Phone hacking scandal escalates

The News of the World, Metropolitan Police and the prime minister’s director of communications are facing increasing condemnation for their respective roles in the phone-hacking scandal.

Since the New York Times revealed the NotW’s illegal practice last week, the tabloid has been accused of hacking into thousands of voicemail accounts, while the Met has been criticised for curtailing its investigation so as to avoid a fallout with the influential paper.

Andy Coulson, NotW editor during the alleged events, is expected to be hauled in by police for questioning, which has caused a rumble of discontent among his Tory peers and may put his position in the government at serious risk.

Coulson will be expected to answer revelations revealed by a former colleague that he “actively encouraged” the use of illegal methods. Coulson denies any allegations, and has said he is willing to talk to police.

But the police are also being criticised, with the New York Times quoting unnamed sources who claim that Scotland Yard’s “close relationship” with News International, the owner of NotW, hampered the inquiry.

The shortened investigation, and the Met’s decision not to reveal the truth to the public has suggested that the power of the paper has extended to throttling police investigations.

The investigation into phone-hacking led to former NotW royal editor Clive Goodman being imprisoned in 2006.

This article appears in issue 251 of Media Digest.

Image taken by Flickr user Samantha Celera, licenced under Creative Commons.

(Sources: MediaGuardian, journalism.co.uk, New York Times)

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