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Global media monster News International condemned
RUPERT MURDOCH'S News International Ltd (a UK subsidiary of News Corporation) has been lacerated by a report from a House of Commons select committee into the News of the World's (NoW) phone hacking activities.
Philip Stott, International Socialists, (CWI in Scotland) Dundee
The culture and media committee's investigation followed reports in the Guardian newspaper in 2009 that exposed News International, and specifically the News of the World's, use of illegal phone hacking of high profile figures.
Those targeted included members of the royal family's household - for which NoW's royal editor, Clive Goodman, was jailed in 2007 - and Gordon Taylor, head of the Professional Footballers Association, who won £400,000 in damages from News International in 2007.
Despite denials from News International, this new report touches on just how widespread the use of illegal phone hacking by its journalists was. The Metropolitan Police found 91 pin numbers (used to gain access to mobile phone messages) during their investigation.
The Met did not reveal this information to the select committee but were forced to disclose it through a Freedom of Information request by the Guardian newspaper. One MP described NoW's actions as, "hacking on a near industrial scale."
The select committee's report follows evidence given to them by leading figures in News International during which they claimed that the NoW's Clive Goodman was a "rogue" reporter and that no one else knew of his actions when he, and a private investigator, hacked the phones of aides to the royal household in 2006.
Andy Coulson, editor of NoW at the time, was forced to resign. He now works for Tory leader and wannabe prime minister, David Cameron.
The MPs' report describes the evidence given to them by News International's journalists and executives as examples of "collective amnesia" and "deliberate obfuscation." To most ordinary people such parliamentary niceties would be summed up in one word: "lies".
The report also attacks the Metropolitan Police for not launching a widespread criminal investigation into the actions of News International, its journalists and executives.
The Met's deputy, John Yates, claimed there had only been a handful of people who had been hacked and there was no new evidence to proceed with a fuller investigation. And yet as one Labour MP, Tom Watson, explained: "Scotland Yard is sitting on a whole bank of information and data on senior people who were hacked."
This report indicates, at least, a strong likelihood of an attempt by the Met and the Crown Prosecution Service to cover up the actions of News International. It raises serious questions about the possible collaboration of sections of the state machine in Britain with News International.
It also clearly exposes the dirty and illegal methods of NoW, who clearly believe themselves to be untouchable and unaccountable.
So out of control is the Murdoch empire that even sections of the establishment want the wings of News International to be 'clipped', as the select committee report indicates.
Some of News International's titles specialise in sleaze but they also regularly pump out relentless anti-working class, anti-women, pro-capitalist bile.
Many groups of workers who have taken action in defence of their jobs and working conditions have been attacked by the Murdoch press. The miners were "scum", and striking firefighters labelled "Saddam stooges". Liverpool FC football supporters at the Hillsborough disaster were accused of urinating on the dead and stealing from the dying.
In The Socialist 3 March 2010:
Youth fight for jobs
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
The Socialist Interview
Socialist Party women
Socialist Party feature