They claimed they did it to identify paedophiles. But soon the phone hacking was used to listen on high-profile celebrities’ lives. All public knowledge. Editor Andy Coulston took “diminished responsibility” and resigned to later become David Cameron’s press minister, whilst private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, and the papers’ royal correspondent Clive Goodman resigned.
So why only now are the illegal practices of the News of the World (NoW) deemed as unacceptable? The difference is the allegations are now of hacking into the phones of the ordinary person. The phones of murdered school girl Milly Dowler, victims of terrorism attacks, those serving in the wars, their families. All of which are undeniably disgusting intrusions of personal lives. But at this point it is important to remember that these same practices of hacking into someones phone are as illegal in these cases, as they were back when we believed it was only celebrities.
Why did they get away with the celebrity phone hackings? NoW claimed the celebrity hacking were in the “public interest”. According to them the public needed to know what happens in the bedrooms of celebrities. This then poses the question, is a celebrity not as human as the average person walking down the street. Is the intrusion on their privacy not the same?
The News of the Worlds’ antics clearly NOW fall into the category of privacy invasion. But generally speaking, what are the limits of the term of what is in the “public interest”? It is purely opinion based. There is no line to draw what is public interest and what is breaching the law. Clearly there is a problem.
Another issue highlighted and downplayed by this fiasco is the extent of police corruption. Who do you put our faith into to stop these horrific intrusions? The people we have put our trust into are the same people committing these crimes. It seems money can buy injustice.
So what now for NoW? James Murdoch today announced that the NoW will be closing. It is tempting to say this is out of shame but perhaps it is just an easy escape from public and advertising boycotts. After all, the current editor Rebecca Brooks showed no sign of resigning especially after media tyrant Rupert Murdoch backed her yesterday.
Which leads to the BskyB takeover. Do the latest NoW revalations teach us nothing? The government refuse to postpone the takeover yet the will begin an inquiry over the NoW. Ofcom should surely state that News Corp is not fit to have a TV license. Can they not see that the quality of British journalism faces a downfall? News organisations under such media conglomerates are merely profit based. It leads to trashy gossip, shocking revelations becoming the centre of our news base. We cannot allow the majority of our news to come from one source. As much as we’d like to convince ourselves that we have the capability to keep a balanced view, naturally we will find ourselves subjects to the propaganda surrounding us. And it will surround us.