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Wednesday 6 July 2011

Verity Murphy | 13:23 UK time, Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Are the News of the World phone hacking allegations the equivalent for journalists of the MPs expenses scandal and a watershed moment for the profession in this country?

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised a public inquiry after a police investigation ends - but Labour says it must happen sooner.

Michael Crick and Richard Watson will have the latest on the story and we will be joined by guests to discuss.

We have a piece on how Britain is slipping behind other countries in the fight against child sex abuse.

Plus Jeremy will be talking to Professor Martin Seligman, the American psychologist whose work inspired the prime minister's plan to measure the nation's happiness.

Apparently, "happiness is out, flourishing is in" - but is this the sort of thing governments should be getting involved in?


  • Comment number 1.

  • Comment number 2.

  • Comment number 3.

    'Michael Crick will report'

    So long as reporting is what one gets, as opposed to a twitter-sourced selection of quotes backed by some usual suspect guests to 'comment', that may be worth paying attention to.

    Things seem to have moved on from the criminality of what may have compromised Milly Dowler's case quite quickly.

    Almost a blur, in fact.

    I, like most, will be boycotting the complicit media. Those I can, of course.

  • Comment number 4.

  • Comment number 5.

    given hacking by media is for private profit should there not be big fines of any media caught doing it?

  • Comment number 6.

    Have the BBC hacked any phones?

  • Comment number 7.

    events, Dear Boy, events...everything is all happening so quickly, and new stuff coming up all the time, I cannot leave News 24 as it is all so imminent, the public mood is such that what happened a week ago re, attitudes to phone hacking of celebs, footballers etc is now on a different scale and heads must roll starting with Rebecca which Rupert will use as a full metal jacket to protect himself...that only works for so long as the debates in the House illustrated...there is a new mood abroad and it is uglier by the hour.......

  • Comment number 8.


    The question has no answer (as popular with exam boards).

    Politicians, even on a good day, only know how to do politics. They have no other skills.

    POLITICS: The Art of Self Deception wrapped in The Craft of Deceiving Others for 'Their Own Good'.

    Dave does not know his General Wellbeing from his Private Desperation.

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

  • Comment number 11.

    'Are the News of the World phone hacking allegations the equivalent for journalists of the MPs expenses scandal and a watershed moment for the profession in this country?'

    NO -cos the main story is about police corruption - our sleazy corrupt media just needs proper regulation - but without 'non-bent coppers' - the system or no system can function properly and within the law

  • Comment number 12.

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

  • Comment number 13.

    Dear God, not the blustering and blathering imbecile, Mr. Prescott, again.

    Both he and Mr. Campbell appear to be on speed-dial.

    This may be Auntie Beeb, but it isn't the job of this broadcaster to keep them in the public eye. Neither covered themselves in glory, when in government.

  • Comment number 14.


    As regular posters here will know, I am fighting a corrupt Westminster over the use of a FALSE INSTRUMENT in 2010, contrary to the Representation of The People Act. Westminster parties, officers, offices, MPs, Peers, Leaders, Speakers et al, ABSOLUTELY REFUSE TO ENGAGE. There is no 'OFPOL' and no Ombudsman. NOW DOESN'T THAT SOUND LIKE A CORRUPT GOVERNING INSTITUTION TO YOU?

    Yet they have the effrontery to posture wildly against journalism. Dave is sounding off with all the 'incredible' righteous anger he can manufacture, but what Dave neglects is his own dire record of deceptions, denigration and duplicitousness.

    Note to Dave :"YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE A WORLD STATESMAN - THEY ARE JUST GRUBBY TOUTERS OF TOSH". (Though, now I write that, I can see the irony.)


  • Comment number 15.


    Oh Dave! Did mummy never tell you? SET AN EXAMPLE!


  • Comment number 16.


    Oh Simon! Mote and Beam. Corruption begins at home (in The House). I have written to you about the False Instrument used in the 2010 election. YOU DID NOT REPLY. Now why would you defend criminality in a political party, while being so hard on the hacks? I suggest corruption is endemic in Westminster. Prove me wrong?

  • Comment number 17.

    Great to see Sousby back on Newsnight debating the NOTW phone hacking allegations with Jeremy. Very sad to see that Britain lags behind other countries when it comes to protecting children from child abuse. :p reasons to be cheerful? Hmmmmmm......

  • Comment number 18.

    "..... Apparently, "happiness is out, flourishing is in" - but is this the sort of thing governments should be getting involved in?..."

    Governments - NO! But My 'gratitude journal' entry today.............

    I didn't stall, spin or flood the N & D's new car in the awful weather today.
    The News of the World has no reason to be interested in my boring little life
    I was given a small but thoughtful gift and an unexpected compliment fromman unexpected quarter
    I made my youngest son laugh - and it wasn't at me
    Then he made me cry - good tears
    I had enough to eat
    I embarrassed my doctor - pay back time!
    My eldest son graduates tomorrow adn I don't care that it is gooing to be hissing it down. It will mask more tears
    He has a job
    I have a job
    My N & D has a job

  • Comment number 19.


    The lady is a Tory acolyte, par excellence. On message, and on course.

    When Prezza appeared I had to stop watching. Spot on Strug @13.

  • Comment number 20.


    I think the BBC, needs all their spare cash for output-enhancement Murray.

    Knowing the modus operandi of Blair of Jerusalem, made clear through Iraq dossiers and the '45 minutes' passive lie, and remembering his ruthless tame Gollum who had strong print media connections, I would not be at all surprised if New Labour procured hacking. (But only in the national Interest.)

  • Comment number 21.

    I would like to float an idea about media regulation:

    The problem has always been the need to maintain the right to free speech versus the need to protect the public against media intrusion and abuse - the argument goes that government must not be able to prevent publication for any reason other than as a response to a direct threat to the state in extreme wartime, or it will use this power to further its own ends and muzzle the media - the road to a police state, in other words...

    I take this argument on board, but there is a way to legislate to avoid this by addressing the management of the process rather than the content which is published.

    I propose that a law be passed to create a new offence of "serious and sustained mismanagement of a significant media publishing business to allow criminal acts to be committed in a sustained and deliberate manner for financial gain".

    I would then argue that the punishment on conviction of the directors of such a business should be a Court Order preventing that company from publishing ANYTHING for up to six months on a second conviction, one month on first conviction - this could be augmented with large fines as well, and as with the financial service industry, senior managers who are convicted should also be banned from working in the industry again as traders are who fall foul of the Banking Act.

    To have this penalty hanging over their heads would ensure that no editor of a major media brand would ever dare allow the sort of things that are alleged to have gone on @ NI to happen again because the loss of publication for even a month would be so catastrophic financially for the business that the owners would instantly fire anyone who failed prevent even the smallest infraction of this law.

    The new law should expressly exclude the scenario of a single rogue journalist, it should exclude campaigning journalism and even publications that make mistakes or do things like libel people: there is already enough legal remedy in place around these issues - the test for the new law should be based on proving that offences such as the phone tapping culture were "committed in a sustained and deliberate manner for financial gain" and that the management either knew about it and allowed it to happen, or failed to supervise their staff so negligently that they allowed it to go on.

    IMHO what appears to have gone on @ NOTW amounted to a tacit acceptance and application of a criminal culture by its management involving significant numbers of individuals, outside investigators and bribing & corrupting police officers, to obtain information to produce stories to sell papers to make loads of money for the company and to no doubt to fuel big payouts for the journos involved in bonuses and big salaries.

    My new law would make this culture impossible in the future because no publisher would be prepared to run the risk.

    I'd argue that although there is already a conspiracy law, to try and apply this to a newspaper management when so much of the industry is freelance or sub-contracted would be virtually impossible - yet we are talkng about something that bears a striking resemblance to organised crime in the form of insider trading, or even mafia-type infmoral networks, but in this case there is a company, a management and a brand, all of which can and should be held to account for the way the business is run.

  • Comment number 22.


    Buddha Clegg was a study in stillness, as Demonstrative Dave roared his self-approval and appalled condition. Only once did I see the Clegg gaze flick to Dave's Holy Right Ear.

    As all the best heroes say: "I don't like it, it's too quiet".

    Whatever is going on in the Clegg mind, it is not passionate empathy with Dave.

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 23.


    Michael has seen the future; it is a 'return of power' from the cess-pit of media to the Chamber (pot) of Westminster.

    Let joy be unconfined.

  • Comment number 24.

    Australian revenge

    just when you think the NOTW couldn't get any worse it gets even sicker.

  • Comment number 25.

  • Comment number 26.

    Why are you and the police going round upsetting the families of dead children and soldiers? You say their phones "might" have been tapped. That supposes that they also might not have been tapped. What are the percentages here? 20/80? 50/50? 40/60? Seedy politicians with something to hide want to might want to use grieving families as a smokescreen for their witch hunt against their perceived tormentors but that's no excuse for you to join in or provide them with a platform.

  • Comment number 27.

    CONFLICT (#25)

    Janus Patten seems to praise NewsyNighty while decrying BBC waste and folly. But then - you can't rely on media reporting can you!

  • Comment number 28.

    'and we will be joined by guests to discuss'

    And lo, as night follows day...

    'some usual suspect guests to 'comment'

    And such paragons of ethical virtue, too.

    Those wronged must be pleased to have such champions.

    Not a time for jokes. Especially bad ones.

    Must be great to have positions no one is able to question*

    *Robinson and Peston blogs were outlived only by mayfly lifespans, in the middle of a day most who uniquely fund the BBC were at work, leaving the field clear for only certain comment. So yes, unchecked media monopolies are a concern.

  • Comment number 29.

    '*Robinson and Peston blogs were outlived only by mayfly lifespans'

    I may have an explanation, if not excuse...

    ...they are in fact closing each other's blogs down. Nothing to do with the public.

  • Comment number 30.

    Junkmale regarding your link: Robinson V Preston

    Both merchants of chaos. Robinson always has good delivery thats bordering on masterly top end stage craft.

    Meanwhile Prestons brain still ain't wired up properly for the outside world, the outside hearing world.

    Anyhow, all is vanity.

    (vanity fair ?!..newsleak regarding source used in your Telegraph story link..god dammit! thats the best pun your gonna read all week)

  • Comment number 31.

    who to lead the enquiry?

    a female judge wouldn't be a member of a lodge?


    how does the state deal with a corrupt police force that has cruelly betrayed the trust of victims for money? how can the police chiefs stay?

    why should anyone trust the police if the information they give that may place them in danger if made public is for sale to fill the police boots?


    what ghastly brainwashing
    modern psychologists are behaviourists. they are not experts in psyche ie the soul.

    the soul is not happy with desires for material but with service with no thought of reward. ie read the vedas.

  • Comment number 32.


    When I heard that people were complaining more frequently of police rudeness and roughness, I fell to pondering the not-too-long-ago drop-off in recruiting. As I recall: the pay was jacked up - did they also reduce the standard of APTITUDE (like lowering the height, earlier)? In short: have we attracted a cohort of opportunists, so to speak? (aka: 'I's a job innit!)

    Something similar is apparent in nursing, since Project 2000, is it not?

    I'll get me private wound care insurance.

  • Comment number 33.


    The drift to 'male' goals values and rewards is not apparent to those who live within the lie.

    The Liophilics are sure they can ENGINEER wellbeing and happiness; meanwhile the world goes mad, exponentially. Is there anyone, in the BBC, who has a clue of the alternative - mature fulfilment of the individual?

    Ho hum.

  • Comment number 34.


    a third world country has a corrupt police force,political class and media. so why should we be surprised?

  • Comment number 35.

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

  • Comment number 36.

    Gaunty on QT a must see TV. wish he was on NN so Jeremy could have a go.....looks like serious law breaking with NOW getting away with murder hacking into vulnerable families, condemning at the despatch box doesn't cover it, Dave should cut all ties with Rebecca and Andy and let Plod do his stuff only certain Plod are in the frame too so how do we approach this sordid saga, Tommy Sheridan can expect a revisit over Coulson and maybe the full facts might emerge, this sorry set of affairs has existed for forty years, doffing caps to Rupert and standing by watching him destroy British democracy on a whim, destroy Kinnock? No probs....will the last one of UK turn the lights out.....Gotcha, as three hundred young Argentinian boys went under a cold south Atlantic and all because of ONE mans ego and need to be loved when he was the most unloved press baron and yet still had PM's in this country quaking in fear.....please, please rid us now of this accursed priest....

  • Comment number 37.

    What do we perceive to be the actual activity of 'hacking into.....?'

    7 people I have asked today all think it means activities that include accessing records of phone conversations, or listening in on phone conversations.

    Is this because the mass media wants to stir up hysteria against their rivals therefore has no interest whatsoever in making crustal clear how limited a statement that is.


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