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Monday 11 July 2011

Verity Murphy | 13:00 UK time, Monday, 11 July 2011

Another day of fast moving developments on the News of the World hacking story as Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt says he is seeking fresh advice from regulators on News Corp's takeover bid for BSkyB.

And the has BBC learned there is evidence the News of the World (NoW) was paying a Metropolitan Police Royal Protection Squad officer for the contact details of senior members of the royal family, their friends and their relations.

We will have the latest tonight and reports from Michael Crick on the political ramifications, from David Grossman on whether this is the moment the political classes break away from the Murdoch empire and Richard Watson on the police's part in the affair.

All that and a report from Fifa World Cup host country Qatar by BBC Sports editor David Bond. You can read more about that in David's blog.


  • Comment number 1.

    we cannot afford weekends there is too much happening, it's as though weekends don't exist anymore, one media sapping day blurs into another media sapping day...and now it's reached Her Maj, what will Phil the Greek say, I would bet precious little as he doesn't carry a now the great British public will be brassed off as it looks like the protection service were abusing their station. We live in interesting times and this is just the tip of a very large iceberg......

  • Comment number 2.

    So a story about Pakistani cricketers taking bungs for throwing matches is printed in the News Of The World and then held up as some kind of justification of the papers existence, yet the same people have for years been passing cash to bent coppers in return for the private details of members of the public, and that is kept secret.
    Free Press, don't make me laugh. Free to indulge in the same things they castigate everyone else for more like.
    And that is what killed them off when all is said and done. The moral high ground is where tabloid papers like the News Of The World have to position themselves, sitting up there shaming us all for our weakness and human frailty. But once they lose their self appointed moral authority its curtains.

  • Comment number 3.

    The article is ok, marred by a bit of wishful thinking at the end; but the first photo is brilliant!

  • Comment number 4.

    What are the chances of Newsnight inviting Jenny Jones on tonight to talk about the risk of police corruption?

    "I will be asking the Commissioner to reassure the public that all the officers involved in Operation Weeting and Operation Elveden have clean hands and have not received payments or gifts for information from journalists and investigators in the past.

    "There is a public suspicion that this has been a widespread practice in the past with the police providing tip offs and nuggets of information to journalists and photographers. I would be happy with a simple statement being made by officers of all ranks involved in both the current investigation and the initial investigation, that they have not received such payments at any point in their careers."

  • Comment number 5.

    :o) Jeremy drew in the HIGHEST RATINGS of 2011 on last Wednesday's edition with 1.32million people tuning in!

  • Comment number 6.


    A lot more did NOT watch JP. Further, WATCHING is not APPROVAL.

    I have been watching Dave Cameron (carefully).

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 7.


    Small wonder that PMs routinely hire Media Machiavellians as aides; politics and print are both out to keep their share of voters/buyers, and both use deceit and illusion to that end. Neither is interested in the enrichment (spiritual) or advancement of the punter.

    But of the two, WESTMINSTER IS THE INFECTION SOURCE. Media are symptomatic.

  • Comment number 8.

    Following on from the previous thread, the pressure needs to be kept up, you can see the way this is trying to be forced to go i.e.

    No CEO resignations from NI, but her face may appear quite a bit, smiling, flame hair blowing in the breeze looking dynamic, confident and attractive etc etc.

    The politicians will use the 2 public enquiries as an excuse to stifle debate and any positive momentum, expect to hear ' lets wait for the results of the public enquiry or 'lets not try to second guess the results of the public enquiry' quite alot in the coming weeks.

    The hope will be that the 'heat' is taken out of the debate, RB gets a media makeover, the public start to get bored of the drip fed scandals and in a couple of years after much delay a mighty tome will be produced by some judge nobody has ever heard of with some recommendations on further 'regulation' in it and no individual culpability.

    Job done...phew that was a close one they will all say.

    If you extract all the attempts at manipulation out of the debate, in my opinion, it looks something like this:

    If only this were the least of our worries, as MUSE pointed out before, the economic storm clouds brewing on both sides of the atlantic are truely frightening, and with no one in the ruling elite even talking about a 'plan B' ...well.. words fail me.

    Hawkeye, I wish I could write as well as you, really good stuff on your site.

    Over and out for abit.. will be on the road trying to earn a living.

  • Comment number 9.

    self fulfilling bets.

    keep driving up italian debt rates and then bet on a downgrade when they can't pay. easy money.

    when they have done the easy countries they will come after us.

    the world is at war but most people can't see it.

  • Comment number 10.

    #8 Jericoa

    Much appreciated!

    I learned my trade here on the BBC blogs, but since they clip my wings repeatedly I decided to roam free.... (and I'm not the only one!)

  • Comment number 11.

    Another day of fast moving developments on the News of the World hacking story...

    And not much else, it seems. But wait....

    'All that and a report from Fifa World Cup host country Qatar by BBC Sports editor David Bond. You can read more about that in David's blog.'

    One may pass, if it's all the same, as nothing else seems to be going on around the world that bears covering.

    Though one mind wonder in passing who will be on the guest list tonight whose affiliations or moral fortitude are of no concern to the discerning viewer so long as they have married well or stick to the narrative.

  • Comment number 12.

    Isn't there any other news? This phone hacking stuff has been ridiculously over hyped.

  • Comment number 13.

    Let's hope David Grossman doesn't, again, put words into people's mouths, in an act of desperation.

    To think, some view the BBC as the height of impartial broadcasting. Amazing.

  • Comment number 14.

    OTHER NEWS (#12)

    Over the weekend someone posted a link to a Piers Corbyn interview. Corbyn said he had tried to tell all and sundry of extreme weather to come - he was ignored.

    News is only news, to media, and warnings only worthy of attention, to government, IF THEY DEEM IT SO.

    In 2010 the Conservative Party concocted and distributed an illegal 'False Instrument' used by at least 9 SITTING MPs. Not news. Never investigated.

    I understand some royals are in Canada?

  • Comment number 15.

    Da, da, de, da daaaaa.......

    It’s .......

    “Analogy Time!”

    Tonight .......

    It’s a dilemma that could face every Officer Commanding and, undoubtedly, it is a subject of frequent discussion in military training institutions around the globe. Perhaps many millions of words are voiced on an issue that, to many, may have an obvious answer....

    ( Concerned look.)

    ‘It’ is a question. ‘It’ is scenario that seeks to explore the morality, suitability and practicability of those that control, command and decide upon situations that may have considerable consequence for the minority and/or the masses.

    ‘It’ is thus ........

    (Turn to Camera Four.)

    ‘Should one sacrifice one man to save many?’

    Now .... for the purpose of ‘illustration and ‘enlightenment’ ‘ ....

    Turn this ( ‘It’ ) around ...... (Putting aside Hollywood scripts based upon a miniscule facet of a true event .... )

    ‘Is it right to sacrifice many to save one?

    A ‘new’ hypothetical scenario .....

    Suppose a senior officer sacrifices - without obvious, explicable or justified need - a couple of hundred of ‘Squadies’ to save one Lieutenant?

    Remorse is not forthcoming, strategic value not voiced, outcome of little obvious point.

    Would/should this same ‘offizier’ - regardless of any bluster offered as ‘defence’ of the action - be trusted again with any future, perhaps greater and more responsible, command and control?

    One must surely ask whether the said “offizier” is a fit and proper person to command simply on the basis of ‘Would he do the same thing again, and worse, perhaps on a much larger scale’?

    And what - assuming he got away with such action once - should one think if the ‘rumour mill’ claimed that the ‘offizier’ and his subordinates were already considering a similar, but bigger, sacrifice?


    On another matter .....

    Files are kept everywhere, on everyone, by more organisations than most can possibly imagine. Some of these files ‘don’t exist’. Some of these ‘files’ could easily be described as ‘cupboard-files’ simply on the basis that they contain ‘skeletons’. These files keep some - usually near, or aspiring to the top - well and truly over a barrel.

    The aspiring ‘they’ think that now the ‘cooper’ has gone, the barrel doesn’t exist .......


    And .... Oh yes! ....

    One assumes that the BBC has, in the interest of balance, commissioned a three part series about the ‘down-side’ of all religions? ....... Time to keep a sharp eye on the Radio Times!

    Here we go again, more still to say but ...

    Three Nine Nine, Four hundred!

  • Comment number 16.

    If we're going to get a stream of new revelations of this quality about NOTW, then we can see why they decided to can it so quickly!

    I also think the odds of the BSkyB take over going ahead look vanishingly small.

    Let's also consider the other criticisms of it:

    1. BSB held the only UK DTV license-Murdoch got Luxembourg's ASTRA to transmit Sky via their satellite system and beamed it into the UK. BSB was intended to start HD TV, but Murdoch went with PAL+ and so delayed it by a decade. In the end there was a shotgun marriage of Sky & BSB to create BSkyB - so you could consider Murdoch's involvement in DTV in the UK at all to be result of buckaneering.

    2. The BSkyB platform & EPG means Murdoch can "manage" the subscription base & access to it - most people don't know about FreeSat, which is a free to use alternative to the Sky platform for many free-to-air channels including HD versions and is poorly marketed in comprison.

    3. If you look @ the revenue to spend ratio of BSkyB in terms of original UK programming it commissions, IMHO it's very low indeed compared to BBC, C3/4/5. This means there would be thousands of additional production jobs in the UK if BSkyB had the same UK production share as the other broadcasters.

    4. If you look @ the % of US imported programmes, BSkyB shows VASTLY more than BBC C3/4/5. And as the marginal cost of transmission in the UK of US programming is virtually zero, this gives Murdoch a ready source of VERY cheap content frm his north american operations and acquisitions, but this floods us with an alien culture - the French won't stand for this and insist on programming from France and impose a film quota too.

    5. BSkyB's vice like grip on sports and movie channels IMHO stiffles competitiion on the pay TV sector and leeches away coverage from the free-to-air channels, generating the greed-is-goos football culture.

    I'd therefore say that there was and is a strong case to review the license terms of the DTV service and curtail the negative practices that IMHO NewsCorp use to make excess profits at the expense of the viewer's choice, the cost of access to the platform and jobs in the UK TV sector, which is under consideable pressure at the moment.

  • Comment number 17.

  • Comment number 18.

    how can such widespread criminal acts not be prosecuted? are we third world? why are people not being arrested? if this is crime and and organised that attacks the foundation of the british state whose job is to protect the british people where does that logic lead? an act of war?

    if jihadis had been doing this they would be for a long stay in belmarsh?

    where were MI5? did they know nothing? or did they say nothing? what is their job but to ensure state protection of state officials. Idf they can't protect the PM then they can protect no one? who else is undermining the uk state that MI5 don't know about?

    this is institutional failure of the british state?

  • Comment number 19.

  • Comment number 20.

    We need a Media bill in the UK.

    Clause 1. No non-EU citizen or corporation may own or control any company operating in the UK media.

    Clause 2. The Proprietor is personally legally and criminally liable for all of the actions of his/her staff and shall be deemed to be aware of everything done in his/her name.

    Clause 3. No person or corporation with a criminal record may own or control any media company.

    Clause 4. Any Owner who is found to have committed an illegal act shall have to divest him/itself of all of their interests in the media but shall be prevented from closing down such operations and such operations have to sold as a going concern.

    That should do for starters....

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    @18 Some people think it's all overblown Jaunty, eg @12.

    However, It's not just the hacking scandal, and it's not just the Murdoch press: Remember the Jo Yeats murder case: both the Sun and the Mirror assassinated the character of her landlord, who was later proven innocent. I saw the articles: they were a disgrace, comprising contempt of court, contempt for the truth and contempt for the legal process.

    Although others have followed, since 1968 Murdoch's press has led the race to the bottom. It's clear to me that modern globalised capitalism gives a few people huge unelected and unaccountable power. US citizen Murdoch may be a businessman, but he's more powerful and more ruthless than many heads of government: it's clear that he EXPECTS politicians to kowtow.

    My father gave up six years of his life in WWII to defend Britain and its freedoms. He did not do this so that subsequent British governments would dance to the tune of a different kind of foreign despot.

  • Comment number 23.

    @20 Nice one John, though, to be fair, I would add "unless he can satisfy a judge/jury to the contrary" to clause 2. Otherwise we will have good press closed down by paid agents of those who don't like what they say.

  • Comment number 24.

    Great edition of NN tonight :o) particularly Jeremy v Milton on allegations that police were paid to release the royal family's phone numbers and also Jeremy v Watson too.

  • Comment number 25.

  • Comment number 26.

    :p Forgot to add, does it really matter if the Football World Cup is held in Doha? At least we aren't having to pay for it here in broke Britain. Bet you won't find many football hooligans there either ;o)

  • Comment number 27.


    "Now is the mycelium of politico-media, mutual connivance, made poisonous mushroom by these scum of talk."

    Westminster Creatures stream across our screens, in collusion with the BBC - many of them with a dark record that could make a post-box blush - there to call for "cleaner this" and "more honest that" (though they are probably all quietly at the other, off piste).

    I would not wish the pain of the Brown family on them, or anyone. Neither would I wish the damage Brown's ill considered (and oddly motivated) pension policies inflicted on many a family, across Britain. Mote and Beam perhaps?

    The world is locked in the Age of Perversity, but it is Westminster's manifest lack of WISDOM, and its culture of NASTINESS, that has blighted every aspect of British life.

    This morning Camilla Batmangelidjh was quoted. HER VOICE should be heard a great deal more, not the Westminster Creatures, with their poorly hidden agendas.

  • Comment number 28.


    Dave is appalled at the hackers' invasion into the privacy of Brown's children. Did Dave have any concern for NICK'S CHILDREN when he connived at GRATUITOUS VILIFICATION of their father, in the NO campaign? Yeah - right.

    That is the true measure of Cameron - a full '10' on the Murdoch Scale.


    In passing: the ‘Freudian Word’ favoured by Dave – INCREDIBLE – is catching on fast among the Westminster Creatures. HOW APPROPRIATE! It is incredible that these cipher-ninnies are still using Murdoch to mask the base iniquity of the Westminster Ethos – the root cause of Britain’s malaise.

  • Comment number 29.


    Just watched a committee, chaired by KEITH VAS grilling Yates of the yard - it was close to a blood-sport.

    How I would love to see the private lives of these self-righteous, opportunistic, inquisitors laid bare.


  • Comment number 30.

    A great piece by George Monbiot

    This media is corrupt – we need a Hippocratic oath for journalists

    “So the rightwing papers run endless exposures of benefit cheats, yet say scarcely a word about the corporate tax cheats. They savage the trade unions and excoriate the BBC. They lambast the regulations that restrain corporate power. They school us in the extrinsic values – the worship of power, money, image and fame – which advertisers love but which make this a shallower, more selfish country.”

  • Comment number 31.

    BBC mugs...or are we the mugs?

    "When back in November 2006 The Sun ran the “Brown’s baby has cystic fibrosis“ sympathetic story, Guido believed it had been planted by Gordon’s spinners. Why? Because they knew that on the very same day the Charity Commission would announce it was investigating the Smith Institute to discover if Brown’s tame think-tank/slush fund had broken the law in hiring Ed Balls and furthering Brown’s political objectives. This was a neuralgic problem for them (since confirmed in pollster Deborah Mattinson’s memoir and those recently leaked Balls memos). At the time News International was in bed with New Labour and The Sun was forthright in backing Tony and Gordon."

  • Comment number 32.

    stay with this big story NN as it is on the scale of 9/11, a dictator has been in our midst for forty years, he doesn't pay taxes, he decides elections, is not a citizen of this country, has Prime Ministers brown nosing him...of either party and is now BEING FOUND OUT BIGTIME so stay with it NN as anyone who doesn't want to hear it is in bed with him and wants the status quo to stay and....IT WON'T DO!

  • Comment number 33.

    '32. At 14:04 12th Jul 2011, stevie wrote:
    stay with this big story NN'

    What, this one...

    31. At 13:44 12th Jul 2011, museV wrote:
    BBC mugs...or are we the mugs?

    Because equating bad stuff with really bad stuff seems to not be a great route if you don't want your point spun off in moral outrage elsewhere.

    Maybe Ms. 'Mum & some' Roberts could pop back for some further input, as it seems she moves in circles where ladies who lunch, tweet and share all sorts of stuff that may end up as a 'sources say' in any medium.

    Speaking of relative values (and relatives to value)...

    30. At 13:40 12th Jul 2011, museV wrote:
    This media is corrupt – we need a Hippocratic oath for journalists

    When great points are being made, I often go on to wonder when it's in the name of 'us', as Orwell seemed prescient.

    Still, speaking of monopolistic tendencies in our midst for decades, I don't need to buy the NI stable, offer eyeballs to the Graun or vote for pols who disappoint. At least.

  • Comment number 34.


    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 35.

    Bribery and intimidation often go hand in hand. I don`t believe police officers can prevent themselves from outside pressure simply by being "squeaky clean". What about things like medical record or sexuality? It can be equally distressing for the recipient to the story through no fault of his/her own. The bottom line is, if someone is determined to find dirt, they will find it; if they can’t, they can always fabricate or mingle some half-truth and half-lies. Surely the right policy to implement is a vigorous prosecution of those who bribe public officials or intrude on people’s lives the way News of the World did in Milly Dowler and Gordon Brown`s case.

    I find it interesting that News Corp withdrew their bid to spin off Sky News so that Jeremy Hunt will refer the BSkyB deal to OFCOM. I was also surprised at the quick decision made about closing News of the World. I don’t think it is an act of panic - more like a great chess player who is already thinking several steps ahead. But then it is Rupert Murdoch, a man who can control the politics of this country from halfway across the globe, no real surprise there….

  • Comment number 36.

    if gordon is behind exposing the NI sickness then he has done one good thing that will be remembered.

  • Comment number 37.

    Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, was just on Newsnight to talk about the hugely increased energy prices and new investment policies - an important subject which affects most people.
    Jeremey Paxman, instead of talking about this, decided to ask him yet again about lost promises on the Lib Dem election manifesto and about DAvid Cameron's judgement on hiring Andy Coulson, subjects which have been aired ad infinitum on this and almost all other programmes.
    There was not a word more about energy prices which will be affecting everyone a long time after the News International scandal, 'sexy' and shocking as it may be just now, has died down. Paxman was being arrogant and sneering and did not allow Huhne to get a word in edgeways, generally shouting him down. This was not an interview just a showcase for JP. What was he thinking of? I generally like him but not tonight. Please someone remind him that this style of interviewing does not get results and is very irritating for the viewer.

  • Comment number 38.

    '37. At 23:41 12th Jul 2011, cmfc wrote:
    Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, was just on Newsnight to talk about the hugely increased energy prices and new investment policies - an important subject which affects most people. Jeremy Paxman, instead of talking about this...

    In one. The public is not being served by the 4th estate in favour of petty agenda and career-driving ratings based on point-scoring.

    Soon the only heat will be generated by such as this, and not for long as the precious hardware we are taxed on flickers out with no power. Light of any kind has long since ebbed away.

    Nice one, BBC. Too unique for words.


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