Phone Hacking, So they think it’s all over – Julian Petley

Julian Petley’s article corrects the misleading descriptions of the investigation into and trial of the phone-hackers at the News of the World. There are many more than the single person, Coulson, that the Telegraph and Times have claimed is the only one to be convicted after the investigations. And the corruption goes all the way to the top, including Murdoch himself, and his sons, Rupert and James. News International is being investigated at corporate level in both Britain and the US, and if convicted, Murdoch’s two sons could face being debarred from ever holding an office in their father’s newspaper empire.
It’s not hard to see why the press has, with the honourable exception of the Guardian, been keen to so misrepresent the investigation and its results. If you read Private Eye and some of the books that have been published on the phone hacking trial so far, it’s clear that far more papers than just the NoW were using the hackers’ services. The press, in any case, definitely does not want to see its wings clipped, and Murdoch’s newspapers, the Sun and Times, have a particular vested interest in trying to play down the success of the trial in bringing far more than Mulcaire himself to justice, and exposing just how many more people were victims.
As for the Sun’s claim that the money spent on the trial could have been better spent countering Islamic extremism, this assumes that it took money away from counterterrorism. It clearly didn’t. It shows a completely cavalier attitude to the security risk present in the way the phones of the royal family were hacked, as well as celebrities, police and ministry of defence officials and civil servants bribed. It may only have been journos looking for a juicy story, but crimes were still committed and the national and personal security of the victims threatened. It may just have been someone from the News of the World then, but tomorrow or the day after, who knows? The possibility that such information could have got into the hands of terrorists is still there. And of course, the argument itself is particularly hypocritical, coming from a Right-wing establishment newspaper that’s always keen to tell the world that increased funding does not improve results. Except, of course, when Murdoch’s in the dock facing corruption charges.

Inforrm's Blog

Phone Hacking VerdictsEntirely predictably, the verdicts in the hacking trial were taken by most British papers as confirmation that the whole three-year process from the Leveson Inquiry to Scotland Yard’s Operation Weeting to the trial itself had been both a colossal waste of public funds and a draconian threat to press freedom.

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