Are NoW journalists News International’s scapegoats?

Dominic Ponsford, editor of Press Gazette, has claimed that “ordinary hacks” are being punished in a “grossly unfair” manner, as the public and law’s reaction to the phone hacking affair escalates.

He says it was a “travesty” that Clive Goodman was imprisoned in Belmarsh “alongside murderers and rapists for what was a gross invasion of privacy, but no more” in 2007. He then warns: “It would be a huge over-reaction if more journalists suffered out-of-proportion punishments because of widespread anger over the perception that News International has been involved in a cover-up over phone hacking.

“Phone hacking spread far, far beyong the News of the World so where would we stop? They threw the book at Goodman and it had the desired affect [sic]. As far as we know, no British journalists hack mobile phone messages any more.”

Instead, the blame and resulting punishment should rest on “those who presided over a culture that let phone hacking flourish and who then misled MPs and the public over the extent of the problem”.

News International has only recently backtracked from its staunch ‘rogue reporter’ defence, claiming it had no knowledge, and didn’t sanction, the use of illegal phone hacking of messages to obtain information for publication. Its admission, and subsequent apology, is the first time the company has admitted that it was aware, or at least has accepted, that illegal practices were being used at the News of the World. It is not, however, the end of the stream of court cases that high-profile figures such as Sienna Miller have brought against the company. More punishments, no doubt, await.

(Source: Press Gazette)




“Before we all sink into a slough of digital dystopian despair, it might be worth considering this: is this a sign of the strength, not weakness, of revelatory journalism in the digital age?”

Charlie Beckett, director of POLIS at the London School of Economics, reacts to news that the UK government forced the Guardian into destroying hard drives that contained information leaked by Edward Snowden.

(Source: POLIS)


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