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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 09 October 2011

The News International affair has shaken the British establishment, and British journalism, to the core.

In truth the storm had been brewing for 5 years, ever since rumours started of private investigators being used by the paper to hack in to the mobile phones of public figures.

A police investigation led to two 'rotten apples' being jailed, but despite a stream of allegations, mainly from the Guardian newspaper, pointing to an endemic hacking culture at the newspaper, News International continued to maintain it had been an isolated incident.

Then in July this year the dam broke. The revelation that the murder victim Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked led to a national outcry.

John Lloyd conducts his own investigation into the affair and asks what impact the scandal will have on the future of journalism and the media in the UK.

He talks to leading industry figures, academics and scandal mongers about how the Murdoch empire has shaped relationships between politicians and the press. Former Cabinet minister David Mellor accuses all Prime Ministers since Margaret Thatcher of prostrating themselves before the popular press; while Greg Dyke, ex director general of the BBC, suggests that the influence of Murdoch was always exaggerated but is now at an end.

John also examines the theory that the scandal is the final nail in the coffin of a tabloid press already battling falling circulation figures and an increasingly vibrant online infotainment industry.

Producer: Will Yates
A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4.

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