Murdoch illegal hackers exposed

Tonight, the Guardian reveals details of the suppressed evidence which may open the door to hundreds more legal actions by victims of News Group. So says the Guardian in a huge scoop about the Murdoch press. They rushed it on to the website rather than saving it for the first hard copy edition. Do they fear an injunction or contempt of court action? The story continues:

The payments secured secrecy over out-of-court settlements in three cases that threatened to expose evidence of Murdoch journalists using private investigators who illegally hacked into the mobile phone messages of numerous public figures and to gain unlawful access to confidential personal data including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemised phone bills. Cabinet ministers, MPs, actors and sports stars were all targets of the private investigators

News Corp agents hacked into “two to three thousand” mobile phones including John Prescott’s and Tessa Jowell’s. Among the story sources – presumably unauthorised and indirect – seems to be the police and the Office of the Information Commissioner who regulates Freedom of Information and Data Protection.

The Guardian’s understanding is that the paperwork disclosed by Scotland Yard to Taylor is only a fraction of the total material they gathered on News Group’s involvement with Glenn Mulcaire. And it is a matter of record that the Information Commission which has refused to release paperwork which implicates national newspaper journalists in thousands of apparently illegal acts.

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There’s much more of this story to come out.

  • Jimmy Riddler

    Now being covered on C4 News.

  • Sam Flanagan

    Brian;
    Murdoch behaves in keeping with his calling, do you think they made him a “Papal Knight” for nothing?

  • Nick Davies is the byline… that’s a big big story… only now taking off on Twitter… Here’s the complication for Murdoch’s (and Cameron’s) men and women, et al:

    Conservative leader David Cameron’s director of communications, Andy Coulson, who was deputy editor and then editor of the News of the World when, the suppressed evidence shows, journalists for whom he was responsible were engaging in hundreds of apparently illegal acts

    • Murdoch executives who, albeit in good faith, have misled a parliamentary select committee, the Press Complaints Commission and the public

    • The Metropolitan police, who did not alert all those whose phones were targeted, and the Crown Prosecution Service, which did not pursue all possible charges against News Group personnel

    • The Press Complaints Commission, which claimed to have conducted an investigation but failed to uncover any evidence of illegal activity.

  • DC

    Re Cameron’s head of press/communications, he, Coulson, makes Alistair Campbell look like Labour’s forgotten sweetheart.

  • Gaelic Con

    All of this exposes again the inadequacy of the media industry’s regulatory framework.

    The Press Complaints Commission needs replaced with an independent regulator with statutory powers.

    Journalists regulating journalists isn’t working.

  • willis

    Consider this

    http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Politics/Phone-Tapping-MPs-Anger-Over-Illegal-Phone-Hack-Claims-Said-To-Involve-News-International/Article/200907215332909?lpos=Politics_Carousel_Region_1&lid=ARTICLE_15332909_Phone_Tapping:_MPs_Anger_Over_Illegal_Phone_Hack_Claims_Said_To_Involve_News_International

    “Senior politicians are demanding to know if their mobile phones were tapped by private investigators working for a newspaper group.”

    “News International is part of the group which also owns Sky News.”

    And this

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/jul/04/bskyb-sky-news-bectu

    “The broadcasting union Bectu (Letters, 1 July) claims Sky is a business which provides no “public benefit”. At a time when some sources of TV news are under threat, Sky News has been a committed provider of high-quality, impartial news. More broadly, Sky has built a business that provides a positive and growing contribution to life in the UK: opening up choice to millions of viewers, raising standards in sports coverage, pioneering innovations such as high definition, and a growing commitment to drama and the arts. It is now almost universally recognised that investment by commercial companies has a vital part to play in a healthy economy and society. Television’s reliance on taxation and subsidy to fund high-quality content has become part of the problem. In an era of almost infinite choice, reducing that reliance must be part of its future.
    Robert Fraser
    Director of corporate communications, Sky”

    What are the implications of a “a committed provider of high-quality, impartial news.” sharing an owner with a newspaper which appears to have at some point engaged on illegal wiretapping of possibly 3,000 mobile phones.

    Let us not forget that another part of this media empire has been at the front of demanding full transparency on pay and expenses by BBC senior staff.

    I won’t be holding my breath for Sky News’s investigation into the News of the World.