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ACM Home arrow Media and monarchy arrow Now apologize to the Royal Family

Now apologize to the Royal Family Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Friday, 08 July 2011
The announcement that the News of the World is to close has followed days of allegations against the newspaper. In 2007, the newspaper’s royal editor and an investigator were gaoled for hacking offences including the phones of members of the Royal Family.

It now seems that this  was only the tip of the iceberg.

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It has now been conceded that investigators working for the newspaper had hacked into the mobile phones of military families, the victims of the 7/7 attacks and murder victims, including the teenager Milly Dowler.  It had become clear that the hackers and deleted messages when her message bank was full so that new messages could be received.  This caused the family to think that she could still be alive.



...James Murdoch acts...




Mr. James Murdoch, the Chairman of the newspaper’s proprietor, News International, has rightly described these practices as inhuman.  The important point is this behaviour must not be repeated.

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From his comments in the video below it is reasonable to be confident in his undertakings.  But he should now also apologise to members of the Royal Family not only for the original offences but particularly for the acts of revenge following the arrest of the News of the World journalists. One of these, by The Sun, involved publishing material - on page one - of Prince Harry in such a way that the readers and the person most affected - his girl friend - would be misled. 


 




...more than 4000 message banks hacked....





The police have now revealed that more than 4,000 people were victims of private detectives employed by the paper. Apart from this scandal, the police are also investigating one concerning payments being made to police officers for information. The News of the World, hitherto the biggest selling English-language newspaper in the world, is currently at the centre of two police investigations, one into the alleged hacking, the other into payments allegedly made to police officers.

The gap in the market for Sunday newspapers following the closure of The News of the World is likely to be filled by a new Murdoch newspaper, The Sun on Sunday.





...widespread  revulsion...




 Robert Winnet of the London newspaper The Daily Telegraph (7/7) reports that after widespread public revulsion at the scandal and condemnation from MPs, dozens of companies had announced they were withdrawing advertising from the paper. The share price of News Corporation  had also been badly affected.

He reports that Rebekah Brooks ((née Wade), the chief executive of News International and former editor of the News of the World, has been allowed to keep her job despite widespread calls for her to be sacked. “Last night she faced angry scenes at the paper as she broke the news to journalists.”

He reports. “There were reports she had to be escorted from the offices by security guards for her protection.”

Ms Brooks was closely involved in the negotiations with the British Press Complaints Commission which resulted in a working understanding between the tabloids and Clarence House during the minority of Prince William.

According to Mr Winnet, Rupert Murdoch and his family have sacrificed the News of the World tabloid as they fight to salvage their company’s attempt to take over BSkyB, the satellite broadcaster.   There is growing political pressure on the Government to block the deal, but Mr. Cameron is resisting that.







  ...the first case....






(Continued below)






 This began with the gaoling of a journalist and an investigator engaged by the News of The World.. 

According to The Guardian of 26 January, 2007, the News of the World “royal editor” Clive Goodman was sentenced to four months in gaol after pleading guilty to intercepting phone messages. His co-accused, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire was sentenced to six months.





...not about press freedom...   





The judge, Mr Justice Gross, described their behaviour as "low conduct, reprehensible in the extreme.  Neither journalist nor private security consultants are above the law. 

"This case was not about press freedom; it was about a grave, inexcusable and illegal invasion of privacy.  It was not pushing at the limits, or at the cusp: it was plainly on the wrong side of the line.

"It is essential for the decency of our public life that conduct of this kind is clearly marked as unacceptable. 

"This was serious criminal conduct to which we must not become numbed.  It is to my mind [of] the very first importance to the fabric of our public life that such intrusive, sustained criminal conduct should be marked by immediate loss of liberty."






...revenge...





The exposure of this criminal activity 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 on page one three year old photographs of Prince Harry in an obvious, underhand and vicious attempt to create problems for him with his current friend. 

There was no mention that the photographs with another lady were old.


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. 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 were critical of the Prince.



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


 


Immediately afterwards the editor, Andy Coulson, announced his resignation. He denied any knowledge of the crimes.   Controversially the then Leader of the Opposition and and now Prime Minister, David Cameron, appointed Mr. Coulson as his communication chief.

Mr. Coulson resigned earlier this year because of stories associated with his time as editor of the News of the World. He continued to assert his innocence.  He is assisting in the current investigations.

 

 
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