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Newspaper phone hacking scandal widens

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Newspaper phone hacking scandal widens

Post  Guest on Sat 22 Jan - 22:26

Newspaper phone hacking scandal widens

22/01/2011 - 18:38:34
The phone hacking scandal that led to the resignation of David Cameron’s communications chief widened today as a media lawyer revealed it now involves newspapers other than the News of the World.

Mark Lewis, who acted for Gordon Taylor of the Professional Footballers’ Association in a damages claim against the NOTW, said he was representing four people who believe they were targeted by other newspapers.

He said phone hacking was used by several publications, and that one of the four claims was being made by a journalist.

“This was almost kids’ play time. It was such a widespread practice,” said Mr Lewis.

“Although it is a crime, people were regarding it as though it was driving at 35mph in a 30, that you just sort of do it and hope you don’t get caught.”

Former NOTW editor Andy Coulson resigned as the Prime Minister’s head of communications saying the drip-drip of claims about illegal eavesdropping under his editorship meant he could not “give the 110% needed”.

“I stand by what I’ve said about those events but when the spokesman needs a spokesman it’s time to move on,” he added.

Mr Cameron said he was “very sorry” Mr Coulson felt “compelled” to go after months of intense pressure, insisting he was being “punished for the same offence twice”.

However, Labour frontbencher Chris Bryant said he hoped the Metropolitan Police would now conduct a thorough investigation into the phone hacking.

“To say this is long overdue is an understatement. Andy Coulson should never have been appointed in the first place,” he said.

“I hope now finally that the police will be able to conduct the full, transparent, and thorough inquiry into phone hacking that we are still waiting for and that the murky truth will come to light.”

It is understood Mr Coulson informed the Prime Minister of his intention to leave on Wednesday evening. No decision has yet been taken on a replacement.

Mr Coulson resigned as editor of the News of the World in 2007 after the paper’s former royal editor, Clive Goodman, and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed for phone hacking.

Although he accepted ultimate responsibility for the illegal activities, he has always denied knowing they were taking place. A Scotland Yard investigation resulted in no further charges.

But a number of public figures are still taking civil legal action against the newspaper, and documents disclosed in those cases have sparked fresh developments.

It emerged earlier this month that News of the World executive Ian Edmondson has been suspended as a result of claims in a case brought by actress Sienna Miller.

Police subsequently wrote to the newspaper asking for any new evidence staff had on the case.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has asked a senior QC to “comprehensively” re-examine material amassed as part of the original inquiry and any new evidence.

In his resignation statement, Mr Coulson said: “Nothing is more important than the Government’s task of getting this country back on its feet.

“Unfortunately continued coverage of events connected to my old job at the News of the World has made it difficult for me to give the 110% needed in this role.

“I stand by what I’ve said about those events but when the spokesman needs a spokesman it’s time to move on.”

Speaking to reporters later, Mr Cameron said he had done an “excellent, excellent job” as his communications chief, and was being “punished for the same offence twice” following his earlier resignation as the paper’s editor.

However, Labour leader Ed Miliband said it raised “real questions about David Cameron’s judgment that he hung on to Andy Coulson for so long”.

Read more: http://breakingnews.ie/world/newspaper-phone-hacking-scandal-widens-490407.html#ixzz1Bo0gphGZ

Couldn't see a thread for this??

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Re: Newspaper phone hacking scandal widens

Post  malena stool on Sun 23 Jan - 15:48

Thank you carmen

Gordon Brown joins in with the hacking bandwagon.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/gordon-brown/8276979/Phone-hacking-Gordon-Brown-called-in-police-over-fears-mobile-phone-messages-were-intercepted.html

Sunday 23 January 2011

Telegraph.co.uk HomeNewsSportFinanceCommentCultureTravelLifestyleFashionTechnologyJobs Dating Offers UKWorldPoliticsObituariesRoyal WeddingEarthScienceHealth NewsEducationCelebritiesWeird NewsNews BlogsElection Results MapUK Political DatabasePolitical PartiesDavid CameronNick CleggEd MilibandLocal Elections 2011Gordon Brown

Phone hacking: Gordon Brown called in police over fears mobile phone messages were intercepted
Gordon Brown called the police over fears his mobile phone may have been hacked into by journalists when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Gordon Brown had concerns his mobile phone messages were being intercepted
By Caroline Gammell 2:30PM GMT 23 Jan 2011
It is understood that Tony Blair also raised concerns that messages he left on other people’s phones while prime minister may have been intercepted.

He did not have a personal mobile phone while in office at No 10.

The period of concern is believed to be between 2005 and 2007, before Mr Brown became prime minister.

The scandal to date has centred on the News of the World, which has always claimed that one "rogue" reporter used such tactics and insisted hacking was not endemic at the paper.

The resignation on Friday of Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s director of communications and former editor at the Sunday tabloid, has done little to quell the disquiet over the story.

Related Articles

Andy Coulson quits Downing Street in wake of phone hacking scandal 21 Jan 2011
Andy Coulson resigns: as it happened 21 Jan 2011
Peter Oborne: Coulson should never have been appointed 21 Jan 2011
Police set to reopen NOTW phone hacking case 21 Jan 2011
Cameron: Coulson being 'punished twice' 21 Jan 2011
Andy Coulson resignation: statement in full 21 Jan 2011
Increasing numbers of people – including celebrities and politicians – have come forward to voice fears that their messages may have been listened to illegally.

Mark Lewis, a lawyer, announced at the weekend that he had been instructed by four clients with complaints against other national newspapers.

Harriet Harman, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, said the police must properly investigate allegations of phone-hacking by journalists.

"Hacking into people's phones is illegal. Obviously the criminal law has got to be complied with and if it is broken then it should be investigated by the police and it should be enforced.

"Nobody is above the law, no newspaper editor, no journalist."

Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former communications director, denounced the "lacklustre" way in which the police had investigated the phone hacking allegations as a "scandal".

"When you compare and contrast the way the police pursued Tony Blair on the so-called cash-for-honours nonsense and the lacklustre way in which they have handled this, then there is a very, very big difference.

"There must be reasons behind that which will, I think, become part of an unfolding scandal."
Unquote



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Re: Newspaper phone hacking scandal widens

Post  Guest on Sun 23 Jan - 17:21

Secret tapes, Andy Coulson's exit and the riddle of a story that won't go away
Special report: Rumours of taped conversations between a journalist and news executives are gripping the Murdoch empire

Jamie Doward, Jenny Stevens, Toby Helm and Richard Rogers
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 22 January 2011 22.06 GMT


Andy Coulson, former News of the World editor and Downing Street communications director, leaving Number 10. Photograph: Ian Nicholson/PA
Ray Chapman was a necessary cog in the News of the World reporting engine. His name was rarely in lights, but for several decades he worked behind the scenes, standing up the scoops that made his the best read tabloid newspaper in Britain.

His contacts were used to help bring in crucial information for hundreds of stories, most of which never featured his byline. But in his later years Chapman became worried, say friends. He was scrupulous in his attention to detail, but because of a growing drink problem struggled to remember conversations with colleagues.

So Chapman hit on an ingenious plan, according to a friend. He started secretly taping conversations with his colleagues and editors when they phoned him with instructions or called him over to their desk. That way, Chapman figured, he would always have a record of what was being said.

According to the friend, hundreds of tapes, made on a 122 Microcassette recorder, were kept by Chapman, providing an audio history of his time on the Sunday paper – mainly covering the period from 1998 to 2002 while it was run by Rebekah Brooks, now chief executive of News International, the Rupert Murdoch company that owns the News of the World, the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times.

His actions may seem bizarre, but he was not unique. Several NoW journalists have told the Observer they taped conversations with their editors. "Lots of people did it," the ex-journalist explained. "It was a security policy in case anything went wrong and you ended up getting blamed."

To a media historian, the tapes might make fascinating listening. Chronicling a newsroom at full throttle, they could help shine a light on the complex dynamics that have helped make the News of the World a hugely successful newsgathering operation over the past two decades.

They could also be unintentionally hilarious. Heard the one about the assistant editor running a business from his desk importing vodka and other goods from eastern Europe? It's on the tapes.

More serious, though, is the question of whether the tapes could help confirm suspicions that phone hacking on the newspaper was endemic and sanctioned by senior journalists on the paper – including Andy Coulson, David Cameron's outgoing director of communications, rather than the action of one reporter over a brief period, as News International maintains.

Rumours about the tapes were circling for days before Coulson resigned on Friday. There is speculation, too, about emails exchanged between senior journalists. At least one senior Tory MP is known to have asked questions about the tapes. Several people inside News International are said to be hunting them. One thing is clear: whether they exist or not, rumours of their existence is feeding the increasing paranoia gripping Murdoch's empire.

Coulson is not the only one left bruised by his departure. His exit is bad news for the coalition. Several Liberal Democrats were quick to pay tribute to the way he worked, looking to build a consensus and not seeking to exploit political differences.

The fear among coalition MPs now is that whoever replaces Coulson may not be so keen on bridge-building. "Andy was never tribal," one Lib Dem said.

Inevitably his resignation – communicated to Cameron on Wednesday afternoon – triggered fresh questions about the prime minister's judgment. Labour claimed he should never have appointed someone with such a controversial past. But Cameron has shrugged off the criticism, praising Coulson as a "brilliant member of my team". Appointed by Cameron in 2007, when he was opposition leader, on the recommendation of George Osborne, Coulson gave edge to a media operation seen as lacking the kind of ruthless professionalism brought by Alastair Campbell to Tony Blair's office in the 1990s.

His departure smooths the way for the arrival of Murdoch, who is expected to visit London this week for crisis meetings with News International executives. The resignation will spark speculation about the influence the Murdoch empire had over the decision. Sources at No 10 were quick to pour cold water on claims that Coulson was in any way influenced by his former employer. Nevertheless, Coulson's decision to step out of the line of fire may offer News International some respite. Albeit briefly.

The letter, dated 4 January 2010, from Rebekah Brooks to parliament's culture, media and sport select committee, did not pull its punches. The committee had asked Brooks to supply some answers in response to its inquiry into phone hacking. Having declined the committee's request for her to appear in person, Brooks wrote: "You refer incorrectly to 'inappropriate action by News International journalists'. The issues giving rise to the committee's examination of various current and former News International and News of the World employees are specific to the News of the World and do not relate (as far as I am aware) to the other News International national newspapers any more than they do to any other national newspapers."

Brooks's point was not simply a semantic one. Throughout the phone-hacking allegations, News International's main PR strategy has been to contain the story. Whenever asked about the scandal, NI would say it was down to one rogue reporter, Clive Goodman, the paper's former royal correspondent, working off his own initiative in league with a private investigator, a former professional footballer, Glenn Mulcaire. Suggestions that others were involved were wide of the mark.

But as allegation after allegation surfaced suggesting a host of journalists and editors, from a junior named Ross Hall to the paper's assistant editor, Ian Edmondson, had been aware of the illegal practice, the PR strategy wore thin. The select committee wanted to know who in News International had sanctioned payoffs to Goodman and Mulcaire and why, given that the pair had been jailed for hacking into the phones of royal aides.

The committee's demands for lists of News International executives involved in the settlements came at a difficult time for Murdoch. News Corp, Murdoch's US-based media giant, which owns News International, was plotting to buy the remaining 61% of satellite broadcaster BSkyB that it does not already own in a £7.5bn deal.

When the news broke in June last year, rival media outlets – including Guardian Media Group, owner of this newspaper, cried foul, saying that a takeover would create a media group of unprecedented power. They pointed out that News Corp's titles account for a third of the UK's national newspaper circulation and that BSkyB is the largest broadcaster, with a turnover of £5.9bn (compared with the BBC's £4.8bn).

Suddenly the phone-hacking scandal assumed a new dynamic. Cultural commentators started to ask how, if phone hacking was widespread on a Murdoch newspaper, the government could allow News International's parent company to own even more of the UK media landscape?

They pointed out that the prime minister's director of communications was a Murdoch man, having risen up through the ranks of the News of the World to become its editor, and that the Sun had strongly supported the Tories at the last election. The suggestion that the Conservative-led government was unhealthily close to Murdoch lingered in people's minds.

City analysts thought little of the arguments against the deal, claiming it would do little to alter the plurality of the UK's media and that Murdoch effectively controlled BSkyB already.

The deal, which has already been approved by the European commission, is now in the hands of the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who – before he was put in charge of the decision – had previously suggested it would not result in a "substantive change" in media plurality.

But at the end of last year the media watchdog, Ofcom, handed Hunt a private report that apparently suggests the decision be referred to the competition commission. Whatever he decides, an almighty row is almost certain.

When it was building its criminal case against Goodman and Mulcaire, Scotland Yard identified five people – in addition to the royal aides – whose phones were believed to have been hacked.

Only Mulcaire was charged, and pleaded guilty, to hacking the five other victims: PR guru Max Clifford, the head of the Professional Footballers' Association, Gordon Taylor, the supermodel Elle Macpherson, the MP Simon Hughes, and the sports agent Skylet Andrew. The police approached at least five other people, including a senior Labour politician and a reporter on a rival newspaper, with a view to using their evidence in the same case. But all five declined.

Why they did so is open to conjecture, but it is clear many people fear the Murdoch press. For politicians, such a fear is compounded by the fact Murdoch's newspapers can help swing elections. Significantly, not one current MP has launched civil proceedings against the newspaper, even though a number were informed by police that there was evidence their phones had been hacked.

But celebrities are different. A series of names, from the comedian Steve Coogan to the former footballer Paul Gascoigne, have launched civil proceedings. More revelations are likely, as other celebrities launch actions in the coming weeks. Nicola Phillips, a celebrity publicist is at the forefront of the legal actions. Whether she pursues her case or agrees an out-of-court settlement will be keenly scrutinised.

So, too, will be whether Edmondson, the News of the World's assistant editor, suspended over claims that the actress Sienna Miller's phone was hacked, will be served with separate legal actions from alleged victims, a financially crippling prospect.

Suggestions that Edmondson was going to "turn on" Coulson are categorically rejected by his lawyers. But the constant drip feed of negative stories that followed Edmondson's suspension was toxic not just for Coulson, who maintains he knew nothing about the phone hacking, but Fleet Street.

The Observer has learned that other newspapers could soon find themselves facing similar allegations. Documents released by the Met to lawyers bringing civil actions are being scrutinised to ascertain whether Mulcaire worked only for the News of the World. If not, the scandal is in danger of spreading.

The civil actions are embarrassing for Scotland Yard, which has been accused of failing in the way it has investigated the scandal. There is speculation that the phones of thousands of people were hacked into, raising questions about whether all the victims were informed by the Met. The Crown Prosecution Service is reviewing the evidence to see if there should be any further police investigation.

But culture select committee member Paul Farrelly said this was not enough: "We need an independent force outside the Met to investigate this."

According to a friend, Ray Chapman's tapes found their way to the offices of a London law firm. An associate of Chapman's went through them and decided they could be of value to those pursuing cases against the NoW. The source said lawyers who have heard the tapes made copies on to CDs and there are suggestions they may have been handed to police five months ago.

Today a Scotland Yard spokesman said he was unaware of the tapes' existence. But the Observer has heard from two people who claim to have listened to some of them. If their stories are true, it could mean yet more trouble for those in the Murdoch empire already exhausted by legal battles on so many fronts.

Not that Chapman will be around to witness it. He died on New Year's Eve 2007, just months into his retirement. "It was an open secret in the office that he made recordings," someone close to him said. "Everyone knew." It seems Chapman may yet bring in his greatest scoop. Posthumously.

WHAT THE PAPERS SAID

The prime minister has been damaged by the phone-hacking issue in ways which were quite predictable, and for which he has only himself to blame. There will be plenty of people hoping that Coulson's departure will be an end of the matter, but of course it isn't. There are too many unanswered questions about too many important people, companies and institutions. Confidence in the police has undoubtedly been sapped by the drip-drip escalation of the story, with journalists and lawyers painfully dragging out of the Met the full details of what they know and when they knew it.

The Guardian

Mr Coulson is a nicer and more decent man than the cynical Grub Street news fixer that people thought he was employed to be. I have no idea of the truth about his alleged complicity in phone hacking, and can say with confidence only two things: first, that if the practice really was endemic in Mr Coulson's newspaper then I have no doubt that it will have taken root among other mass-market newspapers, too. Second, that I disapprove, without being deeply shocked or surprised by the practice. If you know my mobile phone number then you can access my voice messages using a variant of my date of birth. I've never regarded such information as secure; nobody should; I hadn't realised so many celebrities did.

Matthew Parris, the Times

It seems unlikely that a tough operator like Mr Coulson would step down for no reason. What this saga reveals is the ominously dominant position of Rupert Murdoch's News International media empire in our national life. An iron triangle consisting of Downing Street, News International (owner of the News of the World) and the Metropolitan Police attempted to rubbish this investigation and tried to sweep wrongdoing under the carpet. Yesterday's resignation must be the start of accountability, not the end.

The Independent

It was fitting that Andy Coulson resigned as the prime minister's media adviser on the day that Tony Blair testified before the Iraq inquiry. The last public act of David Cameron's spin doctor, whether intentional or not, thus felt like a classic piece of media management. But if the hope was to bury the story, it failed.

Financial Times

Today's news will also give cause to scrutinise one of the persistent oddities of Team Cameron. Dave let it be known that he wanted more hands-off relations with the media, more business-like, less needy, an end to the incestuous relations developed by Labour in their campaign to win friends and head off enemies. And then he spends Christmas with Rebekah Brooks. Go figure.

Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/22/secret-tapes-news-of-the-world?CMP=twt_gu

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Re: Newspaper phone hacking scandal widens

Post  Panda on Sun 23 Jan - 18:07



This is just another area of endemic unethical standards which Government , especially Labour knew about but failed to act. Even Clarence jumps on
the bandwagon by claiming his phone has been tapped as well.!!!!! If Rupert Murdoch is allowed to buy out BskyB it truly will be the end of Democracy
in Britain. In all my years I don"t think I have ever witnessed such mealy mouthed Politicians who are governed by a Chief Whip, not their conscience,
a more sensationalist Press governed by the need to sell papers than telling the truth. Bankers more interested in gambling with other peoples money
yet continue to award themselves massive bonuses for their failure. The Latest Barclay"s Executive to step down received £43 million.....unbelievsble.

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Re: Newspaper phone hacking scandal widens

Post  kitti on Thu 27 Jan - 7:30

To be honest, do we really care about these poor celebs whining on about their phone getting hacked.


I don't and I think wasting time and money investigating it it is ridiculous.


So their phone was hacked......parts off their life that they didn't want US to know about was splashed all Over the papers, they don't mind when it's something that THEY want us to read about to bolster their careers but when it is their little grubby secret.....don't the dumbos realize that by bringing this up all again gives a reason for the papers to write about their little secret ALL OVER AGAIN and all off us probably would off forgotten about it by now will be enlightened once again....dimbos...waste off police time and money...selfish celebs, don't they think that the police have better things to do like catching murderers and rapists..no off course not, their too self centred.



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Re: Newspaper phone hacking scandal widens

Post  Panda on Thu 27 Jan - 7:43

kitti wrote:To be honest, do we really care about these poor celebs whining on about their phone getting hacked.


I don't and I think wasting time and money investigating it it is ridiculous.


So their phone was hacked......parts off their life that they didn't want US to know about was splashed all Over the papers, they don't mind when it's something that THEY want us to read about to bolster their careers but when it is their little grubby secret.....don't the dumbos realize that by bringing this up all again gives a reason for the papers to write about their little secret ALL OVER AGAIN and all off us probably would off forgotten about it by now will be enlightened once again....dimbos...waste off police time and money...selfish celebs, don't they think that the police have better things to do like catching murderers and rapists..no off course not, their too self centred.






Kitti,

There is something in what you say, but if this practice of tapping into Famous people"s phones is not prosecuted, where will it all end?? At the
moment Rupert Murdoch is trying to buy all the shares in BskyB which will give him a monopoly on what is reported that is frightening. It is only
this phone tapping case which has prompted OfCom to take a closer look at the deal and if it goes through certain standards will have to be met.
Personally, the Guy is power mad and I hope the government steps in and stops the deal, even in America , no one Company is allowed to own too
much media.

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Re: Newspaper phone hacking scandal widens

Post  Panda on Fri 28 Jan - 17:46



The hacking has reached a new level and more and more well known personalities are coming forward. Richard Murdoch has cancelled his trip to Davos
to attend the Conference and is coming to Britain to sort out the problems and apparently more Heads will roll.

The underlying reason is not just the hacking, it"s the fact that Murdoch is trying to buy the 61% shares in BskyB so that he will own all the Company.
There is a possiblity he will lose $12 billion if the share price drops below his bid. Also Ofcom are investigating whether the deal should go through because
it would give Murdoch mega power in the Media and Ofcom wants written Guarantees. I hope there is justice and his bid doesn"t succeed , even in America
no one Media Mogul would be allowed toi own as much as Murdoch, the Man"s a greedy B.

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Re: Newspaper phone hacking scandal widens

Post  malena stool on Fri 28 Jan - 19:47

I wish the police had acted with the same sincere industry when we were burgled 30 or so years back... We are still waiting for them to tell us how their investigation went. Then 20 years ago my car was stolen from the hospital car park where I worked, 6 weeks after reporting it stolen the police phoned me and inquired if I had any news (honestly).

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Re: Newspaper phone hacking scandal widens

Post  malena stool on Fri 11 Feb - 0:04

I see slimmer of the year, two jags 'Punchy' Prescott has been told by Scotland Yard he probably has had his phone hacked. His seventeen chins actually wobbled then leered at the news....probably thinking of the damages he could soon be claiming. Who on earth would want to eavesdrop the ramblings of a not too bright street fighting Toc H Lamp?

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