Face of the day

 

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch

Recent events make this story relevant and raises this question.

If Media using hacked material is a crime in the UK why is it not a crime in NZ?

The only difference is who committed the crime. In both instances the Media benefit from the crime and sell newspapers off of it.

 

The row over phone-hacking by journalists has led to the closure of the News of the World newspaper, the establishment of the Leveson Inquiry, an MPs’ inquiry and the launch of three police investigations.

The BBC takes a look at the key questions it poses.

What is the phone-hacking scandal?

The story goes back to 2006-07 when Clive Goodman, the then News of the World royal editor, and Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator were convicted of intercepting voicemail messages left for royal aides and subsequently jailed.

Their newspaper said they had acted alone – but the then editor Andy Coulson quit, saying he took responsibility for what happened.

Two years later, the Guardian newspaper reported that News International had made confidential settlements totalling £1m to three people who said their phones had been hacked. By September 2010 a string of well-known people began legal moves to have their claims looked at again amid mounting suspicions that phone hacking had been more widely used.

The critical political moment in the affair came when the Guardian newspaper reported that the newspaper had hacked the mobile phone belonging to murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

What happened to the News of the World?

Rupert Murdoch closed it down in the wake of the Milly Dowler revelations. Its final front page declared “Thank you and goodbye”.
Milly Dowler Claims that Milly Dowler’s phone was hacked were described as “truly dreadful” by the prime minister

How many people have been hacked?

More than 4,000 people have been identified by police as possible victims of phone hacking by the NoW. The forthcoming prosecutions (see below) specify 600 identifiable alleged victims.

The alleged targets have included politicians, celebrities, actors, sports people, relatives of dead UK soldiers and people who were caught up in the 7/7 London bombings.

Is phone hacking illegal?

Yes. Hacking voicemails is classed as an unlawful interception of communications under Section One of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
The Met has faced enormous criticism over its initial approach to the allegations.

The original inquiry in 2006 resulted in just two arrests. Officers told MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee that News International had tried to “thwart” the original inquiry.

In 2009 the force decided not to relaunch the investigation despite pressure to do so. Since then, the force has faced claims of an overly cosy relationship with News of the World journalists. Sir Paul Stephenson quit as the Met’s commissioner, as did assistant commissioner John Yates, following criticism of police links to former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis.

In February 2012, the force also formally accepted it had failed to warn some people they could have been victims of hacking by the NoW.

What has happened to victims?

News Corporation set up a special process to consider compensation claims for those who believe they were hacked. Some cases have already been settled in the High Court. These include a payment of £600,000 to singer Charlotte Church and her parents.

How has the government handled the affair?

The prime minister has announced two inquiries and said the Press Complaints Commission should be scrapped.

Lord Justice Leveson is conducting a two-part inquiry, initially looking at “the culture, practices and ethics” of the UK press and its relationships with police and politicians. It will later examine the extent of unlawful conduct within newspaper groups and the police’s original phone-hacking investigation.

How has News International responded to the scandal?

News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch has issued an apology for the “serious wrongdoing” by the NoW.

-BBC news


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