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News of the World's phone hacking

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News of the World's phone hacking

Post  Guest on Thu 9 Jul - 10:18

I initially posted this in the Miscellaneous Articles thread but it seems to be gaining in news importance so am starting a new thread here.




Could these latest media revelations be the reason why the Daily Express got singled out for legal action and not other media outlets, who had printed the same stories?

Could Murdochs media have the mobile conversations of the McCanns? After all, they were the biggest story at that time, bigger than Elle McPherson or anybody else.

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/jul/09/andrew-neil-murdoch-andy-coulson

Ex-Murdoch editor Andrew Neil: News of the World revelations one of most significant media stories of our time

Former Sunday Times editor says tabloid did not have a public interest defence and Andy Coulson has questions to answer

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 9 July 2009 01.15 BST


One of Rupert Murdoch's former leading editors said last night the Guardian's revelations of the News of the World's phone hacking represented one of the "most significant media stories of modern times".

Andrew Neil, who edited the Sunday Times, said the News of the World did not have a public interest defence for its practices, exposed by the Guardian.

Neil said: "I think it is one of the most significant media stories of modern times. It suggests that rather than being a one off journalist or rogue private investigator, it was systemic throughout the News of the World, and to a lesser extent the Sun.

"Particularly in the News of the World, this was a newsroom out of control … Everyone who knows the News of the World, everybody knows this was going on. But it did no good to talk about it. One News of the World journalist said to me … it was dangerous to talk about it."

Neil was one of Murdoch's closest aides for over a decade. He edited the Sunday Times from 1983-94, then became chairman of Sky Television from 1988-90, and was entrusted by the media tycoon to be the executive editor of Fox Television News in 1994.

Neil said he saw no public interest in the methods used against any of the politicians or celebrities targeted by the Murdoch owned newspapers: "It is illegal. That doesn't mean it should never be done, you may have a public interest defence. But that's not the case in any of this, it was a fishing expedition; let's listen to who we can. It was corrupt."

"If you imagine there was something of real major importance, you could have a public interest defence. But breaking into Gwyneth Paltrow's voicemail after she's just had a baby is not in the public interest. I'm at a loss to know what the public interest might be."

He also said the police had to explain why they failed to tell top politicians that their phones had been hacked into.

Neil said the story raised serious questions for Scotland Yard, top prosecutors and for judges: "It's not just a media story, it raises serious questions about the police.

"The police learn that the deputy prime minister has had his mobile phone compromised and they don't tell him. I just don't understand that.

"The police investigation unearthed evidence of clear wrongdoing and the Crown Prosecution Service does nothing."

He added: "The court is faced with evidence of conspiracy and systemic illegal actions and agrees to seal the evidence. All that is completely wrong, I just don't understand it."

Speaking earlier, on the BBC's Newsnight programme: "This is our criminal justice system in the dock."

Neil also said News International may face legal action from those who were victims of the phone hacking, a so called class action: "News International could face a class action by people who want to mount a class action to unseal those documents. There could be the most almighty class action, you're talking about multimillion pound losses. That gets scary.

"If this was in the US, shares in News International would collapse tonight."
Neil said that former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, now director of communcations at the Conservative party, had questions to answer: "If a journalist comes to you with a great story, one of the first questions you ask is how did you get it. How you got it is relevant to judging its accuracy and preparing yourself for any legal challenge.

"If this behaviour was systemic in the newsroom, why would you not know about it, why would you of all people, not know about it? Either you're incompetent or complicit."

Asked if Murdoch himself knew of the practice, Neil, formerly one of his closest lieutenants, said: "That we will never know."

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Re: News of the World's phone hacking

Post  Guest on Thu 9 Jul - 10:23

Old article but worth a read in view of the current interest in the Murdoch media activities

http://joana-morais.blogspot.com/2008/04/rupert-murdochs-edutainement-news.html

23 April 2008
Rupert Murdoch's Edutainement News: The McCanns Media Machine

"Rupert Murdoch owns some of the most influential newspapers in the UK as well as the Sky and Fox TV 'news' channels and has backed the biggest and dirtiest propaganda campaign in support of two persons suspected by the police of involvement in the disappearance of their child in Portugal.

Why? What earthly motive could this man have?

Has he instigated this circus because he was so moved by the story of the abduction of a defenceless little girl and felt so much sympathy for the parents that he felt that he had no option but to support them come hell or high water?

What makes this man so convinced of the parents' complete innocence in the affair that he is prepared to put the whole weight of his media interests behind their 'cause' to challenge the Portuguese police, judicial system and at the end of the day the Portuguese government and by implication, the Portuguese people too?"

"...give them exactly what they were asking for. And we did it all without compromising the quality of our product (...) They want news on demand, continuously updated. They want a point of view about not just what happened, but why it happened. They want news that speaks to them personally, that affects their lives."
Rupert Murdoch's speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Washington DC, April 13 2005

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Re: News of the World's phone hacking

Post  Guest on Thu 9 Jul - 10:26

http://joana-morais.blogspot.com/2008/04/rupert-murdochs-edutainement-news.html



July 08, 2009
Murdoch Group in 'hacking probe'

"We live in a time when political passions run high, channels of free expression are dwindling, and organised lying exists on a scale never before known. For plugging the holes in history the pamphlet is the ideal form." - so wrote George Orwell in 1943.

Murdoch papers paid £1m to gag phone-hacking victims

• News of the World bugging led to £700,000 payout to PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor
• Sun editor Rebekah Wade and Conservative communications chief Andy Coulson – both ex-NoW editors – involved
• News International chairman Les Hinton told MPs reporter jailed for phone-hacking was one-off case


by Nick Davies

Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists' repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories.

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.

Today, the Guardian reveals details of the suppressed evidence which may open the door to hundreds more legal actions by victims of News Group, the Murdoch company that publishes the News of the World and the Sun, as well as provoking police inquiries into reporters who were involved and the senior executives responsible for them.

The evidence also poses difficult questions for:

• 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.


The suppressed legal cases are linked to the jailing in January 2007 of News of the World reporter Clive Goodman for hacking into the mobile phones of three royal staff, an offence under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. At the time, News International said it knew of no other journalist who was involved in hacking phones and that Goodman had been acting without their knowledge.

However, one senior source at the Metropolitan police told the Guardian that during the Goodman inquiry, officers had found evidence of News Group staff using private investigators who hacked into "thousands" of mobile phones. Another source with direct knowledge of the police findings put the figure at "two or three thousand" mobiles. They suggest that MPs from all three parties and cabinet ministers, including former deputy prime minister John Prescott and former culture secretary Tessa Jowell, were among the targets. News International has always maintained that it has no knowledge of phone hacking by anybody acting on its behalf.

A private investigator who had been working on contract for News Group, Glenn Mulcaire, was also jailed in January 2007. He admitted hacking into the phones of five other targets, including Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association. Among those phones Mulcaire hacked into were the Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes, celebrity PR Max Clifford, model Elle MacPherson and football agent Sky Andrew. News Group denied all knowledge of the hacking, but Taylor last year sued them on the basis that they must have known about it.


Simon Hughes comments on the out-of-court settlements

In documents initially submitted to the high court, News Group executives said the company had not been involved in any way in Mulcaire's hacking of Taylor's phone. They specifically denied keeping any recording or notes of intercepted messages and claimed they had not even been aware of the hacking. However, at the request of Taylor's lawyers, the court ordered the production of detailed evidence from Scotland Yard's inquiry in the Goodman case and also from a separate inquiry by the Information Commissioner into journalists who dishonestly obtain confidential personal records.

The Scotland Yard files included paperwork which revealed that, contrary to News Group's initial denial, Mulcaire had provided a recording of the messages on Taylor's phone to a News of the World journalist who had transcribed them and emailed them to a senior reporter; and that a News of the World executive had offered Mulcaire a substantial bonus payment for a story specifically related to the intercepted messages. Several famous figures from the world of football are among those whose messages which were intercepted. Andy Coulson was editing the paper at this time. He told the Guardian this week that he knew nothing about Taylor's legal action, which began after he resigned from the paper.

The paperwork from the Information Commission revealed the names of 31 journalists working for the News of the World and the Sun, together with the precise details of government agencies, banks, phone companies and others who were conned into handing over confidential information on politicians, actors, sportsmen and women, musicians and television presenters, all of whom are named in the paperwork. This is an offence under the Data Protection Act unless it is justified by public interest. Senior editors are among the journalists who are implicated. This activity occurred before the mobile phone hacking, at a time when Andy Coulson was deputy, and the editor was Rebekah Wade, now due to become chief executive of News International. The extent of their personal knowledge, if any, is not clear: the News of the World has always insisted that it would not break the law and would use subterfuge only if essential in the public interest.

Faced with this evidence, News International changed their position, started offering huge cash payments to settle the case out of court, and finally paid out £700,000 in legal costs and damages on the condition that Taylor signed a gagging clause to prevent him speaking about the case. The payment is believed to have included more than £400,000 in damages, dwarfing the largest previous payment for breach of privacy in the UK, the £60,000 paid by the News of the World for filming Max Mosley naked with prostitutes. News Group then persuaded the court to seal the file on Taylor's case to prevent all public access, even though it contained prima facie evidence of criminal activity.

The Scotland Yard paperwork also provided evidence that the News of the World had been involved with Glenn Mulcaire in his hacking the mobile phones of at least two other figures from the world of football. They, too, filed complaints, which were settled earlier this year when News International paid a total of more than £300,000 in damages and costs on condition that they, too, signed gagging clauses.

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 has refused to release paperwork which implicates national newspaper journalists in thousands of apparently illegal acts.

The secrecy around the cases continues. Gordon Taylor declined to make any comment. Clive Goodman, now out of prison, said: "I'm not going to talk. My comment is not even 'no comment'." A spokesman for News International suggested the case did not exist: "This particular case means nothing to anyone here, and I've talked to all the people who would be involved." However, the Information Commission confirms that it disclosed material for the case, and the Guardian has pieced together a detailed account of the evidence.

Read as well: The law on phone hacking


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Re: News of the World's phone hacking

Post  Guest on Thu 9 Jul - 10:51

I know that Mitchell had a big issue with the Express because he had no control over what they printed...I used to post on the Express regarding the Maddie case (many moons ago) there would be over 1000 comments a day. There were some very interesting articles on there including the photo of Mccann and the bucket and spade photo. Express was an out of court settlement...IMHO it was not a question of the mccanns so much as being able to sue the newspaper but along with this ALL articles had to be removed from the internet. Which means whooshed from our memories, the reason the mccanns "forbid" the book to be published in english is so that there is one and only one reason madeleine is missing and that is because she was "abducted".

Although this is a big story from the Guardian . I believe nothing will come from it...Scotland yard should be involved and there should be arrests but this will not happen..Murdoch and the goverment work hand in glove.

I find one thing very strange that Tony Bennett has not been threatened with a court order by the Mccanns.

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Re: News of the World's phone hacking

Post  Guest on Thu 9 Jul - 10:54

Even if the McCanns had their phones hacked into - do you really think the News Of the World will alert anyone??

And I actually doubt there would be much on those phonecalls by the McCanns anyway - I think they are far too secretive and careful...

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Re: News of the World's phone hacking

Post  Guest on Thu 9 Jul - 11:50

eddie wrote:Even if the McCanns had their phones hacked into - do you really think the News Of the World will alert anyone??

And I actually doubt there would be much on those phonecalls by the McCanns anyway - I think they are far too secretive and careful...

Ah yes but they put their foot in it alot dont they in print and on camera. Just imagine what they'd say if they thought they werent being recorded.

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Re: News of the World's phone hacking

Post  Guest on Thu 9 Jul - 12:50

There was quite a bit on the forums about the McCann phone calls. The PJ were trying to get info without success and in the interviews there seemed to be some strange goings on about the McCanns swapping phones with other members of the Tapas group, or getting supplied with other phones from a resident on the Algarve.

If, as the reports today are saying, thousands of people had their phone calls hacked, I would have bet money on the McCanns being on the list given the speculation and media frenzy surrounding them during this period. We know that the British Ambassador, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and other senior politicians were in contact with them, and was it Philomena who said Prince Charles had contacted them to offer his support ?

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Re: News of the World's phone hacking

Post  Guest on Thu 9 Jul - 13:23

Standing Tall wrote:
eddie wrote:Even if the McCanns had their phones hacked into - do you really think the News Of the World will alert anyone??

And I actually doubt there would be much on those phonecalls by the McCanns anyway - I think they are far too secretive and careful...

Ah yes but they put their foot in it alot dont they in print and on camera. Just imagine what they'd say if they thought they werent being recorded.

justagrannynow wrote:There was quite a bit on the forums about the McCann phone calls. The PJ were trying to get info without success and in the interviews there seemed to be some strange goings on about the McCanns swapping phones with other members of the Tapas group, or getting supplied with other phones from a resident on the Algarve.

If, as the reports today are saying, thousands of people had their phone calls hacked, I would have bet money on the McCanns being on the list given the speculation and media frenzy surrounding them during this period. We know that the British Ambassador, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and other senior politicians were in contact with them, and was it Philomena who said Prince Charles had contacted them to offer his support ?

You're right actually Standing Tall - Kate has a tendancy to spurt stuff out.

Gran; I would SO love to get my hands on their phone recordings!!

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Re: News of the World's phone hacking

Post  Susan on Thu 9 Jul - 18:55

eddie wrote:
Standing Tall wrote:
eddie wrote:Even if the McCanns had their phones hacked into - do you really think the News Of the World will alert anyone??

And I actually doubt there would be much on those phonecalls by the McCanns anyway - I think they are far too secretive and careful...

Ah yes but they put their foot in it alot dont they in print and on camera. Just imagine what they'd say if they thought they werent being recorded.

justagrannynow wrote:There was quite a bit on the forums about the McCann phone calls. The PJ were trying to get info without success and in the interviews there seemed to be some strange goings on about the McCanns swapping phones with other members of the Tapas group, or getting supplied with other phones from a resident on the Algarve.

If, as the reports today are saying, thousands of people had their phone calls hacked, I would have bet money on the McCanns being on the list given the speculation and media frenzy surrounding them during this period. We know that the British Ambassador, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and other senior politicians were in contact with them, and was it Philomena who said Prince Charles had contacted them to offer his support ?

You're right actually Standing Tall - Kate has a tendancy to spurt stuff out.

Gran; I would SO love to get my hands on their phone recordings!!

ST made a good point there....

Remember the whoosh clunk?

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Re: News of the World's phone hacking

Post  Guest on Thu 9 Jul - 18:58

Yes, she is an impulsive person (I feel they both are but Gerry is the cooler of the two). I bet Kate has said many things on the phone that would be interesting to listen to....

Now then....who can I bribe in the news of the world??

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