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ACM Home arrow Convenor's Column arrow Criminal activity not limited to Royal Watchers

Criminal activity not limited to Royal Watchers Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The revelation that the UK Sunday newspaper the News of the World’s  hacking of mobile message banks went further than the  Royal Family is salutary (“Crime and punishment,” 27 January 2007 ).

There was a view in some media and elite circles that the Royal Family are fair game; that they are not entitled to any privacy.

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I recall that view being presented by a well known lawyer that the Royal Family were a defamation and privacy free zone. He prefaced his comment with the words" Sorry David." 

He was not being malicious- he only trying to describe the situatiohow he saw it.

But that is just what is wanted by the more delinquent of the Royal Watchers. They justified it by saying that the dysfunctional royals deserved this.

Initially only the News of the World’s “Royal Editor” together with a private investigator went to gaol in 2007.

This crime  came as a surprise to the rest of the News of the World and the Murdoch empire. They did not know what was going on at the news paper. Even the editor said he was unaware.




..tabloid revenge....



The  exposure of this criminal activity against the Royal Family was followed by what seems to have been an enhanced media campaign against the Royal Family (("News of the World revenge on the Royal Family” ) 

In 2006 another Murdoch newspaper, The Sun, published three year old photographs of Prince Harry in an obvious, underhand and vicious attempt to create problems for him with his current lady friend.

That fabrication went around the world, but when the true story emerged – that these were old photographs – The Sun refused to apologise for its appalling conduct.

Those newspapers which carried the original false story either did not bother to correct it or minimised it.

Then in 2009 the News of the
World  found - we suspect bought – a video which showed Prince Harry engaging in the sort of banter young men in the army typically engage in. It was three years old.

Some people who have obviously had no military experience complained.  

Image




....from News of the World to 10 Downing Street...   



Immediately afterwards the revelation of the criminal activity on the News of the World, the editor , Andy Coulson, announced his resignation.

He denied any knowledge of the crimes.
 

Controversiall,y the then Leader of the Oppositionand and now Prime Minister, David Cameron, actually appointed Mr. Coulson as his communication chief.

The editorship of the News of the World is surely an unusual preparation for an adviser and executive  of an alternative British Prime Minister.





...it did not stop there....
  

Then when more questions began to be asked about the News of the World,  Mr. Coulson  resigned  from Mr. Cameron’s employ earlier this year (“Crime and the media,” 1 February 2011) .

He continued to assert his innocence. 

There are now 24 law suits against the  News of the World and the Murdoch organisation (“Phone hacking apology designed to keep cases out of court,” The Guardian, 8/8).

The point is the activities at the news paper were not limited to the Royal Family nor to the Royal Watchers.

Once such delinquency establishes itself , it is naive to think that only the Royal Family is being targetted -
or, indeed , that that it is ever acceptable.

It is said that the corporation hopes to keep damage and costs within a
£20m budget.

We know this vice is not limited to Royal Watchers. But is it limited to those named? Is it limited to the News of the World?



   

 
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