Leading article: A growing stench of lies and cover-up

Share
Related Topics

Rupert Murdoch has closed down the News of the World, the newspaper at the centre of the phone-hacking scandal. But the media tycoon has not managed to close down the story. Yesterday the brutal spotlight fell on the behaviour of News International, the UK subsidiary of Mr Murdoch's global media empire.

News International insisted for many years that phone hacking was not a systemic practice at the News of the World. In 2007, when the newspaper's royal reporter, Clive Goodman, was convicted of illegally intercepting the voicemails of Prince William, the company declared that Goodman was a single rogue reporter and that editors had not approved, or even known, what he was doing.

Two years later, when fresh allegations surfaced that hacking at the paper was much more widespread than this, News International held an internal inquiry and this, we were informed, discovered no evidence of wider wrongdoing. Several senior executives of News International – including the former executive chairman, Les Hinton, and the News of the World editor, Colin Myler – have also appeared before Parliamentary committees over the years to stress that phone hacking was the work of a single journalist.

But yesterday the existence was reported of an internal News International dossier, compiled in 2007, indicating that hacking was "more widespread than previously admitted" at the News of the World. In other words, this dossier suggests that senior News International executives may have knowingly misled the public and Parliament when they claimed that phone hacking was a strictly isolated phenomenon. The dossier also apparently indicates that Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor who went on to become the Prime Minister's communications chief, may have authorised the payment of bribes to the police.

It has been reported that James Murdoch, the media tycoon's son, who was appointed executive chairman of News International in 2007, was unaware of the existence of this dossier. But even if true, this raises some troubling questions. In April 2008, Mr Murdoch personally authorised a significant out-of-court settlement to Gordon Taylor of the Professional Footballers' Association, who claimed that his mobile phone messages had been hacked. What questions did Mr Murdoch ask his subordinates about the truth of that allegation before signing off on the payment? And which executives were responsible for keeping their boss in the dark? Whatever the answers, it now appears that some senior figures at News International may have lied about phone hacking and also suppressed evidence of a criminal conspiracy to bribe police officers. They might also have allowed David Cameron to employ Mr Coulson knowing that he had broken the law.

The broadcasting regulator Ofcom declared last week that it will look into the question of whether Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire is a "fit and proper" owner of the broadcaster BSkyB. But now another question must surely be asked: is an organisation that appears to have covered up evidence of corruption and illegality fit and proper to run any part of the media in Britain?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ampersand Consulting LLP: 3rd Line Support Engineer (Windows Server, Exchange Server)

£35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: 3rd Line Support Engine...

Investigo: Finance Analyst

£240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: Server / Infrastructure Engineer (Exchange, Windows, VMware)

£32000 - £38000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Serv...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: Virtualisation / Cloud Infrastructure Engineer (VMware, Cloud)

£38000 - £44000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Virt...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ice skating in George Square, Glasgow  

How many Christmas cards have you sent this year?

Simon Kelner
 

Al-Sweady Inquiry: An exercise in greed that blights the lives of brave soldiers

Richard Kemp
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum