. Hacking was simply an invisible way of doing it with no chance of being discovered elbow deep in someone’s rubbish bins.
Mobile phones and the media became the story many years ago now, with the interception of mobile phone conversations by members of the royal family.  Hacking into messages is simply a natural development from that, and the fact that it was illegal does not seem to have been much of a restraint to people involved in such a potentially lucrative practice.
The problem that underlies all of this is the routine blurring of the line between what is of interest to the public, and will therefore sell a lot of newspapers, and what is in the public interest.  This is one of the questions that we must hope Lord Leverson will attempt to clarify in his Inquiry.
People who found themselves too much of “interest to the public” especially the bereaved have had some defence against the excess of press intrusion when they knew it was happening, but they had no effective defence against this invisible and completely illegal theft of their feelings.
Who was part of the trade in information?
Hacking is the starting point of this scandal, but the problem is so much wider than this.
What is still to emerge is how did this industrial scale theft of phone numbers and pin numbers come about.  Who encouraged it? Did they understand what was being done? How many people throughout the country are implicated in this illegal trade in personal information?
How are stories verified?
With the question of who knew about the trade I think that the starting point should be what action did the papers take to ensure themselves that the stories they were printing were true?  
We heard in the Select Committee on hacking in 2009 that the news of the world employed a legal advisor, who was there in part to ensure that the paper did not leave itself open to the possibility of expensive liable suits. This was especially necessary for a paper that prided itself on exposing uncomfortable truths.  My assumption is  (and I may be completely wrong about this) that it would be simple good practices for any editor to a story was true, and would not harm the reputation or pockets of the paper.
The stories being captured by phone hacking had the huge advantage that they were certainly essentially true, and they were certainly exclusive.
We need to understand the verification process that operated within the papers. How do they know if a story is accurate, How do they know what sources of information were being used? Would there be people within the paper who will actually have listened to the messages?
As the suspicions of phone hacking has grown over the years more and more of the victims have challenged the News of the World  about the source of the “exclusives”. They have done so with considerable success at the cost of millions in out of court settlements.
Who authorised out of court settlements?
This raises big questions. Someone in a position of some authority had to sign off these cheques, and it is reasonable to assume that they would have wanted to know why they were doing so.
The storm clouds have been gathering for a long while now. I did not really become aware of it all until 2009 but many people have been tracking this story now for years before that, and it is these people who have insistently raised the uncomfortable questions about David Cameron’s former head of communications, Andy Coulson.
Was there a cover up?
These questions are big and deeply worrying. If people knew that phone hacking had been an issue for almost a decade then why despite internal investigations, a police investigation and a review of the investigation, why despite bin bags full of evidence would no one publically recognise the scale of the problem.  
Were News of the world and by extension News International hiding things from the police?
Were the police sweeping things under the carpet and if so why?
Why didn’t more politicians speak out?
A small number of politicians knew of the allegations and were demanding action, what are the different reasons why politicians from different parties were not giving them their unequivocal support in this?
Where politicians simply accepting the assurances of the police that there was not a significant problem?
Where politicians hesitant to pick a fight with News of the World and the Murdoch empire because in the shadow of the MPs expenses scandal which had indiscriminately smeared  so many MPs, they understood and feared the consequences for themselves as individuals, and for their chances of electoral success?
Was it because for some MPs and politicians it actively suited them for the sun and the news of the world to have a free hand to do as they pleased?
Was it because being and remaining on the right side of Rupert Murdoch mattered?
Why didn’t the Press complaints commission deal with the concerns?
There is a regulatory body for the press, but it is a body run by editors for editors. It has insufficient powers to investigate, it takes people at their word.
David Cameron and Murdoch
There is the invidious position of David Cameron.
David Cameron is a man who places a great reliance on friends, and Rupert Murdoch is a man who lives to exert influence.  We have seen through the friendships forged within the chipping Norton triangle the way in which the interests of David Cameron may have become merged with the interests of Rupert Murdoch in a way that may now be deeply harmful to both.
We have seen through accounts of the networking conducted by the Murdoch empire, how controlling access to power, the circles within the glamorous settings of the summer parties may involve many people in subtle forms of corruption.
David Cameron and Andy Coulson
The friendships at the heart of these circles we now hear brought Andy Coulson into the employment of David Cameron at the suggestion of Rebekah Brooks.  This is something extraordinary. We have a highly skilled media manipulator, someone who understands exactly what sparks the public interest, and what sells papers, able to act as Murdoch’s man in number 10 and as Cameron’s man in the media.
Just think of the opportunities that this creates.  
What is the impact on the way in which political communications were carried out?
We have not yet even begun to analyse the way in which the communications operation worked, at the Conservative headquarters, and later at number 10, but we know we have at the heart of it a man with the skills to package stories, a particular view of the world that is in tune with the views of the Murdoch empire, and he now has access to the Conservative party machine, a machine which would be primed to pass good stories through so that they could achieve maximum impact.
We saw the way in which Cameron in opposition used Prime Ministers questions to inflate what he described as “Daily Mail Specials” into stories with national mainstream media significance.  We have seen how many of these stories were based on “individuals” in true tabloid style, and that many were also based on misleading information.
In my own town I have seen a story which encompassed both these elements used to devastating political effect.  I believe when we begin to look more closely at the way in which communications was conducted in the years from 2007 that we will find much more that will concern us.
Putting public interest at the heart of the relationship with the press.
All of this raises many big questions. We have lifted the lid on a press as the plaything of powerful men, operating in the interests of the few, and contemptuous of the needs or rights of those people who become the focus of interest.
When we look we will find out much that relates  to the specifics of phone hacking and the individuals at the centre of this particular story, but I believe that we will also find the failings of the press regulatory system that permits many misleading stories to be told, and does not enforce proportionate apologies.
The current PCC has at its heart the Editors code committee, made up of editors. This must change.
Reimagining the press.
The press has been, for as long as we can remember the means by which rich and powerful individuals can promote their view of the world. If this is fundamentally changed by the changes in regulation that will come, then where does this leave us?
There is a real need for a different kind of press. Something that really does address the communication of the problems that confront us all, something that brings people together to find solutions.  This is completely at variance with the interests of powerful press proprietors, who actively seek to create division, to be on the winning side and to control.
If we change the ground rules, if we create a press that is in the interests of the many, will the proprietors simply close up shop, or will they adjust themselves to the needs of a changed world?
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Is there more to this cosy circle of friends ?

I was munching my toast on Sunday morning wondering who this high profile resignation was to be from…  tweeting away… having a little giggle at some of the funnier tweets…  getting concerned about some other developments I was reading about…  nothing unusual there then !!  No announcement this morning ! Then around lunchtime the news broke that Rebekah Brooks had been arrested. It was pointed out fairly quickly that the arrest was by appoinment..  and of course all the usual questions were asked and opinions given!

The statement from Rebekah’s spokesperson soon arrived… who would that be ?  A little bit of digging around soon revealed that the spokesperson was from Bell Pottinger… Aha ! A name I recognise well.  Being interested in human rights and what’s happening in Bahrain, for example, I know that Bell Pottinger represent that government.  Protesters are also aware of who is representing their govt…   they have held up placards ‘You can’t spin the unspinnable’ !  Things got dangerous to the extent that Bell Pottinger had to close the office..   Lord Astor became involved according to Bell Pottinger but the UK Govt refuted that he’d praised the dialogue referred to http://is.gd/9DroZ0  Lord Astor is UK under-secretary at the MoD and he’s also Sam Cameron’s stepfather…  So it might have been a bit embarrassing if, indeed, he had been involved… don’t you think ? http://is.gd/rzWEZW.  If you’re wondering who Rachel Whetstone is – wife of Steve Hilton. Just click on her name! And here’s a bit more http://is.gd/sYJSYO from 2010.

Bell Pottinger was, of course the firm whose internship was auctioned by the Conservatives at their Black & White party. As well as in the daily news it also received criticism from within the PR industry http://is.gd/Ez2ZXE.  Via auction, the internship was being offered to the highest bidder rather than on merit, giving opportunity only to the wealthy.  And here’s a little bit of info about Lord Bell the man in charge  http://is.gd/ppdcaL

Going back in history Tim Bell was brought in to help the troubled Lord Black to defuse the crisis at Hollinger which owned the Daily Telegraph http://is.gd/xsRaWx  So he’s used to helping out media moguls…  Black is now serving a jail sentence…  http://is.gd/dWMBMj

And of course there’s the whole saga surrounding Mrs. Duffy…  who I’m sure you’ll remember. But Bell Pottinger ?  Hmm…  read on…  you might find a few more names that you’re familiar with too  http://is.gd/0Vs34Y

Oh and if you want to know how Bell Pottinger sell themselves http://www.bell-pottinger.co.uk/

Wonder what they can do for Rebekah?  When she leaves the Police Station maybe Rebekah will take herself off to Champneys – she’ll be in good company as her husband Charlie Brooks introduced the kriotherapy chamber there…  http://is.gd/2mZGpM.  What’s that ?  Well it’s something like a big ice cube..  I think… http://is.gd/ZRGhHK.

Oh but hang on hasn’t Champneys already been in the news today…  http://is.gd/JdVmBr  
As I write this blog, Sir Paul Stephenson has resigned from his post as Police Commissioner. How many more will bite the dust coming out of the murky world surrounding News International?

And if Rebekah doesn’t fancy Champneys ? She might just fly off somewhere for lunch ! http://is.gd/EXz1pp

All the information contained in this blog is publicly available.

Images from the press scandal.

Scandals are landmarks on our political landscape. We are used to the way that the press and the media can build a furious row on a range of matters for a day or two, and then it subsides.
This scandal – which hasn’t yet even got a convincing name – is different.
It is different because it is the press itself which is now finally and inescapably at the centre of our vision.  It is different because the scale of public outrage, and way in which the prime minister is so closely bound into the heart of the problem means that he has had to take far stronger action than anyone else could or would have dared, and he has had to set up a full Public Inquiry.
We can have no idea at this moment just what this Inquiry will find, what it will tell us about our society, but the expectation is that it is going to be a deeply uncomfortable process for many people. The hope is that it will show us clearly what it is that went so badly wrong in the relationship between the press, the politicians, and the people, and what steps need to be taken to put this right.
The name most commonly used for the scandal is “hackgate”. I am not sure that this is right. It captures the moment when the floodgates burst, when the universal horror over the most extreme action of a single private investigator hacking into Milly Dowler’s phone, in order to access sensational material to sell newspapers, brought home to the country as a whole that something toxic was happening to the press. 
The danger of this name is that it offers comfort to far too many people.  The quality press and the BBC would not dream of “hacking” though they have never been shy of parasitically reporting the stories.  The other tabloids if they were doing it at all would have drawn the line somewhere. This is about unspeakable crimes, crimes that could only be committed by “other people”.
It is good that Lord Leverson sees a wider picture. He will look beyond the criminal failures in News international and the police to the wider issues of corporate governance and a media culture that allowed this extreme amoral example of bad press practice to exist.  He is approaching this from the point of “who guards the guardians”.
What will we see when we do begin to look wider?
If we are looking for monsters my guess is that we will not find them.
In the tsunami of stories that have swept over us in the last 10 days there are images that float to the surface.

I see the image of Rupert Murdoch with his arm around Rebekah Brooks, offering her protection against the clamour from the mob.  Is this an image of a company where things that we normally see as good, family and friendship, was allowed to matter too much, at the expense of the public and of the people who work within their organisation.   
I hear the protestations of Rebekah Brooks, that she did not know, and I find this believable. I find it completely believable that there are many things that people would have chosen not to tell her, because these are things she would not have wished to hear.
I hear the accounts of journalists of the pressures they experienced within the company, the relentless pressure to deliver the right story, and I see that this pressure, something that exists well beyond the confines of the News of the World, could drive many individuals to deliver stories got by many dubious means, stories that may have a tenuous connection with the truth and stories that may be in the interests of the proprietor, but not in the broader public interest.
I see images of Rupert Murdoch, this energetic bright old man, now out from behind the curtain and exposed, and I think of the ways in which we have all, all of us allowed him to fill us with fear over the last 30 years.  If there is a monster it is a monster we have built in our imaginations.
I am sure that when he does speak, he will convince us that there are things he did not know.  He will not have been told, but people will have striven to deliver stories that they believed he will have wanted to see.
I saw the image of David Cameron, staying away from the House of Commons to announce another variation of the Big Society. Here the TV images played surreal tricks. The signal was corrupted. His smooth concerned face continually distorted and peeled away.
When I listen to David Cameron on the big society I hear many things that resonate. He is right that there is a limit to what the state can do, and that there is a need for us to take far greater control over our world. I see that he means this. What he does not and perhaps cannot see, what he is still hiding from himself is that this “big society” cannot have a firm foundation on the tangled mass of vested big money interests that is symbolised by his oh so close links with the Murdoch Family.
I hear David Cameron’s statements about the things he did not know, and again I find these completely believable. I think we have often seen with him the capacity to not look too closely, to block out inconvenient truths, to believe that all is well within his simple and sunny vision of the world,  and we are back to the problem that people will have told him only those things that he wanted to hear.
There are people who we now know have told him strongly that there were real issues with the hiring of Andy Coulson, but for the most part he will have seen them as his political enemies, and the relationship between the parties has been so toxic, in part because of the press, that he will have chosen not to believe what he was told.
We have seen Andy Coulson, again at the centre of the story, battling his way through the crowd of cameras. As always when I see this man I do not see a monster, but a servant seeking to do the bidding of those who employed him; an intermediary between the unspoken desires of his masters and the hidden means of delivering them.
I do not see, because they are not yet visible, the other interests that lie behind all of this; those people and big business interests that supported Murdoch’s view of the world, and wanted his influence over the voting public to continue. Is Murdoch the puppet master himself a useful puppet, a servant of other masters.
I see the big set piece debates and PMQs, where we are seeing a combination of a desire to move on, clear up the intolerable mess, build a better future, with the raw and painful explosion of  anger and the moment of freedom to speak out and expose some of what has been so badly wrong.
I see the committees becoming compulsive viewing. I welcome to the desire to understand what it was that happened, why problems went unchecked, and I worry about our need to put a face on what has happened and create scapegoats for all of this.  
Beyond all of this we are beginning to see the jostling for position. The desire to own and claim credit for the better future.
As the tsunami recedes and we see the wreckage left behind the task is to imagine what this future looks like.  We will get this right if we see the future in terms of the interests of the many, not of the few.
   

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 newsdesk@notw.co.uk 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!)

Fresh allegations in phone hacking case: will the Met now widen its remit?

“News Corporation has shaped global media by ensuring the public’s needs are met and that our offerings are of the highest calibre. Today, hundreds of millions of people around the world trust us for the best quality and choice in news, sports and entertainment. This public trust is our Company’s most valuable asset: one earned every day through our scrupulous adherence to the principles of integrity and fair dealing.” 

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:




And:


On the BBC Radio 4’s World at One with Martha Kearney, the latest developments in the case can be heard in an IPlayer recording at approximately 16minutes 16 seconds  here.
An article on the Sky News website mentions the new allegations by Tom Watson and has a video clip, here. 
Most of these sources report that News Corp have denied there is any truth in what was revealed by Tom Watson yesterday in the House of Commons:

“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 links and lots of information regarding the phone-hacking saga and Rupert Murdoch and those close to him can be found if you click the relevant tab above this blogpost. 

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’.

He writes:

“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.

The Met, The Media & Bereaved Families…

I would hope that you will join me in being absolutely outraged by the actions considered to have been possibly undertaken by newspapers who appear to have essentially arranged the hacking of phones of bereaved parents of girls who were abducted and murdered.  http://is.gd/yr9cCH  and  http://is.gd/A1JiOF.

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… 

Journalists, Public Unite Against Murdoch Threat.

There is today a renewed campaign to influence Government and the public against the move by Rupert Murdoch to gain overall control of BSkyB. 

On Twitter (: An Avaaz.org e-petition currently with over 90 000 signatures ), in the House of Lords: (Lord Prescott speaks against the transfer of shares to Murdoch prior to conclusion of the phone-hacking cases ) and in the wider media world: (Evening Standard ), voices are raised against this proposal. 

One new but strong voice is that of the NUJ which joins with the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom  and plan a demonstration for the day of the announcement by Jeremy Hunt, Minister for Culture, Media and Sport and have called for supporters to join them The announcement is expected this week.

Pressure was being brought to bear on Jeremy Hunt to refer the proposed take-over to the Competition Commission for a final decision, but as reported here, behind the scenes negotiations to hive off Sky News, or place it under the auspices of an ‘independent’ Trust, have been taking place to negate the need for the Commission to make a judgement.

Should Rupert Murdoch not succeed in his aim for full ownership of BSkyB, it will not be because of lack of guile, nor support in high places…

Rosie Robertson