Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
We’ve been following the growing worldwide scandal of phone hacking of the families of victims of terror and lost servicemen by the British tabloid, News of The World. The 186 year-old British weekly publication shut down earlier this month amid cries for a full investigation into sensationalist journalism that apparently relied on listening in to voice mails of the victims. British PM David Cameron has recalled Parliament into extraordinary session to debate the phone hacking scandal engendered by Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. Murdoch, his son, James, and officials from NOW’s parent company, News Corp, have appeared before Parliament Select Committees amid torrents of popular protest to answer questions about upper management’s role. To date, Murdoch and his lieutenants have denied any prior knowledge of the methods used to fuel the gotcha’ stories. Calls are now being heard for PM Cameron’s resignation and that of Murdoch himself who has denied any wrongdoing.
The debate in Parliament began this morning and PM Cameron has acknowledged mistakes and “profound regret” in naming former NOW editor, Andy Coulson, as his press secretary, even amid allegations that he was aware of payments made to British police to secure private information which made its way into NOW stories. Cameron also said that if Coulson was aware of the phone hacking during his tenure at NOW,he had been lied to and a sincere apology to the House of Commons was in order. The opposition was not satisfied, calling for an in-depth investigation into the relationship between the media, police forces, and politicians. The Prime Minster has already nominated a committee of police and media “experts” to head the investigation along with a British judge. In the wake of the scandal two top British police officials have resigned, as has Rebekah Brooks, the CEO of NOW’s parent company and its former editor.
You can watch the debates live on C-Span and here. Given allegations that similar methods were employed in the U.S. by other Murdoch media properties, such an investigation may be coming to a government entity near you. Murdoch owns Fox News and the Wall Street Journal among other media outlets around the world.
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger