Does the News International scandal imply a need for public intervention in the media? Or would that lead to restrictions on the ability of journalists to investigate corruption within powerful institutions in society?
In 1986-7 5,500 print production workers were sacked for striking against an attempt to impose new draconian terms and conditions at Rupert Murdoch’s new, then state-of-the-art, printing plant.
Britain’s newspapers are probably the worst in the world, aside from the state-controlled newspapers under dictatorships, which are bad for different reasons.
In October 1992 the Independent on Sunday (IoS) published a smear article by its then political editor Stephen Castle suggesting without evidence that sympathisers of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty and other leftists had tried to rig ballots (in Sheffield) for the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party.
One factor in the domination of the British newspaper industry by billionaires is that it is difficult for smaller newspapers — such as Solidarity — to get distributed.
The scandals now unfolding are like a hidden network of wires behind plaster which, exposed by the Milly Dowler case to vigorous investigation, are being pulled on, shattering the plaster. Hidden connections are being exposed, showing the links of the Murdoch press (but surely not only the Murdoch press) to career criminals, politicians, and corrupt policemen.
The wires are still being yanked on, and there is no knowing where it will lead. Cameron is implicated — the same Cameron who a few months ago moved Lib-Dem minister Vince Cable sideways in his government because Cable had identified himself as an enemy of the Murdoch empire.
According to the former commander of the Flying Squad, John O’Connor, the
close personal and corrupt financial bonds between senior policemen and the Murdoch organisation that are now being exposed were forged in the heat of the Battle of Wapping in 1986.
By Dave Osler
If there is a qualitative difference between having a dominant interest in BSkyB and outright ownership of the satellite broadcaster, it pretty much escapes me.
The more liberal and broadsheet press have, understandably, and in the case of the Guardian deservedly, had a good time with the unfolding crisis around News International.
The now finished News of the World is in hot water for illegally intercepting the phone calls of dozens of bold-faced names.
The News of the World has abused its powers, but fundamentally we have a free press, don’t we?