Murdoch hacking case

Hack Attack

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For a moment it looked as though Rupert Murdoch’s international media empire might be on the brink of collapse. The political pillars of the establishment looked shaky. In the summer of 2011 there was uproar over revelations that the Murdoch-owned tabloid News of the World had hacked the voicemail messages of Milly Dowler, a 13 year old girl who had been kidnapped and murdered in 2002.

Marx on the freedom of the press

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Marx was a prolific journalist - but he has been cited by different people as either a Stalinist censor or a liberal defender of the press. Mark L Thomas looks at what Marx said about press freedom

Following the Leveson report into phone hacking the pages of the Daily Telegraph, of all places, recently witnessed a spat over Karl Marx's attitude towards press freedom. The Reverend Peter Mullen declared that those MPs who advocate some form of state regulation of the press stood in the tradition of Marx, who, he tells us, "hated a free press". Rushing to Marx's defence was Brendan O'Neil, the editor of Spiked Online (a right wing libertarian website that likes to pretend its part of the left).

Press freedom

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Should socialists support the findings of the Leveson inquiry? Dave Crouch argues that real freedom of the press should not be the freedom of powerful media owners to exercise influence, break unions and erode journalistic standards

There has been an avalanche on Bullshit Mountain. Set off by a timid stamp of Lord Justice Leveson's foot, the landslide of press outrage has buried the real scandal at the heart of Britain's newspapers.

Politicians and senior journalists have queued up to attack Leveson's report as a coup by the liberal establishment (the Daily Mail), opening the door to Stalinist state regulation (the Sun), threatening North Korean-style control (the Mirror), and giving succour to dictatorships such as Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan, China and Russia (more or less everybody).

A Class Inquiry

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The Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking ended in June, no doubt to collective relief in establishment circles. We must wait until the autumn for Lord Justice Leveson to submit his findings to David Cameron. The knowledge that a Lord Justice will report to a Tory prime minister is enough to know not to hold our breath.

The 86 days of hearings have been tedious on one level and extraordinary on another. The prime minister and chancellor, chief constables, billionaire newspaper owners and their editors have been called to account, laying bare a world not just of corruption and cover up but of routine collusion, of "country suppers" and "Yes we Cam" (former News International boss Rebekah Brooks' congratulatory text to Cameron). We now know, for example, how many times Cameron met executives at News International over a period (59).

Working for the clampdown - the police and the cuts

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These are troubling times for the police. The march against cuts by 30,000 off-duty officers in May took place against a backdrop of widespread revulsion at police involvement in News International's illegal phone hacking operation, a scandal which has already led to the resignation of two of the Metropolitan Police's most senior police officers, Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates.

The Leveson inquiry has revealed the scale of collusion between police officers, government ministers and News International staff, providing ample evidence of police complicity in a deliberate cover-up of illegal hacking. It would generally be considered unusual for the police to wine and dine with suspected criminals. Yet Paul Stephenson met with News International chiefs 18 times in the course of the "failed" investigations into hacking.

The Sun isn't shining

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The wheels continue to come off at News International. James Murdoch's resignation as executive chairman is the latest blow. It came a few days after Metropolitan police deputy-assistant commissioner Sue Akers' explosive account to the Leveson Inquiry of a "culture of illegal payments" to a "network of corrupt officials" by the Sun

Ackers' broadside came a day after Rupert Murdoch launched the first Sun on Sunday, replacing the News of the World which was shut last July. His abrupt move followed the dawn arrests of ten Sun journalists - an eleventh is wanted for questioning - sparking such discontent among Murdoch's loyal hacks that Rupert himself descended on Wapping to reassure them.

By Gove: education and the Murdoch Empire

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On 3 October, at a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference, education secretary Michael Gove went out of his way to sing the praises of Rupert Murdoch. Gove admitted that he remained "a great admirer of Rupert Murdoch, he's a force of nature, a phenomenon, he's a great man". For a senior minister to still admit to being one of Murdoch's creatures is quite remarkable, but there was a good reason for Gove standing by his man: Murdoch has a central role in Tory plans for British education.

During their first fourteen months in office, Cabinet ministers met senior News International executives 130 times. Over a quarter of these meetings involved David Cameron himself. While in no way wishing to be fair to Cameron, it has to be admitted that his government was merely continuing a long established tradition of British governments kow-towing to Murdoch. This tradition began to take shape under Harold Wilson in the late 1970s, was consolidated under Thatcher, was deepened and extended under Blair and Brown and was set to become even more extravagant under Cameron.

How the mighty Murdoch has fallen

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It's seldom the daily news brings joy such as the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

Rupert Murdoch is a man who held prime ministers in his palm - "the 24th member of Blair's cabinet" according to a Labour insider. Yet there he was in July, called to account by MPs, pushed to close his biggest-circulation newspaper and drop his bid to control the absurdly profitable BSkyB, his son James poised to lose his role as heir, his US empire in jeopardy.

From Coulson to Cameron

Crumbling Pillars of the British Establishment

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The phone hacking scandal has rapidly spread to engulf the police, the government and sections of the media. Estelle Cooch looks at the crisis of legitimacy spreading through the British establishment.

A succession of scandals have engulfed British public life over the last three years, each one placing under the spotlight the entrenched corruption of a different institution that governs our lives. First, there was the banking crisis and the huge bailouts that followed, and then came the parliamentary expenses scandal. Now the phone hacking scandal has raised profound disquiet not just about parts of the press but also about the cosy relationship of sections of the media with both politicians and the police.

Hacking away at the truth

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The dam has burst over revelations of phone hacking at Rupert Murdoch's News Group. Fresh revelations tumble daily from the High Court.

On just two days in mid-February we learned of a witness statement, previously withheld by police, that suggests an unknown number of News of the World (NoW) journalists used a private investigator to hack into celebrities' phones. We also learned that the Metropolitan Police held evidence of hacking that it repeatedly claimed did not exist and that Scotland Yard had uncovered new evidence (don't laugh) of illegal activity at the NoW.

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