Tabloid phone hacking scandal spreads, former Cameron aide arrested
The News of the World phone hacking scandal has already destroyed the newspaper and could cost 200 jobs. Now, an ex-editor and senior aide to Prime Minister David Cameron is under arrest.
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Shortly after 9 a.m., Cameron promised two inquiries, one a full judicial review, into the phone hacking allegations. Speaking in Parliament, he also announced a major shake-up of newspaper regulation. The present system of self-regulation by the newspaper controlled Press Complaints Commission is to set to be replaced with an as yet unknown watchdog.Skip to next paragraph
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“Let's be honest. The Press Complaints Commission has failed. In this case, the hacking case, frankly it was pretty much absent ... I believe we need a new system altogether,” Cameron said.
The newspaper’s closure comes amid growing public demands to stop News Corporation’s takeover of satellite television network British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB). News Corp, which first developed its interest in European satellite television in 1982, currently owns 49 percent of BSkyB.
Graham Barnfield, journalism professor at the University of East London, says News Corp and Murdoch’s interests lie more in television than in print newspapers. “Sky [television] is the real issue, relative to the News of the World. The News of the World has, like all newspapers, suffered a circulation decline,” he said.
British culture minster Jeremy Hunt said today the volume of responses to a public consultation on the takeover would result in a delay to the process.
Eyebrows have been raised at the closure of the NotW in light of former editor and current News International, boss Rebekah Brooks keeping her job. News International is News Corp’s UK newspaper subsidiary. Ms. Brooks, a close confident of Murdoch, was Coulson's predecessor at the NotW, also at a time when phone hacking and payments to police officers for information are alleged to have taken place.
“The question everyone is asking is: What does Rebekah Brooks know that makes her unsackable?,” says Michael Cross, a journalist who has a column in the National Union of Journalists members’ magazine.
Mr. Barnfield says the newspaper’s predicament is not a result of strong investigative journalism. “Phone hacking has been a product of weak journalism. It’s a culture of ‘see what we have on such-and-such a person this week,’ rather than following investigations,” he said.