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Rupert Murdoch and the Corruption of the British Media


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It has been reported today that Paul McMullan, a former investigative journalist with the News of the World, is willing to give evidence that Andy Coulson knew about phone-hacking and other illegal reporting techniques were rife at the newspaper.

Today MPs have approved a fresh parliamentary inquiry into phone hacking allegations. After a debate on the issue, MPs agreed the Standards and Privileges Committee should hold an inquiry into alleged unauthorised activity by the media. Unlike other Commons bodies, the Standards Committee had the power to compel witnesseses to give evidence.

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The strangest aspect of this case was why did David Cameron employ Andy Coulson as his Director of Communications, only six months after he was forced to resign because of the strong suspicion that he had ordered journalists to hack the phones of politicians. This straight away illustrated that Cameron was willing to engage in dirty tricks in order to win the next election.

Could it be that Cameron had no choice in the matter? Is Cameron being blackmailed by Coulson? I suspect that the private detectives employed by Coulson were not only getting information for the News of the World but was also getting the dirt on Labour MPs for Conservative Party headquarters. If that is the case, can you imagine what impact this would have on the public if this information came out in court.

This theory became even more credible with the news yesterday that the only Tory on the phone hacking list was Boris Johnson. Cameron was at Eton with Johnson and the two have been deadly rivals ever since. Cameron believes that Johnson has the potential to challenge him for the leadership of the party.

Evidence that the government is rattled by the Coulson story was the announcement made by George Osborne of 4bn extra welfare cuts. This was not even discussed with other members of the cabinet. The only reason for the announcement was to take the Coulson story off the front pages. It did but this is a story that will not go away. Although it is extremely unlikely that Cameron will ever be named as being one of those who commissioned the phone hacking, it will do him long-term damage and will definitely tarnish his image as “Mr. Clean”.

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How about digging into the (unconfirmed) report that Murdoch was a high CIA agent

involved in the Nugan Hand Bank scandal, and that his payoff was control of major

media, where he implements CIA asset control.

Murdoch's Jewish connections are also seldom explored. (See Google)

Jack

Care to elaborate Jack? Any vauge claim can turn up on Google, just what are these supposed connections and why are they relevant? Is being connected to Jews a bad thing? What about your friend Fetzer's numerous conections to anti-Semites? [such as Barrett, Bollyn, Fox, May, Shahank, Atzmon and "Pastore" to name a few.]

Care to reply Jack?

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Interesting article about Rupert Murdoch in today's Guardian. I like the comment that content is king, but the internet is a republic.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/jun/15/rupert-murdoch-paywalls-internet-content

Content is king, as we so often hear. The problem is, the internet is a republic; which means that the most exalted content has to muck in with everything else that's out there.

The biggest technology companies don't sully themselves with creating content: Google generates none (except Street View); nor does Microsoft, or Facebook, or Twitter. Even Yahoo, which has bought a company called Associated Content, is better known for the content on its photo sharing site Flickr. There's no room for kings among that democratic mess.

So how does Rupert Murdoch, a man who is fiercely certain of the value of content, restore it to what he sees as its rightful place as a money-earner in its own right? In effect, by making sure that it stays off the wider internet. BSkyB is a perfect example of controlling the endpoint of consumption: you need to have Sky's satellite dishes and Sky's receiver and Sky's encrypted card – tied to a subscription – to view it. Similarly, the Wall Street Journal, the newspaper that he coveted, lies behind a paywall on the web, and most recently in an iPad app (with, again, subscriptions). Fox is a cable channel, not an internet site. And it's interesting too that BSkyB and the Wall Street Journal rely on content that is fantastically time-sensitive: sports and finance. People will pay for access to those in a way they won't for the latest episode of House or a reality show.

It's instructive to compare Murdoch's success with that content with the biggest failed merger ever, of AOL and Time Warner. Those two couldn't work, because they were the internet equivalent of oil and water: one is an internet distribution company, and the other a content company. With no control of the endpoint, the losses were staggering. AOL has now been cut adrift, but not before Time Warner bled content and money all over the web.

Murdoch has experimented with the republican world of the internet, with MySpace, which News Corporation bought for $580m in 2005. Even that didn't work, because it couldn't keep people locked into the site, and when something more attractive came along, people left in droves: Facebook overtook it in 2007. When last seen, MySpace's visitor numbers were still plummeting, and nobody knows how to turn it around.

So having tried the republican model for content, and found it not to his liking, Murdoch is retreating once again to a kingdom. The paywalls being put up around the Times and Sunday Times are indicative of that thinking.

So if Murdoch has failed on the wider internet, does that mean it's impossible to make content work online? No; but you either need not to be worried about the direct cost, or confident that your strategy is definitely going to pay off in the medium and long terms. For the first example look at the BBC, where its multiple outlets – TV, radio, the web – are increasingly well-integrated: its TV and radio journalism feeds into web pages, while TV programmes are available again on the iPlayer, and radio is spread around the world over the net. The purpose there is clear – to push the BBC brand, which is an end in itself that trumps simple profit-and-loss calculations, though even there it has had to cut back recently.

Then there are the newspapers, where the Guardian and the New York Times are competing to push their content out across the web via an API – the side door to the database of stories and other content. Like the BBC's strategy, it's predicated on having no control of the endpoint, and instead having control of the feed of content, which means either charging for it or including adverts – the same model as the print newspaper, in fact.

It may be that Murdoch will be able to largely ignore the internet and keep the kingdom of content of his properties for as long as he likes, providing he can retain the two must-haves of live sports and financial information. For others, the former king may instead have to live like the Swedish royal family, cycling around with everyone else, and distinguished only in name and history.

But Rupert Murdoch never did much like bicycles.

October 2010 issue of Vanity Fair with its article about Murdoch.

http://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2010/10/times-versus-wall-street-journal-201010

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  • 4 weeks later...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/oct/03/phone-hacking-scandal-andy-coulson

The prime minister's media adviser, Andy Coulson, personally listened to the intercepted voicemail messages of public figures when he edited the News of the World, a senior journalist who worked alongside him has said.

Coulson has always denied knowing about any illegal activity by the journalists who worked for him, but an unidentified former executive from the paper told Channel Four Dispatches that Coulson not only knew his reporters were using intercepted voicemail but was also personally involved.

"Sometimes, they would say: 'We've got a recording' and Andy would say: 'OK, bring it into my office and play it to me' or 'Bring me, email me a transcript of it'," the journalist said.

The claim, due to be broadcast tomorrow night, goes beyond earlier statements by Coulson's former colleagues.

Sean Hoare, a showbusiness reporter, told the New York Times Coulson had "actively encouraged" him to intercept voicemail.

Paul McMullan, who handled investigations, told the Guardian illegal activity was so widespread in the newsroom that Coulson must have known about it. Coulson has denied all the claims.

Channel Four's anonymous witness, whose words are spoken by an actor in the programme, says: "Andy was a very good editor.

"He was very conscientious and he wouldn't let stories pass unless he was sure they were correct ... so, if the evidence that a reporter had was a recorded phone message, that would be what Andy would know about.

"So you'd have to say: 'Yes, there's a recorded message.' You go and either play it to him or show him a transcript of it, in order to satisfy him that you weren't going to get sued, that it wasn't made up."

In evidence to a House of Commons select committee last year, Coulson said he could not remember any instance of voicemail being intercepted during his six years at the paper.

He resigned in January 2007 after the tabloid's royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, was jailed for listening to the voicemails of three members of the royal household. "I am absolutely sure that Clive's case was a very unfortunate rogue case," he told the committee.

Channel Four's witness said: "It was fairly common – not so common that everybody was doing it. That wasn't the case at all. But the people who did know how to do it would do it regularly."

Other journalists had expected to be drawn into the police investigation, the source said, adding: "There were huge rumours swirling every day of who they were coming for next and who was going to come and cart away this person, that person and the other. And then I think the feeling in the newsroom turned to surprise that nobody else was affected."

The programme includes claims that politicians and police have been cowed by fear of Rupert Murdoch's News International, which owns the News of the World.

Adam Price, one of the MPs from the media select committee which last year investigated the phone-hacking scandal, described how he stopped voting to compel News International's chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, to be called as a witness.

"I was told by a senior Conservative member of the committee, who I knew was in direct contact with executives at News International, that if we went for her, they would go for us – effectively that they would delve into our personal lives in order to punish them."

The Labour MP Tom Watson said he was threatened in 2006 after he called for Tony Blair to resign at a time when News International was supporting him.

"A very senior News International journalist told me that Rebekah would never forgive me for what I did and that she would pursue me through parliament for the rest of my time as an MP," he said.

Brian Paddick, a former deputy assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard who is also taking the police to court, suggested that his former colleagues' decision to cut short their original investigation may have been influenced by their links with the News of the World.

"That relationship was well worth protecting ... when you have something as big as this, where you're talking about potentially a large investigation involving illegal activity, you can see how potentially pressure could have been brought to bear," he said.

Dispatches raises an unresolved question over whether the officer who was in charge of the original investigation, the then assistant commissioner Andy Hayman, was himself a target of the News of the World.

When Channel Four asked him whether his name appeared anywhere in the evidence collected by his officers, he replied: "I have never been told whether my own telephone was hacked." Hayman now works for News International.

The programme is presented by the conservative columnist Peter Oborne, who writes for the Telegraph and is close to the Tory leadership.

Oborne says in the programme that voters supported David Cameron in order to restore a sense of decency in politics. He continues: "Instead, by hiring Andy Coulson, he has sanctioned the News of the World culture of impunity and got too close to the Rupert Murdoch power elite."

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/oct/03/phone-hacking-scandal-andy-coulson

The prime minister's media adviser, Andy Coulson, personally listened to the intercepted voicemail messages of public figures when he edited the News of the World, a senior journalist who worked alongside him has said.

Coulson has always denied knowing about any illegal activity by the journalists who worked for him, but an unidentified former executive from the paper told Channel Four Dispatches that Coulson not only knew his reporters were using intercepted voicemail but was also personally involved.

"Sometimes, they would say: 'We've got a recording' and Andy would say: 'OK, bring it into my office and play it to me' or 'Bring me, email me a transcript of it'," the journalist said.

The claim, due to be broadcast tomorrow night, goes beyond earlier statements by Coulson's former colleagues.

Sean Hoare, a showbusiness reporter, told the New York Times Coulson had "actively encouraged" him to intercept voicemail.

Paul McMullan, who handled investigations, told the Guardian illegal activity was so widespread in the newsroom that Coulson must have known about it. Coulson has denied all the claims.

Channel Four's anonymous witness, whose words are spoken by an actor in the programme, says: "Andy was a very good editor.

"He was very conscientious and he wouldn't let stories pass unless he was sure they were correct ... so, if the evidence that a reporter had was a recorded phone message, that would be what Andy would know about.

"So you'd have to say: 'Yes, there's a recorded message.' You go and either play it to him or show him a transcript of it, in order to satisfy him that you weren't going to get sued, that it wasn't made up."

In evidence to a House of Commons select committee last year, Coulson said he could not remember any instance of voicemail being intercepted during his six years at the paper.

He resigned in January 2007 after the tabloid's royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, was jailed for listening to the voicemails of three members of the royal household. "I am absolutely sure that Clive's case was a very unfortunate rogue case," he told the committee.

Channel Four's witness said: "It was fairly common – not so common that everybody was doing it. That wasn't the case at all. But the people who did know how to do it would do it regularly."

Other journalists had expected to be drawn into the police investigation, the source said, adding: "There were huge rumours swirling every day of who they were coming for next and who was going to come and cart away this person, that person and the other. And then I think the feeling in the newsroom turned to surprise that nobody else was affected."

The programme includes claims that politicians and police have been cowed by fear of Rupert Murdoch's News International, which owns the News of the World.

Adam Price, one of the MPs from the media select committee which last year investigated the phone-hacking scandal, described how he stopped voting to compel News International's chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, to be called as a witness.

"I was told by a senior Conservative member of the committee, who I knew was in direct contact with executives at News International, that if we went for her, they would go for us – effectively that they would delve into our personal lives in order to punish them."

The Labour MP Tom Watson said he was threatened in 2006 after he called for Tony Blair to resign at a time when News International was supporting him.

"A very senior News International journalist told me that Rebekah would never forgive me for what I did and that she would pursue me through parliament for the rest of my time as an MP," he said.

Brian Paddick, a former deputy assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard who is also taking the police to court, suggested that his former colleagues' decision to cut short their original investigation may have been influenced by their links with the News of the World.

"That relationship was well worth protecting ... when you have something as big as this, where you're talking about potentially a large investigation involving illegal activity, you can see how potentially pressure could have been brought to bear," he said.

Dispatches raises an unresolved question over whether the officer who was in charge of the original investigation, the then assistant commissioner Andy Hayman, was himself a target of the News of the World.

When Channel Four asked him whether his name appeared anywhere in the evidence collected by his officers, he replied: "I have never been told whether my own telephone was hacked." Hayman now works for News International.

The programme is presented by the conservative columnist Peter Oborne, who writes for the Telegraph and is close to the Tory leadership.

Oborne says in the programme that voters supported David Cameron in order to restore a sense of decency in politics. He continues: "Instead, by hiring Andy Coulson, he has sanctioned the News of the World culture of impunity and got too close to the Rupert Murdoch power elite."

It was a very impressive TV documentary. The most chilling part was of MPs saying that they were unwilling to investigate the case because they were scared that the Murdoch press would target them with a smear campaign. This is how the deal with critics of the "Grand Project". Mike Hancock, is a Liberal Democrat MP who has complained about the policies of the Cameron coalition government. He has been the target of two smear stories from the Murdoch press recently.

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In 1969 Rupert Murdoch purchased The Sun newspaper in 1969. He turned it into a trashy tabloid and it was not long before it had become the best-selling daily newspaper in Britain. Later that year he purchased the News of the World, Britain’s largest selling newspaper.

The two newspapers advocated extreme right-wing policies over the next ten years and played an important role in the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979. He continued to support Thatcher in her decision to create mass unemployment by reducing spending on the public sector. This policy also undermined the power of the trade-unions. This enabled the Tories to pass anti-trade union legislation that helped Murdoch win his fight with the print unions.

In 1981 Murdoch purchased The Times and the Sunday Times. He also created News Corporation that controlled all his media interests. This includes film and television companies such as Sky and Fox and a large number of newspapers and magazines in the United States and various other countries. It has been claimed that he is the most important political influence in the western world.

In the late 1990s it became clear that the British public had turned against the right-wing Tory government. In the 1997 general election, the Murdoch press supported the Labour Party. This would have come as no surprise to those that had watched Murdoch’s behaviour in Australia. He had supported their Labour Party in the past. However, when they gained power with his support, they turned into a right-wing authoritarian government.

The same thing happened in Britain. After he won the 1997 election, Tony Blair abandoned his left-wing agenda and showed himself to be a Thatcherite. According to Lance Price, who worked for the Labour government, Blair would always consult Murdoch before introducing any new policy.

Murdoch was also a great supporter of the illegal invasion of Iraq. Every one of his 179 newspapers also supported this policy. He claimed at the time that the invasion would result in lower oil prices and an increase in stock market shares. His newspapers also played an important role in persuading the public that Iraq had WMD.

When Blair became unpopular with the British public he joined the plot to get Gordon Brown made the new prime minister without an election. Brown had been under the control of Murdoch for many years. However, after six months it became clear that Brown would lose the next election and so Murdoch’s newspaper’s began to support David Cameron.

Murdoch seemed untouchable. All leading politicians were too frightened to take him on. They knew he would use the whole of his media empire against them if they did that. Then something happened yesterday that might give us the opportunity to remove this terrible influence on British life.

The story begins in 2006 when members of the royal household complained that they believed that their mobile phones had been hacked into. The anti-terror police investigated the case as they feared it might be connected to a Muslim terrorist group. A few months later, Clive Goodman, a journalist working for the News of the World, and Glenn Mulcaire, a private detective, were arrested. Mulcaire confessed to hacking into the royal family’s mobile phones to listen to their voice-mail and that he had been paid to do this by Goodman.

In January 2007, Goodman was sentenced to four months in prison and Mulcaire got six months. Andy Coulson resigned as editor of the News of the World. He claimed that he knew nothing about this phone hacking. Anyone with any experience of newspapers knew that Coulson was lying. No editor would ever publish a potential libellous story without knowing the source of the story. Goodman was portrayed as a rogue reporter.

Les Hinton, the chairman of News International, appeared before a parliamentary committee and told MPs he had carried out a full investigation into the case and he was convinced that Goodman had been acting alone. The Press Complaints Commission also claimed they could find no evidence that Coulson knew anything about these illegal activities. Although he was strangely not interviewed by the PCC.

On July 9, 2007, David Cameron appointed Andy Coulson as Conservative Party Director of Communications on a salary of £450,000 a year. Why? Maybe because he is the man who knows all the secrets of the politicians.

The police supported this view that Coulson did not know anything by not bringing anymore prosecutions against News of the World reporters. However, we now know that the police did have a great deal of information about large-scale phone-hacking by Murdoch’s journalists. For example, Glenn Mulcaire had been paid £2,000 a month as a retainer fee for News Corporation. Evidence suggests he had been working for 37 different journalists. Mulcaire’s work had resulted in several scoops including those against the socialist politician, Tommy Sheridan, David Beckham (Rebecca Loos) and Sven-Goran Eriksson (Faria Alam).

Why did the police not follow up cases against these 37 journalists? How much did Murdoch pay to the police to stop these prosecutions?

The problem is that some policemen earn extra money by selling information to the press and other interested parties. One of them tipped off Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballer’s Association, that his phone had been hacked by Glenn Mulcaire. He therefore decided to sue News Corporation. In September, 2007, News Corporation paid Taylor and two of his football contacts, over a £1 million in a case that was held in secret. The people involved promised not to reveal details of the case. The High Court then joined in the conspiracy by sealing the evidence obtained from the police.

Someone, we don’t know who, tipped off Nick Davies, a reporter, about what had happened and the story appeared in yesterday’s Guardian. Rupert Murdoch immediately announced he knew nothing about this £1 million payout. This surely can be proved to be a lie.

The Guardian also provided a list of some of the people whose phones were hacked by Mulcaire. This included several cabinet ministers, including John Prescott, the former deputy prime-minister. This obviously has implications for national security. However, Prescott insists he was never told by the police that attempts had been made to hack his phone.

The most amazing response was from the police. Assistant Commissioner John Yates, quickly issued a statement that the police were unwilling to reopen the investigation into the case. Yates was of course the man who led the investigation into the corruption of Tony Blair and decided that he should not be prosecuted for any offences. I wonder how much money he was paid to reach this conclusion? How much was he paid for yesterday’s statement.

Other than the Guardian and the BBC, the rest of the media are doing what they can to ignore this story. One former editor of the Sun claimed yesterday that the whole story is a “socialist conspiracy”. The reason that even non-Murdoch papers are ignoring the story, is that they have also relied on illegal phone-hacking to get their stories and are worried where all this will lead. How many journalists will end up in prison for these offences? That is why it is important that we use the internet to expose this story.

British media scrambles to prevent Murdoch takeover of Sky Broadcasting

By Stephen C. Webster

Monday, October 11th, 2010 -- 7:14 pm

www.rawstory.com

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/10/british-media-scrambles-prevent-murdoch-takeover-sky-broadcasting/

UK's largest newspaper publisher, television network may soon be under one roof

An unprecedented coalition of British media outlets have banded together in recent weeks, insisting the government intervene in a planned buyout of British Sky Broadcasting by Australian-American media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

Murdoch, owner of Fox News Channel parent company News Corporation, already has a 39 percent stake in Sky, but he's looking to up that to 100. The broadcaster's total value is estimated at around 12.3 billion euros, according to The Financial Times.

Raising objections to the takeover were the heads of the BBC; Associated Newspapers, which owns The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail; The Guardian Media Group; The Telegraph Media Group and Trinity Mirror, which owns The Daily Mirror: they and other all signed a petition directed toward UK Business Secretary Vince Cable, asking that he consider halting the proposed 8 billion euro buyout.

"The business secretary is expected to make his ruling within 10 days of the European commission being notified, and his decision will have to be rubber-stamped by [Prime Minister David] Cameron," The Guardian explained, in one of several stories on the subject Monday. "The media plurality test – which would be carried out first by the communications regulator Ofcom and then by ministers – is a loosely-defined concept by which Cable would have to be convinced that rival newspapers and broadcasters were at risk of closure or cuts that would damage democratic debate."

That may be a hard charge to prove, considering Murdoch's son, James, once sat on British Sky Broadcasting's board of directors as chairman. He's currently the executive chairman of News International, the UK's largest newspaper publishing house and owner of The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and News of the World.

"We're not saying there's been a crime committed here," BBC chief Mark Thompson recently told PBS interviewer Charlie Rose. "What we're saying is there is – given the scale of the potential ownership in UK media – there's a strong case for looking at it systemically and deciding whether or not anything needs to be done to address the issue. If the two [News Corp and Sky] were combined, there might be a significant loss of plurality in our media market."

It would seem his argument was substantial enough to earn the support of Lord Fowler, former chairman of the British House of Lords select committee on communications.

"Any proposal to allow a company of [sky's] size to come under the same ownership as the country's largest national newspaper group must be a matter of legitimate public concern," Fowler wrote in The Guardian on Tuesday. "So Cable should certainly call in any bid by News Corp for full control of Sky – but that should not be the end of it. The government should go one step further and examine what impact the increasing concentration of ownership is having on the news we all receive."

The British business secretary has the power to put News Corporation's takeover of Sky on hold. No announcement has been made as to his expected decision.

News Corporation is one of the world's largest media conglomerations, with mainstream assets in the worlds of book publishing, newspapers, magazines, entertainment television, movies, televised national and local news, online social media and professional sports.

Critics of the media giant say owner Rupert Murdoch has tried to influence US politics by supporting conservatives in government and heavily promoting efforts to launch a war of aggression against Iraq. Likewise, Murdoch's Fox News Channel employs almost every mainstream Republican viewed as a potential candidate for the presidency in 2012, and the company has given over $2 million to Republican campaigns and their conservative allies with the US Chamber of Commerce.

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  • 1 month later...

The Crown Prosecution Service announced yesterday that Andy Coulson, the prime minister's director of communications, will not face prosecution over allegations he knew of phone hacking while he was editor of the News of the World. The Metropolitan police reopened its investigation following revelations by the New York Times and the Guardian about the extent of the practice at the News of the World.

This is no surprise because the police, in the pay of Rupert Murdoch, decided witnesses who claimed Coulson knew more than he admitted about the phone hacking should be interviewed as potential suspects and thus under criminal caution. They in turn refused to comment or gave short statements when detectives questioned them.

One of the most significant new witnesses to come forward was Sean Hoare, a former News of the World reporter. He was quoted in a New York Times investigation as saying Coulson was aware that phone hacking went on. Hoare's answers to police were limited because he was interviewed under criminal caution, meaning that he was potentially suspected of committing criminal offences.

In a statement, the DPP said: "Sean Hoare, who made significant allegations in the New York Times and elsewhere, was interviewed by the police but refused to comment.

"A number of other witnesses were interviewed and either refused to co-operate with the police investigation, provided short statements which did not advance matters or denied any knowledge of wrongdoing. Against that background, there is no admissible evidence upon which the CPS could properly advise the police to bring criminal charges."

"The contents of the reports in the New York Times and the associated reports and coverage are not enough for criminal proceedings unless those making allegations are prepared to provide the police with admissible evidence to support their assertions. None have been prepared to do so."

Coulson was editor of the News of the World when a reporter and private investigator were convicted and jailed for hacking voice messages involving Princes William and Harry. A number of journalists have come forward to say the practice was widespread and known about by Coulson, a claim he denies. Anyone who has worked in journalism knows that editors do not allow articles to appear in their newspaper without knowing where that information has come from.

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The Crown Prosecution Service announced yesterday that Andy Coulson, the prime minister's director of communications, will not face prosecution over allegations he knew of phone hacking while he was editor of the News of the World. The Metropolitan police reopened its investigation following revelations by the New York Times and the Guardian about the extent of the practice at the News of the World.

This is no surprise because the police, in the pay of Rupert Murdoch, decided witnesses who claimed Coulson knew more than he admitted about the phone hacking should be interviewed as potential suspects and thus under criminal caution. They in turn refused to comment or gave short statements when detectives questioned them.

One of the most significant new witnesses to come forward was Sean Hoare, a former News of the World reporter. He was quoted in a New York Times investigation as saying Coulson was aware that phone hacking went on. Hoare's answers to police were limited because he was interviewed under criminal caution, meaning that he was potentially suspected of committing criminal offences.

In a statement, the DPP said: "Sean Hoare, who made significant allegations in the New York Times and elsewhere, was interviewed by the police but refused to comment.

"A number of other witnesses were interviewed and either refused to co-operate with the police investigation, provided short statements which did not advance matters or denied any knowledge of wrongdoing. Against that background, there is no admissible evidence upon which the CPS could properly advise the police to bring criminal charges."

"The contents of the reports in the New York Times and the associated reports and coverage are not enough for criminal proceedings unless those making allegations are prepared to provide the police with admissible evidence to support their assertions. None have been prepared to do so."

Coulson was editor of the News of the World when a reporter and private investigator were convicted and jailed for hacking voice messages involving Princes William and Harry. A number of journalists have come forward to say the practice was widespread and known about by Coulson, a claim he denies. Anyone who has worked in journalism knows that editors do not allow articles to appear in their newspaper without knowing where that information has come from.

It is now clear that the Crown Prosecution Service is deeply involved in the News of the World cover-up. Just a few days after they announced they would not be prosecuting any other staff members because of a lack of evidence, documents have been leaked to show that the police had documentary evidence that Ian Edmondson, news editor of the News of the World, instructed Glenn Mulcaire to hack the phone of Sienna Miller. Despite this evidence, the police decided not to interview Edmondson.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It has been reported today that Paul McMullan, a former investigative journalist with the News of the World, is willing to give evidence that Andy Coulson knew about phone-hacking and other illegal reporting techniques were rife at the newspaper.

Today MPs have approved a fresh parliamentary inquiry into phone hacking allegations. After a debate on the issue, MPs agreed the Standards and Privileges Committee should hold an inquiry into alleged unauthorised activity by the media. Unlike other Commons bodies, the Standards Committee had the power to compel witnesseses to give evidence.

British Tabloid Editor Suspended Over Phone-Hacking Allegation

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/05/british-tabloid-editor-suspended-over-phone-hacking-allegation/?hp

By ROBERT MACKEY

January 5, 2011

The British tabloid The News of the World has suspended a senior editor accused of authorizing the illegal interception of the actress Sienna Miller’s voice-mail messages.

A spokeswoman for the newspaper told reporters in London that Ian Edmondson, the tabloid’s news editor, had been suspended last month.

The Guardian, the British broadsheet, reported that Mr. Edmondson was suspended “shortly after the Guardian obtained court documents which alleged he had asked private investigator Glenn Mulcaire to hack into phones belonging to actress Sienna Miller and her staff.” Ms. Miller is suing News Group Newspapers, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s publishing empire that includes News of the World.

As my colleagues Don Van Natta, Jo Becker and Graham Bowley reported in The New York Times Magazine last year, at least five people who claim that their phones were hacked by the newspaper have filed suit.

The Guardian notes that Mr. Edmondson was appointed news editor by the tabloid’s former editor, Andy Coulson, who is now Prime Minister David Cameron’s top media adviser. As The Lede explained last year, Mr. Coulson has repeatedly denied allegations that he knew about the phone-hacking by his reporters at The News of the World, even though he resigned after the paper’s royal correspondent was jailed for the practice in 2007.

Here is the full text of The News of the World’s statement on the matter, from Britain’s Press Association:

A serious allegation has been made about the conduct of a member of the News of the World staff. We have followed our internal procedures and we can confirm that this person was suspended from active duties just before Christmas.

The allegation is the subject of litigation and our internal investigation will take place in tandem with that. If the conclusion of the investigation or the litigation is that the allegation is proven, appropriate action will be taken. The News of the World has a zero tolerance approach to any wrong-doing.

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It has been reported today that Paul McMullan, a former investigative journalist with the News of the World, is willing to give evidence that Andy Coulson knew about phone-hacking and other illegal reporting techniques were rife at the newspaper.

Today MPs have approved a fresh parliamentary inquiry into phone hacking allegations. After a debate on the issue, MPs agreed the Standards and Privileges Committee should hold an inquiry into alleged unauthorised activity by the media. Unlike other Commons bodies, the Standards Committee had the power to compel witnesseses to give evidence.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/06/news-of-the-world-ed-balls-phone-hacking

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This story is based on the release of official documents as a result of the actress, Sienna Miller, suing Murdoch's News Corporation. The documents clearly show that senior officers in the police invistigation of Glenn Mulcaire and Clive Goodman, were fully aware that another senior journalist at the News of the World, Ian Edmondson, was involved in the illegal phone hacking of famous people. Yet he was not even interviewed by the police. Another example of the control that Rubert Murdoch has over the police and the British government. David Cameron is unable to sack Andy Coulson, the prime minister's director of communications and the editor of the News of the World during the phone-hacking scandal, because he is Murdoch's man at 10 Downing Street.

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This story is based on the release of official documents as a result of the actress, Sienna Miller, suing Murdoch's News Corporation. The documents clearly show that senior officers in the police invistigation of Glenn Mulcaire and Clive Goodman, were fully aware that another senior journalist at the News of the World, Ian Edmondson, was involved in the illegal phone hacking of famous people. Yet he was not even interviewed by the police. Another example of the control that Rubert Murdoch has over the police and the British government. David Cameron is unable to sack Andy Coulson, the prime minister's director of communications and the editor of the News of the World during the phone-hacking scandal, because he is Murdoch's man at 10 Downing Street.

Jailed phone-hacker's rising legal bills trigger speculation

There are suggestions that the publishers of the News of the World are covering the costs of Glenn Mulcaire

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/11/phone-hacker-legal-glenn-mulcaire/print

By Dan Sabbagh

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 11 January 2011 21.48 GMT

Glenn Mulcaire, the former private investigator jailed for intercepting voicemails on phones used by aides to Princes William and Harry at the behest of the News of the World, has run up a legal bill of hundreds of thousands of pounds as he battles a string of ongoing phone-hacking lawsuits.

The expensive defence, estimated to be in excess of £500,000, has triggered speculation that the costs are being paid by the publishers of the tabloid newspaper, whose controlling shareholder, Rupert Murdoch, has said he would take "immediate action" against anybody found to be caught hacking again.

Mulcaire's costs are likely to rise quickly as a string of actions from more public figures suing both him and the newspaper are expected to follow in the next few weeks, adding to the pressure on a south Londoner described as unemployed and receiving jobseeker's allowance in a court judgment in February of last year.

Mulcaire's legal team refuses to say who is paying his bills. When Sarah Webb, his lawyer, was asked if it was known whether News International – owners of News Group Newspapers, the publisher of NotW – was paying his fees, she replied: "No, we don't know that." News International declined to comment.

Mulcaire's defence is a critical part of the legal battles surrounding the phone-hacking case. In November he was asked to say specifically who at the newspaper had ordered him to intercept the calls of celebrities such as Sienna Miller and Elle MacPherson, as well as politician Simon Hughes.

Shortly after, Mulcaire's lawyers asked the court of appeal to review a November judgment in a phone-hacking case involving celebrity publicist Nicola Phillips, asking him to reveal exactly who at NotW instructed him to hack in to the voicemails of public figures. The cost of a court of appeal case could reach £300,000, lawyers say.

Following court actions, notes seized by the Metropolitan police from the office of Mulcaire have been gradually made available to public figures trying to bring legal actions against NotW. Tomorrow another part of Mulcaire's material will be made available to representatives of Sky Andrew, the sports agent, who is bringing his own case against the newspaper.

According to high court documents filed in a case brought on behalf of actress Sienna Miller, Mulcaire had a habit of writing the first name of whoever it was that asked him to conduct hacking in the top left-hand corner of his paperwork. Miller's claim states that Mulcaire repeatedly wrote "Ian" when he hacked into the phones of Miller and her associates – where Ian is alleged to be Ian Edmondson, the assistant editor (news) at the tabloid, who was suspended last month following that claim.

Now Phillips wants Mulcaire to confirm the identities of the men mentioned by their first names in Mulcaire's notes relating to her case – but Mulcaire's legal team argues that the former private investigator could be at risk of incriminating himself if he did so. If Mulcaire were compelled to give evidence in court, his testimony is likely to be decisive in the remaining phone hacking actions.

He worked under contract for the News of the World until 2006 – and took careful notes of who at the newspaper commissioned his services. Detailed paperwork from his office was seized by the Met as part of their investigation into Mulcaire and former royal editor Clive Goodman. Both men were jailed in January 2007 for plotting to intercept voicemails belonging to royal aides, with Mulcaire receiving a six-month sentence.

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Newsflash from the Guardian:

The Crown Prosection Service today announced it will mount a "comprehensive" assessment of all the phone-hacking material held by the Metropolitan police.

Today's decision to review the evidence in Scotland Yard's possession could result in further prosecutions. It was announced late this afternoon by the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer.

The CPS said it had been prompted by "developments in the civil courts", where several alleged victims of phone hacking are pursuing legal action against the owner of the News of the World for breach of privacy.

Clive Goodman, the paper's former royal editor, was jailed in January 2007 along with Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator employed by the News of the World, for illegally intercepting voicemails left on mobile phones belonging to members of the royal household.

The paper's then editor, Andy Coulson, who is now David Cameron's director of communications, resigned after Goodman was jailed, saying he had not known about the phone hacking but accepting responsibility. He and the paper's publisher, News International, have maintained since then that Goodman was a rogue reporter acting alone.

News International, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, has since fought hard to prevent further details relating to the phone-hacking scandal becoming public.

But ongoing court cases, including separate actions brought by Sienna Miller and football agent Sky Andrew, threaten to shed more light on the affair. Lawyers acting for both of them have obtained documents from the Met that could prove that other News of the World journalists commissioned Mulcaire to hack phones.

The paper's assistant editor (news), Ian Edmondson, was suspended before Christmas after it emerged in court documents that Mulcaire had written "Ian" in the margins of transcripts he made of voicemails left on Miller's phone.

The DPP said it would review all the evidence on phone hacking, including the files seized by police from Mulcaire's home in a 2005 raid.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/14/dpp-news-of-the-world-phone-hacking

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It has been reported today that Paul McMullan, a former investigative journalist with the News of the World, is willing to give evidence that Andy Coulson knew about phone-hacking and other illegal reporting techniques were rife at the newspaper.

Today MPs have approved a fresh parliamentary inquiry into phone hacking allegations. After a debate on the issue, MPs agreed the Standards and Privileges Committee should hold an inquiry into alleged unauthorised activity by the media. Unlike other Commons bodies, the Standards Committee had the power to compel witnesseses to give evidence.

News Media News of the World phone-hacking scandal News of the World phone hacking: now Paul Gascoigne is ready to sueTabloid newspaper's actions said to have hindered recovery of vulnerable footballer as he deals with alcohol and drug problems

Jamie Doward and Jenny Stevens

guardian.co.uk, Saturday 15 January 2011 21.43 GMT

Ex-England footballer Paul Gascoigne is the latest celebrity to sue the News of the World in the phone-hacking scandal. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Paul Gascoigne, the former England footballer, is to become the latest celebrity to sue the News of the World, alleging that he was a victim of the phone-hacking scandal that has rocked Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

His solicitor, Gerald Shamash, confirmed today that proceedings would be issued within days.

Shamash claimed that Gascoigne was in a vulnerable mental state and that his recovery had been hindered because of the stress of believing that his phone had been hacked. "It has made things even more difficult for his general wellbeing," he said.

Gascoigne has been fighting drink and drug problems for years and been in and out of rehabilitation clinics.

The Observer has now established that the comedian Steve Coogan has also issued proceedings and that Chris Tarrant, the television presenter, and the jockey Kieren Fallon are expected to launch legal actions soon.

There are now at least five law firms representing alleged victims of phone hacking. Lawyers from all five have confirmed that they expect more claims to be filed in the next few weeks.

So far, four people have settled claims against the newspaper before they reached court, including the celebrity publicist Max Clifford.

The increasing number of people who are suing or threatening to sue the paper has raised fresh questions about how widespread the practice of phone hacking was on the newspaper while it was edited by the prime minister's director of communications, Andy Coulson. Senior executives on the paper maintain that the practice was the work of a rogue reporter, Clive Goodman, who was jailed in 2007 for his part in the scandal. But many believe that hundreds or even thousands of phones were hacked by a private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, while he was working for the newspaper.

Questions are being asked about the role of the Metropolitan police, which was obliged by the Crown Prosecution Service to inform suspected victims that their phones had been hacked.

Paul Farrelly MP, a member of the parliamentary culture, media and sport select committee that conducted an investigation into the allegations, said he was concerned that the Met had adopted a new policy towards requests for information from suspected victims.

Previously someone could request that the Met scour its files to establish whether their phone had been hacked. Now Scotland Yard asks for a suspected victim to outline on what grounds they believe their phone has been hacked before making a search.

"We found great fault with the police investigation and to that we can add the conduct of the Crown Prosecution Service [CPS], which simply rubber stamps the Met's totally inadequate handling of the affair," Farrelly said.

John Kelly, of the law firm Schillings, who is representing a number of people seeking damages from the newspaper, said it was important that a comprehensive list of victims was established.

"Unlawfully intercepting phone calls is a massive invasion of privacy," Kelly said. "We will not know the full extent of how widespread this activity was until we know exactly who was targeted. It's in everybody's interest for the Met and News Group to let people know if they may have been a victim. In the meantime, more claims will continue to be brought."

In answer to a freedom of information request, Scotland Yard has confirmed only that there were 91 individuals whose pin numbers, for their mobile phone message services, were found in material seized from Mulcaire.

In a sign of the growing disquiet at the Met's handling of the investigation, the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, announced on Friday that the CPS had agreed to conduct a "comprehensive assessment" of all material held by Scotland Yard relating to phone hacking.

Charlotte Harris, the solicitor representing the sports agent Sky Andrew, who is bringing a claim against the newspaper, said she trusted the assessment would be robust.

"The interpretation of whatever documents or other evidence should not be something that is done by the Metropolitan police alone," Harris said. "An independent eye is welcomed given the civil claims, the reported settlements, the suspension of Ian Edmondson and the new internal investigation by the News of the World."

News International, parent company of News Group Newspapers, said the News of the World would "continue to co-operate with any request from the police or the Crown Prosection Service

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