BBC BLOGS - Peston's Picks
« Previous | Main | Next »

Murdoch employs BP strategy

Robert Peston | 09:12 UK time, Monday, 24 January 2011

You might call it the BP strategy.

It goes like this: company suffers a disaster; company offers comprehensive financial settlement to victims of the disaster; company admits to its own shortcomings, but implies that an entire industry has also engaged in similar flawed practices.

Signs for the four News International newspapers

 

That broadly describes the response of BP to the appalling oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It also describes the new strategy adopted by News International - the UK arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation - to cap the reputational and financial damage from the phone-hacking debacle.

Executives at News are engaged - they tell me - in finding out everything they can about who was hacked by the News of the World, News International's Sunday tabloid, and who at News International knew about the hacking.

Once they have the details, they will offer settlements to those celebs, politicians and others whose privacy may have been invaded - to cut out the requirement for huge lawyers' fees.

Any culpable News International executives will be sacked.

They tell me all of this could happen in a matter of weeks.

And, not too subtly, the message will be sent out that if News International's Augean Stables have been cleaned, what about the stench from other media groups? Because, as I've mentioned before on this blog, there was a period at the start of this century when questionable techniques to obtain stories were employed by a number of newspapers.

In this context, it matters that Mark Lewis - the solicitor who obtained a whopping settlement from the News of the World over the hacking of the phone of Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association - is preparing cases for clients alleging unlawful breach of privacy against media groups other than News International.

I spoke to Lewis yesterday, and the allegations of his clients are pretty hair-raising. Which implies that those other media groups (and they know who they are) should probably be conducting thorough internal reviews, to ascertain just how liable they may turn out to be.

Not to over-dramatise, this has all the potential for the newspaper industry to turn into its version of the MPs' expenses scandal.

But back to News International. What are the implications for that vast media business?

Now there are two separate questions of culpability here.

First there is the basic question of who knew about the hacking and who authorised it.

That's primarily what its own internal investigation, which began with the suspension of Ian Edmondson, head of news at the News of the World since 2005, is aimed at discovering.

Now without pre-judging the outcome, when Mr Edmondson was suspended a few weeks ago, News International executives told me that they expected Andy Coulson to resign as the prime minister's communications director - which he duly did on Friday.

Their prediction that he would go wasn't because they had found e-mails or evidence that he was directly implicated in the hacking - or, at least, so they said. It will take some time for them to conclude their trawl through Mr Edmondson's e-mails and computer files.

But they didn't see how Mr Coulson - as the News of the World's editor at the relevant time - could stay on in government, once News International had made its very public demonstration (through the suspension of Mr Edmondson) that it was re-examining its earlier statements that it had already found out everything that needed to be found out and had taken all the necessary corrective action.

For what it's worth, colleagues of Rupert Murdoch tell me he knew nothing about the hacking. He's in London this week and - say executives - is hopping mad about the whole thing. He is so angry, he may even cancel News Corporation's annual jaunt to the World Economic Forum in Davos.

His son, James - who runs all of News Corp's European and Asian operations - is also in the clear, because he was chief executive of British Sky Broadcasting when the hacking was taking place.

But there is a separate question that shareholders in News Corporation will want James Murdoch to answer - which is why he didn't order this comprehensive internal review much earlier.

In particular, what's hanging over James Murdoch is the statement made to MPs in July 2009 by two News International executives - Tom Crone, its head of legal, and Colin Myler, then editor of the News of the World - that James Murdoch authorised payments to Gordon Taylor of several hundred thousand pounds to settle a case of invasion of privacy.

Rather than paying Mr Taylor to keep his mouth shut about the whole affair (the settlement included a confidentiality clause), some would argue that James Murdoch would have done better to find out quite how systemic hacking had become in his organisation, and taken whatever remedial action was necessary.

Update 15:34: I am told by a News International insider that investigators are processing “tens of thousands” of e-mails sent and received by Ian Edmondson – which is why the probe is taking a while.

But News International hopes to have completed its evaluation of what happened and who (if anyone) was to blame within days – though probably not this week.

If the investigators do find further evidence relating to unlawful invasion of individuals’ privacy, News International says it will pass such material to the police.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Robert wrote:

    "...colleagues of Rupert Murdoch tell me..."

    if you sup with the devil and/or his agents/employees a little or indeed a lot, rubs off! The Metropolitan Police are presently learning the truth of this adage.

    Being kind to the aged (80 this year) Rupert Murdoch born an Australian (now an American): it may well be true that he is 'hopping mad' about 'phone hacking gate' but a general cannot wash his hands of the actions of his privates! (Oh, that is a very 'Sun' turn of phrase - sorry).

    His position in media ownership is irredeemable (BSyB deal is lost!), but he could perhaps devote the rest of his life to good works.

  • Comment number 2.

    There is another issue as far as I am concerned, an elephant in the room as it were and that is not just how widespread it was at a particular (or any other NEWS organisation) but WHO ELSE was tapping whom. To this day there are still rumours that there was widespread tapping of both Labour and CND activists phones and even interception of their mail certainly from the 1960's, I can certainly say i had my own suspicions, - letters that were sent (taped) sealed arriving having been unsealed and resealed unusual sounds in the back ground during telephone conversations and so on. We really need a widespread investigation into who was monitoring whom, where the information went and how it was used.

  • Comment number 3.

    Perhaps we will get to know whether Mr Coulson was a negligent executive or a dishonest one. At the same time we will also establish just how poor Cameron's judgement was.

  • Comment number 4.

    "For what it's worth, colleagues of Rupert Murdoch tell me he knew nothing about the hacking."

    So James M knew for a year and a half, but didn't tell Dad. Hmmm.... pull the other one.

  • Comment number 5.

    News International have for a long time been trying to avoid this process. And now they are going to open a Pandora's Box.

    I suspect what they will find is that the practice of hacking into phones was endemic. If that is the case the only way to kill the whole sorry affair will be for them to come clean, for there to be sackings at a senior level and for a process to be set up to assess claims for damages. If I were Murdoch I would also establish some sort of code of conduct.

    But lets be fair about this - it seems likely all of the tabloids were at it.

    Query though what impact all of this will all have on

    - the BSkyB deal

    - the Metropolitan police

    - the Murdoch papers views of the Coalition Government.

  • Comment number 6.

    As well as learning a bit more about events at News Corporation it sounds like we are also learing more about why Coulson suddenly had to resign.

    If phone hacking was limited to just a lone royal correspondent then it is credible that an editor might know nothing. But if there is truth behind the claims that sportsmen, politicians etc etc were all hacked on a routine basis then this is multiple journalists and multiple departments. Frankly it is not credible that the editor knew nothing.

    Sounds like Coulson had to jump quick, knowing that all this was about to come out.

  • Comment number 7.

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

  • Comment number 8.

    I see the strategy. No doubt this is going to become a massive story that will run for the next 6 months at least. But it's taking a turn that will not only take the heat off News International, as all the news organisations become involved, but from the Coalition who are trying to distance themselves from the News International stable after the resignation of Coulson.

    http://extranea.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 9.

    Vince Cable is right - he has won the war on Rupert Murdoch, even after loosing every battle. The BskyB deal is dead and gone – rejoice!

  • Comment number 10.

    Lets just sling mud around to avoid us being blamed eh?
    And another phrase is there is no smoke without fire.

    For me the fact that the press do dig around in search of a story is a good thing, but as always there is a line to be drawn, and this one is going to cost News Corp so much cash.. let alone reputation.

    How long will this story run? Until MP's think they can comment safely?

  • Comment number 11.

    Robert, if you have evidence against other media groups hacking activities can I suggest you pass it onto the appropriate authorities?

  • Comment number 12.

    A bit of a storm in a teacup... anyone sensible realises that mobile phones are NOT secure and if you have something really confidential to say you are better off using a different medium of communication. That doesn't condone phone-tapping, it's still illegal unless you have a court warrant to do it, but if it's feasible it is natural to expect journalists after what they regard to be a story will have a go.

    The telling thing is, what news stories have actually resulted from interceptions of telephone conversations?

  • Comment number 13.

    i had news of the world hacks bragging to me that they had a certain cheeky chappy banged to rights on tape admitting to using hookers
    i have no proof it was a phone tap but thats what they implied, it might have been a more simple version of just recording a conversation with a disloyal friend, except the cheeky chappie was unaware, is there a difference? anyway it was inadmissable, they lost the case and this was way back in the mid eighties!

  • Comment number 14.

    Really ? this has only just happened ?!!! and will prove David Camerons judgement blah! blah! blah.

    I bet Alistair Campbell and the whiter than white Saint Tony are biting their fingernails right now.

  • Comment number 15.

    @ 11. At 10:13am on 24th Jan 2011, MyVoiceinYrHead wrote:

    > Robert, if you have evidence against other media groups hacking activities
    > can I suggest you pass it onto the appropriate authorities?

    Good point. If more comes out, and you havn't spilled your guts, then You are peverting the course of justice and assisting criminals.

    Robert, it's time to 'fes up, kiddo.

  • Comment number 16.

    Something your story doesn't point out - much of the 'hacking' involved taking advantage of the victims own foolishness at not altering their default voicemail PIN, and simply changing that would've stopped much of this cold.

    It doesn't justify or excuse what the journo's did, but isn't much of this a little over the top? It's little different from them rifling through rubbish for information.

    Any cases where phones have been tapped is, of course, a whole other magnitude and needs tackling (preferably with jail time) properly, but I think those are few and far between.

    No one comes out of this terribly well - the victims for being stupid, the phone companies for having single, and silly, default PINs and the journo's for being nosey little swine - but I'm at a loss as to why it's been blown into such a big thing.

    And if they accessed anything nationally important from Browns phone, I trust he'll be given the necessary dressing down for not conducting the nations business via the secured phones he was provided with?

  • Comment number 17.

    The real downside for the other media groups is whether their owners will have deep enough pockets not only to match News International but to satisfy the wronged parties. As the news print business is not as profitable as it once was (at least 2 broadsheets are just about afloat) will some titles actually perish in the wake of this?

  • Comment number 18.

    Ignorance is not and should not be a defence.

    If anyone is so naive to think that an organisation would carry out such activities without either an implicit / explicit approval of top management or a deliberate ignorance of such actions then they need to wake up.

    You can hide behind whatever smokescreens and mirrors that you put in place but at the end of the day an organisation would not dare to carry out such actions without senior approval, the risks are too high to the individual. The structuring of the acquisition and consideration of such actions would be done in such a way to allow deniability, but it would be done.

    Would it be hypocrisy by some who have relied upon, for example Wikileaks disclosures, to comment upon others who have used phone hacks? Maybe the issue is more about say a journalistic old school (ie leaks / friends on the inside / briefings etc) which is much more of a personal way of obtaining information vs newer school (phone / email / sms hacking etc) a much more impersonal way of obtaining information.


  • Comment number 19.

    'Now without pre-judging the outcome, when Mr Edmondson was suspended a few weeks ago, News International executives told me that they expected Andy Coulson to resign as the prime minister's communications director - which he duly did on Friday.'

    So, why didn't you tell us, Robert?

  • Comment number 20.

    The newspaper Industry is on it's deathbed,and while it's final breath has not yet been reached,these sort of revelations ,must surely hasten it's demise.I For one,and many others,Need up to the minute news,and not news,that in some cases,floods in Australia,The Ashes,Can be 36 hours old.
    Thank you Newspaper industry,for your past,but now it's time to close your eyes and let go.

  • Comment number 21.

    You're right about the implications for the rest of the newspaper industry - including the Telegraph's dubious practices in setting up stories which were revealed recently. This is wider than phone-hacking, it's about the ethics of the whole industry.

  • Comment number 22.

    I heard that Murdoch Snr decided to jump on the first flight to the UK after he found out that TWO MORE soap stars had decided to initiate litigation proceedings against News International over the weekend.

    Those soap stars were Tony Blair and Gordon Brown!

  • Comment number 23.

    Rupert Murdoch and James Murdock are quite literally following the classic mafia tactics - if you are cornered with a crime, implicate as many as possible other co-conspirators to dilute the crime against you.
    Thank goodness it has come at the nick of time before News International would have the chance to swallow the BSkyB. By that time News International would have been so dominant that they could dictate the outcome of British election (much more than they do it now).
    Bring back Vince Cable to wage the war.

  • Comment number 24.

    The way in which this investigation has been handled by the Met police seems to me to be the MOST important aspect of this.

    Whether those involved and accused are guilty or not or found to be guilty or not by a court, is NOT as important as the bad taste that the metropolitan Police enquiry is yielding from lack of action

    Maybe the Met should hand over all evidence to the Telegraph and or Wilkileaks as trust and faith in public establishment entitys is continueing to wane, especially as with even the most HIGEST LEVEL government enquirys they can simply be denied transparancy and openess just by "not in public interst" excuses and excuses of "privacy" which simply override politicians provision of evidence & facts ultimate duty to the people whom they perport to represent and whos interests they perport to hold above all else.

  • Comment number 25.

    A reporter has to protect his sources; some have gone to prison rather than reveal. Good for them. Let's have less of the nonsense about Robert revealing his sources; it'll be a pretty boring blog if he does as nobody will tell him anything - even the banks and then he'd be speechless.

    Yes the BP syndrome is to sling mud around and see where it sticks. As 12 Megan said mobiles are not secure - anyone can listen in with a little know-how and anyone talking on these phones should know better than to divulge sensitive information. After all, if you leave your car keys in the ignition and your car gets stolen whose fault is that? It's still illegal to steal of course.

    The only redress against the media is expensive court action and the only people able to take action are the rich. Settlements should be much lower, these stupid people are partly responsible, just like the irresponsible car driver.

    And don't think it's only the media listening in. Look at what happened during the blitz, a lot of covert monitoring. There are many organisations who see it as their right to look at what you're up to, often on the pretext of fighting terrorism, and some of them even do it legally.

    One good thing the government has done is to scrap identity cards. They don't see the problem in Europe where they're used to them but perhaps they don't have the same suspicion of the Authorities. Vive La Manche.

  • Comment number 26.

    Apparently, it is perfectly lawful to reach a private agreement admitting liability for a criminal act (phone hacking) and paying damages, while also inserting a confidentiality clause. In another context, bribing a witness to keep silent would be called conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Can a lawyer explain the difference, for the benefit of the rest of us?

  • Comment number 27.

    If it wasn't for the fact that most BBC "journalists" don't actually seem to do journalism - they just report what other people have reported, I would be licking my lips waiting for the first BBC hacker to surface. That I would find funny.

    I suspect most newspapers have been involved in this practice, and the fun will run and run.

  • Comment number 28.

    @MyVoiceinYrHead

    "Robert, if you have evidence against other media groups hacking activities can I suggest you pass it onto the appropriate authorities?"

    ...who will then proceed to sit on it.

  • Comment number 29.

    26

    The difference is who catches you and how good your lawyers are.

    I would guess any such agreement would not necessarily stipulate that you had broken the law, but would instead for a settlement figure you would agree that no crime had been committed against you, you would not pursue any potential claims, and of course you would say nothing further about the matter. Similar to an emplyment contract of compromise.

    A multilayered, ex judiciary, system depending on how much you want to pay on lawyers fees and in compromise fees.

  • Comment number 30.

    This just shows how other-directed the media have become.

    Rather than engage in investigative journalism that informs the public at large as to the real nature of events that control their lives they go off chasing so-called celebrities who will be upset that their phone was not hacked into.

    I hope that the fees and out of court settlements involved will reassure the owners of these organs that good investigative journalism is nowhere near as expensive as wallowing in the sins of the odious and foolish.

    Just think if we had proper investigative journalism we might never have joined in that madcap venture in Iraq and even stopped the banks from going bust.

    No doubt we will in due course discover that the journalists involved were actually undercover policemen sent to subvert the media and sleep with all and sundry.

    Isn't anybody honest these days?

  • Comment number 31.

    Interesting that this comes on the same day that the BBC announces a 25% cut to its web services, which, it has been suggested, is a direct result of Cameron's pressure in response to pressure from his boss (Murdoch). We need to resist Murdoch's continuing determination to kill off a free, unbiased press, and I hope that the people who are offered these payoffs turn them down and keep the pressure up in the interests of stopping this man and his empire from massacring our rights.

  • Comment number 32.

    The newspapers claim they influence public opinion, and now it seems they have been caught out, allegedly carrying out criminal acts. It makes me feel very uncomfortable and also concerned for the future of our society if there has been widespread hacking.

    If there has been widespread hacking, call it what it is 'breaking the law' Pay-offs to injured parties is one thing, but criminal acts must forfeit our trust [if we had any in the first place].

    For some reason, they have been listened to in the past; individuals are not. This should be reversed. The newspapers are self-appointed and have no allegience to anything except circulation and the exercise of power in their own favour. Occasionally, they do campaign for just causes, that I accept. But blatant criminality makes me wonder about their motives in all their actions.

    These are the people who denigrate the BBC when they can. Our policy makers and politicians should make it clear that, henceforth, their views [and the views of anyone associated with them] will be discounted and will not be accepted for ANY official investigation to decide policy. They cannot be trusted, so they should forfeit all lines of access to the corridors of power for a generation, say 30 years.

  • Comment number 33.

    #24 Are you suggesting that the Met are politically biased?

    Surely if the Met have seen the evidence and concluded that there is no reasonable possibility of conviction that is for them to decide?

    There is a second question of what investigation have the Met done. They should have had access to all the emails that Murdoch is going through. If they had access and concluded that there was no smoking gun then that should be the end of the matter.

    As far as I am concerned the hounding of Coulson by Labour has extremely sinister overtones. Definitely a case of Labour trying to get an employee sacked rather than a politician. What next, question marks over Cameron's choice of nanny?

  • Comment number 34.

    Could we have a little clarity please rather than hysteria. It is not being made clear exactly what has happened. If someone had been accessing voicemail rather than actually intercepting conversations then it is significantly less sinister and I would be grateful if a legal opinion as to what offence has been committed could be quoted.

  • Comment number 35.

    Well not shakespeare (27). The fact that the BBC focuses on providing unbiased well informed news rather than trying to create the news by using dubious honeytraps or illegal phone taps is what others should aspire to?

  • Comment number 36.

    Murdoch always gets what he wants...I don't hold out much hope for blogs on the BBC...Oh well it was good while it lasted.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-12265173

  • Comment number 37.

    On last nights The Sunday Night Show, John Prescott stated that he was ,again, calling for a judicial review because he was not happy about the Police's lack of follow-up relating to the earlier allegations of phone hacking.

    But following New Labours disgraceful behaviour towards the Met over the Cash for Honours scandal i.e. the attempted smearing of the 'untouchable' and then acting Assistant Commissioner of the Met -John Yates.....It was probably a case of once-bitten-twice-shy!

  • Comment number 38.

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

  • Comment number 39.

    @ 34. At 11:42am on 24th Jan 2011, Ian wrote:

    > If someone had been accessing voicemail rather than actually
    > intercepting conversations then it is significantly less sinister

    Please explain yourself. The tapping of telecommunications is a serious business. Please do not try to downplay this again until you can support your allegations that this is "less sinister".



  • Comment number 40.

    Reading some of these bitter and twisted contributions its clear that Murdoch inspires real hate among a section of people. Why?
    He has single handedly created among other things a set of TV channels, out of his own pocket and effort, remembering that the BBC get £4bn a year to spend/waste how the Islington chattering classes see fit. Is it just an envy of success? Seems to me the Beeb have quite a vested interest in this story. Perhaps they should not be reporting on it.
    Re hacking, with freedom comes responsibility. The press may need to learn a hard lesson on this. But giving rich people hundreds of thousands for hacking into their phones etc is totally disproportionate. Yet if a genuine scandal had been uncovered how self-righteous would we be then?
    The press do need to be able to expose hypocricies among the ruling and influential classes.

  • Comment number 41.

    It came as quite a surprise to learn that mobile phone conversations were intended to be confidential.
    So many are conducted at high volume in public places that I'd started to think that was compulsory.

  • Comment number 42.

    It will be interesting to see if in making settlements to celebs, NI also insists on gagging orders so that the size of the problem is hidden.

    I hope the celebs and politicians are gutsy enough to refuse if that happens.

  • Comment number 43.

    Can I ask how people - like the Guardian - distinguish between accessing a persons voicemail and something like wikileaks?

    It seems to me that there is an arguable case for publishing information that is obtained illegally if it is in clearly in the public interest to do so? Do others agree?

    How does the media know if it is in the public interest to publish information until information is considered?

    I appreciate that hacking into celebrities phones to reveal who they are slepping with is unlikely to be in the public interest. My point is only that assuming this practice (and others) was widespread we need to think carefully about what we condemn and what we condone.



  • Comment number 44.

    Great Post RP.

    Hmmm...this is all becoming very tasty.

    N.I. hacking its political enemies on the "left", Brown wants to know was he hacked along with Prescott. The Met doing nothing and sitting on evidence for months on end, N.I. failing to conduct an internal review, Coulson employed by the Conservatives as Cameron's personal advisor so he could understand the proles, Cameron apparently asking Coulson not to leave (did he jump or was he pushed? - bear in mind "squeaky clean" Cameron's soon to be exhausted ability to externalise political damage on to his ex-colleagues). Also note, Cameron's claim that Coulson has already been punished for his "offence" and so this second punishment was unfair - therefore, inadvertently admitting that Coulson WAS guilty in some way whilst at N.I and he knew it. N.I. paying for peoples silence, whilst trying to tie up a deal with Cameron's government to take over BSB. Lots of smoke - is there a fire? Note the distinct smell of corruption in the air...

    Now, how do we divert the public's attention away from all this nasty stuff?



  • Comment number 45.

    33. At 11:39am on 24th Jan 2011, Justin150 wrote:

    > As far as I am concerned the hounding of Coulson by Labour has extremely sinister overtones.

    I find all these allegations of “sinister overtones” to be very sinister indeed! That Coulson bloke either didn't know what was going on at NoW, in which case he's a chump for not knowing. Or he knew, in which case he's a scallywag. Either way, he has no future as a spin doctor.

    > What next, question marks over Cameron's choice of nanny?

    Is she a Russian spy without a work permit, as well?

    > Surely if the Met have seen the evidence and concluded that there is no reasonable
    > possibility of conviction that is for them to decide?

    The Met can't run a bath, never mind an inquiry.

  • Comment number 46.

    42. At 12:06pm on 24th Jan 2011, Hastings wrote:

    > It will be interesting to see if in making settlements to celebs, NI also
    > insists on gagging orders so that the size of the problem is hidden.

    There'll be no gagging orders - that's what WikiLeaks is for.

  • Comment number 47.

    What is the difference between what newspapers have done and Wikileaks?

  • Comment number 48.

    #36 muggwhump wrote:

    Murdoch always gets what he wants...I don't hold out much hope for blogs on the BBC...Oh well it was good while it lasted.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-12265173

    -----------------------------------

    The BBC provides most of the info on its websites in anything up to 15 other foreign languages. Why do they do this when it's only us mugs here who fund it.

    My guess is that the sole purpose for providing this 'service' is as a means to push the Libertarian/Neo-Lib agenda onto the ROTW.

    Surely this should be where the first cuts occur earliest?

  • Comment number 49.

    Perhaps Rupert Murdoch should also sue News International for tapping his phone!

  • Comment number 50.

    At last, some quality home-grown entertainment from the Murdoch stable. Something that hasn't been poached from another channel nor a news story concerning where Jordan's t**ts are living this week.
    Of course Jordan's assets may have also been tapped, ooh-er etc.

    I do hope that this will run and run.

    On the downside, what a shame to see that the excellent online BBC service is 'restructuring': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-12265173

    Trash vs quality, does the former always win?

  • Comment number 51.

    40. At 12:02pm on 24th Jan 2011, jacko wrote:
    Reading some of these bitter and twisted contributions its clear that Murdoch inspires real hate among a section of people. Why?
    He has single handedly created among other things a set of TV channels, out of his own pocket and effort........

    --------------------------------------------------------

    It is a bit of an insult to the people that work for him to say he single handedly did anything.

    It is also an insult to the buyers of his newspapers, the advertisers, his bankers and the subscribers to say he paid for it all out of his own pocket.

    What a twisted view you have!

  • Comment number 52.

    I think my phone's been hacked in the past!!!

    Quick, someone get me Murdoch's lawyers number!

  • Comment number 53.

    its the same old story all the time with R M i did not know what was going on in my newspapers and HE OWNES THE TIMES SUN NEWS OF THE WORLD SKY A C WAS THE EDITOR OF THE NEWS OF THE WORLD AND BY GOLLY HE DID NOT KNOW AS WELL OH MY GOD DAVID CAMERON THINKS ANDY IS DOING A GREAT JOB THAY WOULD NOT KNOW THE TRUTH IF IT CAME AND SMACKED THEM IN THE MOUTH I,M SICK TO DEATH OF THE NEWS PAPERS IN THIS COUNTRY ESPECIALY ALL THAT R M OWNES PLUS SKY NEWS

  • Comment number 54.

    47. At 12:11pm on 24th Jan 2011, yam yzf wrote:
    What is the difference between what newspapers have done and Wikileaks?

    News international has a vested interest - financial gain. And it leads right into cabinet in the form of Coulson.

  • Comment number 55.

    I agree with MrWonderfulReality that the way the police have handled this investigation - or not, as the case seems to be - is the most important aspect of this story. A situation where the police force is under the thumb of the press is neither healthy or democratic and should be a major cause for concern.

    Another thing that nobody seems to have pointed out is that if News Int manage to settle out of court, as Peston suggests will happen, they will in effect have got away with breaking the law by buying off the victims. The whole thing stinks.

  • Comment number 56.

    It sold newspapers, it also probably aided in us getting the present CONDEM government! I'd certainly argue that those responsible should be facing a short stay at one of HM establisments, from the bottom and as far up the ladder it will reach! But then those responsible don't have honourable after their job title!

  • Comment number 57.

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

  • Comment number 58.

    It goes like this: journalist takes dull story, sensationalises it, takes the moral high ground, claims it’s in the public’s interest, implies the whole media industry is engaged in similar flawed practices.

  • Comment number 59.

    Can you include the Daily Mirror when you're discussing phone hacking as well? Not just the "right-wing", non-BBC aligned papers?

  • Comment number 60.

    52

    Murdoch's lawyer is ex directory of course, phones are not secure you know!

    Back to self destructing messages and eating paper notes.

    For the conspiracy theorists and thriller writers, what of the relationship between the corporate and the governmental gathering of information, seems like a mutually beneficial relationship rather than an adversarial one, after all information is priceless...... Picture the famous footballer spotted entering the brothel that the intelligence services are watching to monitor money laundering....or the unfaithful politician being watched by the corporate services being seen meeting a known sympathiser of certain causes...



  • Comment number 61.

    "Not to over-dramatise, this has all the potential for the newspaper industry to turn into its version of the MPs' expenses scandal."
    Not really. Certainly not to those of us who don't give a damn about celebrities, or others who may have been 'hacked'. Yes, there may have been the odd security risk (if some powerful people were hacked and if they were stupid enough to leave sensitive information on answerphones); but as much you may want it to be another expenses scandal, this just isn't the same. Not even close.

  • Comment number 62.

    @ 47. At 12:11pm on 24th Jan 2011, yam yzf wrote:

    > What is the difference between what newspapers have done and Wikileaks?

    Legality.

  • Comment number 63.

    56. At 12:30pm on 24th Jan 2011, redrobb wrote:
    It sold newspapers, it also probably aided in us getting the present CONDEM government!

    Agree, thats what I was implying.

    55. At 12:27pm on 24th Jan 2011, QueenAliOfHanover wrote:
    I agree with MrWonderfulReality that the way the police have handled this investigation - or not, as the case seems to be - is the most important aspect of this story. A situation where the police force is under the thumb of the press is neither healthy or democratic and should be a major cause for concern.

    Another thing that nobody seems to have pointed out is that if News Int manage to settle out of court, as Peston suggests will happen, they will in effect have got away with breaking the law by buying off the victims. The whole thing stinks.


    Absolutely - buying people's silence is completely undemocratic and should be illegal.
    And the degree of police inactivity sets alarm bells ringing.

  • Comment number 64.

    @Ian #34

    What is being done is that voicemail is being accessed from other than the mobile that the mailbox is associated with, simply dial # on connection and then enter the PIN and you're in. A very high proportion of people seem unable to realise that there is a PIN, it usually isn't enabled when calling from the mobile (because it makes it more complex and difficult to use) so they never change it. Result: dodgy journos then know that in most cases they can listen to new and saved messages without too much trouble.

    @yam yzf #47

    The difference you seek is that private conversations between individuals are supposed to remain private, whereas information used by governments who then act on it in our name as electors should be available so that we know when we are being lied to, our names used for unethical acts and where such information is misused in a corrupt fashion.

    I think it's high time that news organisations were made to account for their actions, and demonstrating that their information was obtained legitimately (i.e. it's fair enough if a whistle-blower tells them something, but not if the information was stolen by a third party) would be a good start.

  • Comment number 65.

    I think the beeb are going a bit far, when just to get rid of WOTW, they start shutting down websites?

    I hope the moderators soon find new employment that can also provide the high level of entertainment they must get from WOTW and others.

    If the mods' set up an online petition to retain their jobs, I might be persuaded to support it - over to you mod's !!!!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    #45 let me see you have so far suggested

    1. The police are not fit to run a criminal investigation.

    2. Any person in a company who is not aware of everything that their employees get up to (presumeably during work time or are you extending this to non work time as well) is a chump. Really, never heard of the art of delegation, how do you propose someone in charge of 1000 people is supposed to do this? This is total nonsense. Coulson would not even have been in charge of the employee rules (I am sure the newspaper has an HR department that does that) so it is entirely plausible that how reporters got the stories was not even part of his authority.

    3. Coulson has no future as a spin doctor - not because of what he has done, or even because of what he knew, but because of what some people in the same company as him have done. Interesting concept so in politics you are saying that politicians should not hire any person for any job unless not only they are clean (what happened to giving criminals who have served time a second chance) but that they should never have been employed by anyone or company who at any time they were their did anything a bit naughty. Well that should eliminate the vast majority then.

    As for Russians with no work permits. I thought that was for Liberals only

  • Comment number 67.

    54. At 12:25pm on 24th Jan 2011, i wrote:

    "News international has a vested interest - financial gain. And it leads right into cabinet in the form of Coulson."

    Goverments also have a vested interest in some of the wikileaks data - swiss bank account details anyone?

    In both cases, the method of obtaining information is highly suspect and possibly illegal - so there is no difference is there?

  • Comment number 68.

    64. At 12:41pm on 24th Jan 2011, Tyrbiter wrote:

    "The difference you seek is that private conversations between individuals are supposed to remain private"

    And wikileaks has been quite happily releasing details of private conversations as per some of the earlier wikileaks disclosures.

    So no difference there then is there.

  • Comment number 69.

    40. At 12:02pm on 24th Jan 2011, jacko wrote:
    Reading some of these bitter and twisted contributions its clear that Murdoch inspires real hate among a section of people. Why?
    ---------------------------------
    Murdoch is a man who sold his Australian citizenship to become an American in order to hold media licenses in the US. He sponsors extremist views of the Republican right in the States, via Fox News and seeks to influence politics in this country by telling his newspaper editors who (and who not) to endorse. His proposed purchase of BSkyB is another step along the path of a restriced and narrow-view media.

    Hacking phones (or voicemail) is illegal, an intrusion of privacy and downwright WRONG. Making excuses for Murdoch and his acolytes by stating that it is the the fault of those hacked for using insecure communication is nonsensical. Bring on the high profile, high compensation court cases I say- and lets see Murdoch, Coulson et al. face the music.

  • Comment number 70.

    If all business' starts checking up on what their employees are upto, me and wotw to name one are right in the mire.

    How about you JC? or are you retired?

  • Comment number 71.

    43. At 12:07pm on 24th Jan 2011, Cassandra wrote:

    > Can I ask how people - like the Guardian - distinguish between accessing a persons
    > voicemail and something like wikileaks?

    The Guardian (and wikileaks etc.) makes known what it discovers legally and ethically. Accessing a person's voice mail is not legal or ethical. Ergo; the activities at NoW are different to the ones at the Guardian or wikileaks.

    > It seems to me that there is an arguable case for publishing information that is obtained
    > illegally if it is in clearly in the public interest to do so? Do others agree?

    Of course. And the perpetrator (he who broke the law) should expect to be punished if he is caught. There is no conflict there.

    > How does the media know if it is in the public interest to publish information
    > until information is considered?

    If it has not broken any law, it does not need to worry if its calculation of public interest is acceptable to all. It should have ethics.

    > I appreciate that hacking into celebrities phones to reveal who they are
    > sleeping with is unlikely to be in the public interest.

    It would certainly interest the public, but it may not be necessarily be in their interests (or against their interests for that matter). But if it is ethical and legal, then none of that matters. Are you referring to a case where it is ethical and illegal?

    > My point is only that assuming this practice (and others) was widespread we need to
    > think carefully about what we condemn and what we condone.

    Good people generally don't condemn anything that is in the public interest, irrespective of whether it is legal or ethical (or not). I condemn anything that works against the public interest, irrespective of whether it is legal or ethical (or not) unless it benefits me! Public interest obviously trumps everything else at all times and in all circumstances, except when I have a personal interest which trumps everything else, even public interest.

    But where I am disinterested (!) in the public interest, the following rules apply. If it is ethical and legal, I do not condemn it. Else I do.

    Hope that helps.

  • Comment number 72.

    The whole Murdoch empire is to blame and Hameron and Hunt cannot allow News Corp to buy the rest of Sky

  • Comment number 73.

    #66

    Really, never heard of the art of delegation,

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Could that be the DARK art of delegation???

    I thought that was why DC wanted him on board in the first place,

  • Comment number 74.

    71. At 13:05pm on 24th Jan 2011, Jacques Cartier wrote:
    The Guardian (and wikileaks etc.) makes known what it discovers legally and ethically.
    ================
    Wikileaks certainly does not; it publishes stolen information.

  • Comment number 75.

    @ 64. At 12:41pm on 24th Jan 2011, Tyrbiter wrote:

    > The difference you seek is that private conversations between individuals are
    > supposed to remain private

    Sadly, I have to disagree with that, on the grounds that “supposed to” is a weak concept. Rommel's messages to Hitler over the Enigma machine were “supposed to remain private”; it means nothing.

    @ 68. At 12:54pm on 24th Jan 2011, yam yzf wrote:

    > And wikileaks has been quite happily releasing details of private conversations as per
    > some of the earlier wikileaks disclosures. So no difference there then is there.

    Wikileaks has behaved legally, and it believes it behaves ethically and in the public interest. It is certainly in the public interest to learn about the private lies (not lives) of public figures.

    NoW, on the other hand, has behaved illegally, unethically and without no obvious benefit to the public. I'm surprised anyone can object to their castigation.

  • Comment number 76.

    All newspapers are the same. It makes me laugh when anyone in the media takes the pompous moral high ground;scrape under the surface and they're all into the same game.Private Eye is a godsend in exposing newspaper hypocricy. The guardian and Independent (It isn't;are you?) are every bit as bad and bias as the Sun and Mail. As Saul Bellow so brilliantly put it; with newspapers all you're doing is buying into the soap opera fantasy version of events that you most prefer!
    Why anyone buys newspapers I really don't know.

  • Comment number 77.

    67. At 12:50pm on 24th Jan 2011, yam yzf wrote:
    54. At 12:25pm on 24th Jan 2011, i wrote:

    Wikileaks don't have people like Coulson, with a direct link to Murdoch, working for government at a time when Murdoch is set to make a personal fortune from the sale of a large part of the British Media. Government have a legal obligation to target tax fraud. government have never employed Wikileaks to work on its behalf.

  • Comment number 78.

    Robert, Just watched you on lunchtime news.... please adjust your body language! Appearing on national news leaning back and presenting with your arms folded does not project a professional image and detracts from the words coming out of your mouth! Thanks

  • Comment number 79.

    News intl wont be the only corporation to use the BP tactic for trying to avoid the consequences of their actions and until the head of a corporation can be held acountable for the actions of their staff whether they know about it or not then we will continually see the old game of pass the buck; it's like safety features in cars we dont drive safer beause of them we just have a better survival rate in the more horrific accidents.

    And as for the Met, all police forces in the UK have a certain element of political bias; after all they are paid to enforce the laws laid down by parliament yet parliament has the privilege of deciding when it's own house needs investigating.

  • Comment number 80.

    62. At 12:40pm on 24th Jan 2011, Jacques Cartier wrote:

    "> What is the difference between what newspapers have done and Wikileaks?

    Legality."

    Except for the parts that have been obtained illegally - bank records, classified documents etc

  • Comment number 81.

    @ 54. At 12:25pm on 24th Jan 2011, i wrote:

    > News international has a vested interest - financial gain. And it leads right into
    > cabinet in the form of Coulson.

    Yes. The government must appear to be above that sort of thing. Coulson was a stain that had to be washed out.

    @ 67. At 12:50pm on 24th Jan 2011, yam yzf wrote:

    > Governments also have a vested interest in some of the wikileaks data - swiss bank
    > account details anyone? In both cases, the method of obtaining information is
    > highly suspect and possibly illegal - so there is no difference is there?

    Wikileaks has acquired no original material. It has accepted material from elsewhere and brought it into the public domain. How it is acquired is of no interest to wikileaks. It is disinterested and must remain so, else it would be guilty. Think of it as the web equivalent of a public billboard, if that helps. A billboard can't hack phones!

  • Comment number 82.

    77. At 13:18pm on 24th Jan 2011, i wrote:
    Wikileaks don't have people like Coulson, with a direct link to Murdoch, working for government at a time when Murdoch is set to make a personal fortune from the sale of a large part of the British Media.
    =================
    I thought NI was trying to BUY BSkyB not sell it?

  • Comment number 83.

    @66
    2. Any person in a company who is not aware of everything that their employees get up to (presumeably during work time or are you extending this to non work time as well) is a chump. Really, never heard of the art of delegation, how do you propose someone in charge of 1000 people is supposed to do this? This is total nonsense. Coulson would not even have been in charge of the employee rules (I am sure the newspaper has an HR department that does that) so it is entirely plausible that how reporters got the stories was not even part of his authority.

    Before Coulson was the editor of NoW he was a gossip columnist. It is not credible to suggest that Coulson did not know what was/is common practice among gossip journalists. It's possible to suggest that he chose not to know the details of what was being done by his employees, but that's not really a defence.

  • Comment number 84.

    News Int could have done the right thing, even the sensible thing and sorted this out a long, long time ago but instead sought to deny any deep rooted culture of illegal hacking, then handing out large sums of money to disgruntled individuals, presumably as a gesture of good will for these things that either didn't happen or no one knew about, with the proviso they keep schtum about the whole thing.

    If your MD or Chairman, whatever position Murdoch has, have serious allegations are made against your company, someone with less arrogance and less resource to suppress the complainants would have insisted on a full and frank internal investigation and published its findings to clear things up, or in some circumstances have independent sources look into matters. the Murdoch empire chose the other way, and they are now getting bitten in the rear. I couldn't be happier in all honesty.

    Still though I'm puzzled where the Met Police are in all of this? I thought when there is reasdonable suspicion of an offence taking place, the Police come and investigate; where exactly are they now? Perhaps New International HQ has mysteriously disappeared from their free from the NOTW sat navs.

  • Comment number 85.

    77. At 13:18pm on 24th Jan 2011, i wrote:

    "Government have a legal obligation to target tax fraud. government have never employed Wikileaks to work on its behalf."

    Governments have bought illegally obtained data to target tax evasion. They have broken the law as they knew the data was stolen. Wikileaks publishing data that has been stolen is also breaking the law. Hacking phones is against the law. Disclosing classified documents to unauthorised personnel is against the law

    So again, where is the difference as they are all against the law





  • Comment number 86.

    RP-Any culpable News International executives will be sacked.

    Do you think that might include JM. - I'd like to be a fly on the wall when daddy gets rid of the wonderkid.

    I told my lad to ship out, no problem, Mrs Creditunionhero wasn't best pleased, so that was a double good result!!!!!

  • Comment number 87.

    77. At 13:18pm on 24th Jan 2011, i wrote:

    > Wikileaks don't have people like Coulson, with a direct link to Murdoch,
    > working for government at a time when Murdoch is set to make a personal
    > fortune from the sale of a large part of the British Media.

    Well, I don't know about any of that. But if Coulson didn't know about the crimes at NoW, then he was either negligent or stupid. And if he did know, then he's "in for it" soon. Either way, he's a busted flush. Good riddance to bad rubbish, as we say up north.

    PS: I don't know why you Anglos are so unaware - can't you tell when someones running on empty?

  • Comment number 88.

    JC@71 - I actually think this issue is quite difficult.

    1. You draw a distinction between NOW and Wikileaks/Guardian because Wikileaks simply publishes information handed to it by others - many of whom may have broken the law. But Wikileaks/Guardian knew the information was obtained illegally. And if they did not breach any UK law you can bet that the NYT did in publishing some of the Wikileaks information in the US. And anyway I can imagine circumstances where it is appropriate for a journo to break the law to uncover an important story.

    2. In my view using information which is illegally obtained can be justified in some circumstances - i.e. where there is a public interest in publishing the story. As soon as you get to that position the issue becomes more difficult because there will always be different views of what is in the public interest and there will always be borderline cases.

    4. I agree with the right to privacy. That said I do feel a little ill when I hear celebrities who very often court as much publicity as possible (i.e. selling stories and pictures about the most intimate details of their life) complaining about a breach of privacy because they do not like a particular story.

    5. For me the real scandals here are

    - The attempted cover up/damage limitation. The rogue reporter line really was just ridiculous.

    - The way in which BOTH sides of politics have been reluctant to dig into the phone hacking issue for fear of offending Murdoch & Son. Lets face it Labour did not do much until Murdoch switched sides.

    - The way in which the police have investigated it. Although to be fair their reluctance may in part have to do with the lack of enthusiasm of their political masters and the difficulty of determining when it is appropriate to prosecute a journalist.




  • Comment number 89.

    Hmmm...

    So Coulson resigns as David Camerons sidekick just hours before news reaches us that the previous Prime Minister Gordon Brown and others had their phones hacked.

    Whether he actually knew anything about it or not, David Cameron is up to his neck in it by association. We are very, very suspicious.

    What is now very clear is that this government cannot sanction any BSkyB deal without appearing totally corrupt and rotten to the core.

  • Comment number 90.

    Several posters have mentioned the BSkyB deal - I dont understand why they think this, or any other untoward actions by News International directors or employees, will have the slightest effect on the deal being allowed to proceed by Mr Hunt.

    With reference to other comments about wikileaks and similar web sites, these are essentially secure and anonymous mailboxes for whistle blowers who dont have any other trustworthy outlet for their information - which could be seen as a sad indictment of the state of journalism today. The sites typically target governments & corporates, not the personal behaviour of private citizens; this may be because they dont need to bring in huge sales, or due to their distrust of the corporate state (Mr Assange), or simply because the type of people who run them just aren't interested in celebrities.

  • Comment number 91.

    80. At 13:22pm on 24th Jan 2011, yam yzf wrote:

    >>> What is the difference between what newspapers have done and Wikileaks?

    >> Legality."

    > Except for the parts that have been obtained illegally - bank records, classified documents

    The difference is legality. Are you accusing wikipedia of illegal acts? I'd be careful if I were you, or might end up being sued for libel if you carry on like that.

  • Comment number 92.

    How strange! We make a lot of fuss if banks or online retailers don't protect our personal information. Yet I've not heard anyone critisising the inadequate efforts of mobile phone companies to protect our voice message boxes. They should have fixed the weakness of being to access peoples' voice messages from any phone years ago when this scandal first became public. Mobile phone companies could protect this facility simply by making other phone access only available if a subsciber specfically requests it.

    The system is inherently vulnerable and until the phone companies change their systems, people should get into the habit of deleting voice messages immediately to reduce their exposure.

  • Comment number 93.

    You might call Murdoch’s strategy the BP strategy, but that would be way out-of-place.
    Murdoch goes like this:
    - company commits illegal activity
    - offers financial settlement to victims of the illegality
    - admits the error of its way, but
    - implies that an entire industry is committing illegalities.
    That miserably fails to describe BP's appalling oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico:
    - BP admits risky behaviour
    - offers, and very slowly provides financial assistance; in fact, several victims are waiting to see their very first penny
    - BP leaves the victims to die. Dr. Rodney Soto, a medical doctor in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, has been testing and treating patients with high levels of oil-related chemicals in their bloodstream. These are commonly referred to as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Anthropogenic VOCs from BP's oil disaster are toxic and have negative chronic health effects. Dr. Soto is finding disconcertingly consistent and high levels of toxic chemicals in every one of the patients he is testing.
    - US government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with President Obama himself, declare the Gulf of Mexico, its waters, beaches, and seafood, safe and open to the public. (But what is that green, ugly sludge on the gulf's seabed that just won't go away?)
    Meanwhile Mark Lewis, the solicitor who obtained a whopping settlement from the News of the World over the hacking of the phone of Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, is preparing cases for clients alleging unlawful breach of privacy against media groups other than News International. So, the comparison to BP with the hacking goes more like this:
    if you are rich (whether physically, mentally or emotionally damaged), you can hire a good lawyer and sue; if you are poor (maybe a fisherman or little restaurant owner) you get to physically suffer, emotionally worry and mentally ask yourself what the heck you are going to do.. though in the long-run, you feel, you know, you will just die – probably without one cent in recompense.
    Where were the hackers when the people of the Gulf needed world-wide public exposure of what was going on? Where were the hackers when BP promised but didn't deliver, when the President promised and didn't deliver?
    I guess the people of the Gulf had no shareholders, like those shareholders in News Corporation who will want James Murdoch to answer why he didn't order this comprehensive internal review much earlier? In particular, what's hanging over James Murdoch is the statement made to MPs in July 2009 by two News International executives - Tom Crone, its head of legal, and Colin Myler, then editor of the News of the World - that James Murdoch authorised payments to Gordon Taylor of several hundred thousand pounds to settle a case of invasion of privacy.
    The settlement included a confidentiality clause, some would argue that James Murdoch would have done better to find out quite how systemic hacking had become in his organisation, and taken whatever remedial action was necessary.
    Meanwhile, Tom Costanza of Catholic Charities in the New Orleans area stated that the region is in the middle of a social service crisis and faced a claims process he said is fraught with problems. "People call me crying and dying," he said. "They need medical attention and support to get through this."
    LaTosha Brown, director of the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health, which works with 250 community groups, agreed that "the key concern expressed by the community in response to the report is the overwhelming need for access to health care."
    Over and over, people exposed to crude and dispersants from the drilling disaster told stories of serious health issues - from high levels of ethylbenzyne in their blood, to respiratory ailments and internal bleeding - and expressed an urgent need for access to doctors who have experience treating chemical exposure.
    So, the Murdochs live in a different world than the BP victims. Murdoch's world has rich, important people worth hacking. BP-victims' are poor, unimportant. Their suffering and dying are not worth reporting, never mind hacking.

  • Comment number 94.

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

  • Comment number 95.

    ITS WRONG WRONG WRONG PLAIN AND SIMPLE THAT THE PRIVATE PHONES ARE HACKED ,AND THEN TRY TO BUY OFF THE COMPLAINTS IS MORE WRONG,POLITICIANS BEING HACKED SMELLS LIKE WATERGATE TO ME, LETS GET THE LOT OF IT EXPOSED NO MORE PAY OFFS TO INDIVIDUALS

  • Comment number 96.

    "... and the allegations of his clients are pretty hair-raising. Which implies that those other media groups (and they know who they are) should probably be conducting thorough internal reviews, to ascertain just how liable they may turn out to be."

    I wonder given the alleged scale of this and the implication that it was not one reporter nor even one paper or group (which even the least cynical of us would have considered risible) - will all the print media survive this affair intact?

    I cannot see how they could defend every case without revealing sources that led to any alleged hacking since the inference no doubt would be made in proceedings that the phone hack led to the story rather than the story leading to the hacking.
    To settle out of court with every possible claimant could cripple these companies, if the reported figure of 3000 is assumed correct (and concieveably it could be much higher) and the figures reported for settlements are correct this could cost these groups not merely millions, but billions. Which of them as newspapers alone could withstand such a financial loss?

  • Comment number 97.

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

  • Comment number 98.

    Publishing data acquired illegally by someone else is not in itself illegal, otherwise NotW would have been in the dock when the original case came to court. That is why all of the ongoing cases have been civil rather than criminal. The row at the moment is about who else was complicit in the illegal acts and should therefore face a criminal charge given sufficient evidence.
    This also explains why the US government are trying so hard to make/create a link between Manning and Assange; without that they cant easily charge the latter.
    Now publishing such data could be judged to infringe copyright but that of course is not stealing, just the same as record companies selling music without having the right to do so is a civil matter, not criminal.

  • Comment number 99.

    At 11:45am on 24th Jan 2011, jezzar wrote:
    Well not shakespeare (27). The fact that the BBC focuses on providing unbiased well informed news...

    Not a fact jezzar; just your opinion. It's certainly not an opinion shared by me, or by that ex stalwart of the BBC's newsroom Peter Sissons if you catch up with what he had to say about the BBC at the weekend.

    It's also not an opinion shared by another current BBC stalwart Andrew Marr, who is at least honest enough to admit that BBC groupthink exists.

    And in reply to message 31 I do hope you are not including the BBC in your definition of a "free, unbiased press". I suspect there is no such thing, and the BBC is certainly neither.

    When NoTW has been kicked about for a bit the fun will start in earnest as the rest of the press will have to join in and start fessing up. I am rather looking forward to this, as I suspect there will be damage to come in some interesting places.

  • Comment number 100.

    Anyone who has the USA's Fox News channel, part of the Murdoch News International empire, would not be surprised by this current furore (as well as the Keys'Gray remarks on women in football).

    Sky has a virtual monopoly of satellite television and maybe akin to Goldman Sachs is also a giant squid. Hopefully Jeremy Hunt will clip Sky's wings.

 

Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.