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Lisa Fitzgibbon

Lisa Fitzgibbon is a veteran of folk music; fronting the Power Folk band for many years, but now she wants to focus on making Something Beautifulas the musical director of her new global fusion band Moonshee.

With my band, The Lisa Fitzgibbon Quartet/Quintet/Trio/whatever the line-up, I’ve been working with my fiddle player, Jane Griffiths for 15 years now, so we’re so ingrained. My bass player is her husband, and his brother is the guitarist, and they’ve been playing together their whole lives. They can do what they want on-stage because they are so in tune with each other. We’ve done tours, productions, gigs, we’ve played on the back of trucks, we’ve played on main stage festivals and the little clubs and bars. Was I bored of it? Maybe. If you eat pie all day, you get bored of pie. You want to change the palette a little bit.

I quite like the contrast of the responsibility from Moonshee to my other projects. I like that I’m not the person at the front, I’m in the engine room. I spend my energy on the band and I let the girls, Amy McAllister and Rachel Button, front Moonshee. It’s quite liberating. Mitel Purohit (sitar) and Jonathan Mayer (tabla) are the sound of the band and Joelle Barker (percussion) had a relationship with the record label and we thought it’d be nice to mix her in. It’s been a natural process.

It’s a fusion of the English/ Irish and a bit of Indian folk. The concept is east meets west storytelling that’s been handed down by generation, whether it’s the story, or the music or the style of playing. It definitely comes from an English and Irish folk perspective and its specifically fused with the rhythms and in some respects the harmonies of the Indian sound. Moonshee is still a relatively new project, it’s only a year old but the potential is definitely there. It’s like a cricket team or a football team; you’ve got to play the game to find out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s going to be nice to see that unravel in a more natural way.

Jonathan came up with the name; it has a mystical side to what we do. A Moonshee is a mystical storytelling entity with Hindu and Arabic origins, it has a feminine slant to it and the band is primarily female, which is quite good fun. We don’t have a big enough profile yet to get a call from Amnesty International or play for Oxfam. We’re not really a political sect, more a unite-through-music global band. The point of it is to make something beautiful. To make music as beautiful as possible. That’s what I’d like to achieve.

I still do my own Lisa Fitzgibbon stuff, and I have other writing projects on, I still have my students and run a gardening business with my husband. As creatures, as human beings we need a lot of entertaining. I’m the kind of person who needs to have several things going on or I just get bored. I’m happy with Moonshee and I’ve got a couple of other projects on, so I’m pretty busy really. You have to have your hands in many pies don’t you?

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The front cover

Huw L. Hopkins attended the launch debate, marking the release of the first ever book published on the hacking scandal.

 

Tuesday 7th of February saw the official release and launch debate of The Phone Hacking Scandal: Journalism on Trial (Arima 2012).

The book marks a turning point in journalism that will affect all journalists and the future of their profession. The debate panel featured a mixture of editors, journalists and academics, all highly respected in their trade. Chaired by Raymond Snoddy with live heated discussion from Kevin Marsh, Richard Peppiatt, Glenda Cooper, Bob Satchwell and Paul Connew, all of who recalled anecdotes of both a serious and a comical nature.

One of the editors of the book, John Mair strutted proudly around the lecture hall, relaxing on his walking stick like a Monopoly man with every property in hand. He and Richard L. Keeble have released The Phone Hacking Scandal at the peak of the Leveson Inquiry, that features many professionals who have sat, and many who will in due course, in front of Lord Justice Leveson.

The panel played the role of Crown, prosecution and defence as Snoddy allowed everyone equal time to let their opinions be heard.

Kevin Marsh and Richard Peppiatt spoke in favour of the prosecution. Marsh stated “I found it easy to contribute to this book” as he recalled some of the evidence he had heard at the Inquiry. Peppiatt told stories of his time as a tabloid journalist and how he asked himself “is this what I signed up to?”, when chasing Jack Tweed through the streets of London without any reason.

Paul Connew took on the brave role of defendant, as a former deputy editor at the News of the World. Despite not being present during the period of phone hacking, he admitted that “there was a period of four years where the lunatics were allowed to take over the asylum”, a statement that everyone on the panel agreed with. Backing him up with caution was Bob Satchwell who, as a younger journalist, also worked at the NoW prior to any illegal activities. He stood up for the red tops at one point saying, “tabloid journalists should be drinking in the last chance saloon”; as it is only then other hacks know where that line is.

In a central, ethical advisory role sat academic Glenda Cooper, who offered her own knowledgeable insight on the rise of social media, “it is easier to treat people like collateral damage if you’re not knocking on someone’s door”.

Despite the typically awful taste of the wine, it still flowed like a French Merlot between journalists meeting for a common cause, as well as a good gossip.

The panel sharing a few laughs

Raymond Snoddy did invite lighter moments in to the debate when Phil Harding, who was sitting in the audience, claimed David Blunkett’s affair with Kimberly Fortier was the first moment where ethical considerations went out the window. Snoddy said “What annoyed me was that I had lunch with Kimberly Fortier at least four times and nothing ever happened between us”.

Aside from the occasional japes, the book launch celebration exposed more ethically questionable practices than Lord Leveson could dream of hearing inside his courtroom. This included a snippet of information from another audience member, the erudite Nicholas Jones. “We mustn’t lose sight of the relationship between the proprietors and the government of the day. We knew how deep this was and we as journalists should have conspired together to go against proprietors.”

Many of the panellists, and several members of the audience contributed to the newly released textbook, a seminal work that John Mair doesn’t want anybody forgetting about. “Let’s not mince words here, we’re not just here to listen to a debate, we’re here to buy books” but the co-editor may be happy to give a free copy to Lord Justice Leveson himself.

Read Huw L. Hopkins’ contributory chapterNobody likes a rotten apple, but someone picks them’ in The Phone Hacking Scandal: Journalism on Trial now, or on his website http://www.huwlhopkins.com.

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 Huw L. Hopkins attended the launch of The Phone Hacking Scandal: Journalism on Trial and discovered the most important thing to a journalist; the other side of the story.

 As journalists to be, we are being taught, or have recently been taught by people with morals. How many tutors you know are ignorant, arrogant, unethical arseholes? Despite what we may say under our breath when assignments are announced, we are quite lucky to be blessed with such good people to teach us in our chosen trade.

 As a Masters student at Coventry University, I am particularly lucky to view the critically acclaimed Coventry Conversations, which sees a handful of industry experts each week as speakers and guest lecturers about journalism. This is usually a collection of people who fall under what John Mair calls ‘the old pals act’, journalists whom he has previously worked with across a variety of platforms. The speakers tend to adhere to a similar ethical code and belief as the man who invited them.

 This positivity can sometimes be a drawback. My gut instinct would lead me to believe that your tutor or previous tutor, is a professional journalist who has worked for the BBC, or the Independent, perhaps even The Times when it was more Labour focused, and they will no doubt have plenty of experience on a local circuit. They will mostly read the Guardian. Any journalist worth his salt understands how important the liberal leaning national is, and how it upholds the correct morals and objections in society.

 Even Paul Connew, former deputy editor of the News of the World said “the Murdoch I used to know and work for, despite the loss of BSkyB, despite the closure of the News of the World, he probably has a begrudging respect for what the Guardian does.”

 He spoke at the book launch debate of The Phone Hacking Scandal: Journalism on Trial, published by Arima on the 7th February 2012 and edited by John Mair and Richard L. Keeble, another journalist who dabbles in teaching his profession.

 The live event held at the Coventry University London Campus saw people from both sides of the journalism food chain heatedly and humorously discuss the phone hacking saga and the Leveson inquiry at length. It also featured the quotable Kevin Marsh, the recovering tabloid hack Richard Peppiatt, the executive director at the Society of Editors and academic Glenda Cooper, without forgetting the illustrious chairman of the debate, Raymond Snoddy.

 While its likely nobody will have changed their mind over which direction their moral compass faced, after all John Mair did say “let’s not mince words; we’re not just here to listen to the debate, we’re here to buy books”, it did provide a good platform for a young journalist to see more than just the critical viewpoint of the holier-than-thou journalists in the fight against the red tops.

 Before any wannabe hacks begin their studies in journalism, many of them will have heard names like Paul Dacre and Rupert Murdoch but not all of them will understand their role in the industry, or their personality. Most young journalists will have not met, and may never meet these two controversial figures, we can only learn about them from the Chinese whispers that have circulated, evolved and morphed into something that is arguably worse than they are.

 Even when Connew admitted at the book launch that “for about four years, the lunatics were running the asylum”, another former assistant editor at the NoW, Bob Satchwell was quick to defend the red top industry “the tabloid press should be in the last chance saloon”. This is a statement onlookers of the hacking crisis should not forget. The British public are a wide diverse population that will not be forced into reading broadsheets everyday.

 The event’s audience boasted names like Phil Harding and the erudite Nicholas Jones who were both asked for their esteemed opinion throughout the debate and this alone was a great reason for young hacks to attend, listen and learn.

 These angelic journalists who have rarely put a foot wrong in their respective careers might dismiss anything that Paul Dacre or Rupert Murdoch do as evil or morally bankrupt, and with good reason, but not everybody who work on their side of the industry are.

 As a young journalist who is keen to learn all I can about the industry I have chosen to work in, it is important to remember that whilst my lecturers are media professionals, and they have walked the correct path through the ethical long grass, that’s not say that those who have spent time in the oppositions trench don’t have knowledge and wisdom to depart.

 To hear what all parties had to say, the debate will be going live as a podcast on the Coventry University website soon, in the meantime there will be a secondary launch party at the University’s main campus in Coventry on Tuesday 14th February.

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This essay was written for my Global Media and Communication module, handed in 9/12/11, with a final mark of 63%.

Introduction

The existing media system operating in the Czech Republic is representative of the strides forward the country has taken since the shadowed past of pre-Velvet Revolution and Velvet Divorce, in 1989 and 1993 respectively. Politically, the country has a Presidential system and a Prime Minister-led Parliament. This is a clear indicator of the country’s determination to be an autonomous state since the fall of communism. The President that oversees the government is a political hangover of the communist regime; a leader with powers to overrule. The media system is a combination of a public broadcaster, mainly funded by the government, and a free system built on private ownership. This promotes competition, an attribute of capitalism in the United States of America that the general public wanted to recreate. This case study looks at how the Authoritarian theory as promulgated by Siebert, Peterson and Schramm in 1956 still influences aspects of the Czech print media system after the country tried so hard to remove itself from Soviet rule.

 

The Czech press and its governance

In 2001 the Czech Republic was the first country of the former Soviet occupied states to review their original media policy. After the fall of communism in 1989, media legislation proved such a low priority in comparison to the creation of a new government that the press simply began a form of self-regulation (Gulyás 2003: 85). When the country divorced from the Slovak Republic in 1993, the Press Act created was largely similar to the framework still in use today, one that promoted freedom with no regulation regarding foreign ownership. The state amended the original Press Act, managed by the Ministry of Culture, in 2000. It still clearly denotes the freedom of the press in Section 4. This entire section is summed up in one line of text: “The content of a periodical lies with the editor” (Klaus et. al. 2000)

Major restrictions include regulation on defamation. This is covered in Section 10. It states that if “communications containing factual allegations which touches the honour, dignity or privacy of certain individuals”, the affected can ask for a repeal or a response from the editor to be printed within 30 days. This section has caused the most controversy.

The general public tends to be of the opinion that attaching legislation to regulate the press largely devalues what the country fought for during the demise of Soviet power. Regulation goes precisely against the societal beliefs of what the free press should be. There was public outrage in 1994 when a journalist, Zdenek Svavorky, was arrested and jailed for four months when he described the President, Vaclav Havel as a “traitor” (Wachtal 1996).

The current political leaders have long had a widely publicised loathing of journalists, which has in many cases been duly reciprocated. If the level of detest is so high then why don’t the political leaders impose more restrictions on the media?

There would be, without doubt, absolute disgust on behalf of the public should stricter legislation be introduced, but I would argue another reason: The government tolerates the way the media system operates because it is ultimately the decision of Czech leaders to provide a ‘free’ press. Allowing the public to express their views in a newspaper can in itself be seen as a form of regulation.  Adorno and Horkheimer explain; “there is the agreement of all executive authorities, not to produce or sanction anything that in any way differs from their own rules, their own ideas about consumers, or above all themselves” (1944: 122).

The Czech government supports a system that is intended to allow private ownership and public body broadcasters to work in unison. This bicameral approach is represented in practice in all sectors of the media apart from the newspaper industry.

According to Metykova and Cisařová the current mixture of journalists is divided between those working before the fall of communism and those who came in to the profession following the Velvet Revolution and Divorce. These two types of journalist have opposing ideologies on what their role is in society.

 – Pre 1989

The journalists that survived the cold war reported a huge cultural change in their country. Despite this experience they seem to have developed a hangover of the journalism practices drummed into them by their previous leaders. The job they fulfilled was one that spoke for the government and provided information and structure to the daily order. “The ‘old’ generation identify themselves as the bearers of (arguably idealized) professional standards and professional integrity and pride”. (Metykova &Cisařová 2009: 733)

 – Post 1989

The modern journalist, or at least those who began working after the fall of communism, are far more aggressive in their attempts to undermine the government at any opportunity. The general feeling amongst them is that they now have the freedom to speak out against the government so they will. (Sparks 1998:  162)

The political leaders tend to take these criticisms personally; consequently they have let their feeling for journalists be known. In an interview with Forbes magazine in 1994, the Prime Minister, Vaclav Klaus stated, “journalists are the biggest enemies of mankind” (Gulyás, 2003: 87).

We can take a clear element of distaste shared between the two sides from this quote but Sparks argues that Klaus and other politicians later developed a collaborative relationship with many media outputs, especially TV Nova. The leading commercial Czech television station used these links with politicians to lobby for and achieve changes to media legislation. In exchange for this, the media diluted their hostility toward the country’s leaders (2000: 43). Therefore, as is the case under the authoritarian model, the government achieves support from the press without formal regulation.

Newspapers are under private ownership and must abide by the Press Act. This Act now falls under the terms of the Competition Law of the European Commission, as does the regulation of the rest of the media. The Competition Law says that it regulates “(i) cartels, (ii) abuse of a dominant position and (iii) merger control” (Hoffman 2005: 4). The Antimonopoly Office ensures that the terms of the legislation are followed by taking in to account the specific roles of each publication and investigating media convergences. The media is seen as a vital role in Czech culture, which is “viewed as a ticket to the future”. (Jehlička 2008)

 

Other theories the Czech press may fit into

Some may argue that 4 Theories of the Press is the Bible of media theory but many modern theorists have started to lose faith. There are already suggestions of a fifth, Development theory that applies to peripheral countries, as well as modern combinations of the original four.

Sparks (1998) concludes that the 4 Theories of the Press is a completely useless tool to benchmark the Czech media system against. This is true to an extent.

The Soviet-Communist system is obsolete as the current system was set up to directly oppose the purpose of a Soviet press.

With the press being free, perhaps the Libertarian theory offers a connection, yet the Czech Republic definitely maintains a solid government.

The Social-Responsibility theory does reflect elements of the Czech system. The Czech Press Act gives the impression of a free press, but its official legislation in Section 10 regarding defamation, and the jail sentence of Svavorky, proves otherwise. The media ownership also negotiates too many underhand deals with the government in order to influence freedom and legislation for this theory to fully apply to the Czech system. The media moguls Vladimír Železný and Ronald Lauder of TV Nova have proven that the Czech media owners are savvy enough to persuade the government to work in their favour, indicating self-interest rather than social-responsibility. The press doesn’t have a Czech media tycoon, as German or Swiss publishers own the majority of papers. Právo is the only Czech-owned newspaper. It is the second biggest broadsheet and not strong enough in power to broker deals with the government similar to it’s broadcast colleagues. In the absence of such deals, print journalists have no reason to dilute their antagonism towards the government. Notions of social-responsibility certainly do not encourage them to present a balanced view.

The Czech media system is a complex mix of journalistic practices from the old regime, the new revolutionists, the media moguls and the stubborn governance.

Such a hybrid of ambitious powers jockeying for position in this still young country can cause theorists to jump to conclusions when discussing which theory best describes its press.

With its private ownership, and the part control of broadcasting by the government it is the Authoritarian theory that still holds true. Despite Hitler’s control of the media, privately run newspapers faired rather well under Nazi rule. Alfred Hugenburg owned a successful paper that went largely uninterrupted in its choice of content (Sparks 1998: 40). It was taken over by the regime toward the end of WWII to ensure support for the cause but for the most part it was left to choose its own content. One thing the Authoritarian theory relies on is strict support for the government in power; the Czech press have very little belief in their leadership, but the theory should not be thrown out over such minor details. This lack of belief does not necessarily destroy the application of this theory. Adorno and Horkheimer argue that the emotion achieved after the consumption of culture remains the same, regardless of the political system. “Consumers appear as statistics on research organization charts and are divided by income groups into red, green and blue areas; the technique is that used for any type of propaganda.” (1944: 123).

 

 

 

Conclusion

Applying the arguably outdated Authoritarian theory to the press system of the Czech Republic is a questionable choice that will undoubtedly draw critics. That doesn’t mean it should be disregarded.

The Controlled Commodification theory has revitalised the concepts of self-regulation and state control. It is tough to argue without hesitance that the media system in China is entirely under control of the state, and the same can be said for self-regulation. The combined theory shows that both aspects have relevance (Weber & Lu 2007).

Just as Controlled Commodification developed from two ideas, for this reason I believe the Authoritarian theory may still be of use when analysing today’s Czech press. Although the theory cannot stand by itself when describing the current system, for reasons I have stated, its utility could combine with a second, or even third, theory after more specific examination. Due to the limitations of this article I am unable to expand much further than stating a prospective amalgamation with the Social-Responsibility theory.

Examples of the government looking after their own principles, and the media expressing their freedom demonstrate that it would be best to submit a Socially-Responsible Authoritarian media theory. As further research is needed of the two archaic systems, this is yet to be confirmed. What is clear from my study is that with the government’s attempts to control the broadcasting system, and the more relaxed attitude toward the newspaper industry, the Authoritarian theory should still be considered when describing the Czech Press.

 

References:

Adorno, T. Horkheimer, M. (1994) ‘The Culture Industry: Enlightenment As Mass Deception’ Dialectic of Enlightenment: 120 – 167, Norfolk: Lowe & Brydon Printers Ltd

Gulyás, Á. (2003) ‘Print Media in Post-Communist East Central Europe’, European Journal Of Communication (18) 1: 81

Hoffmann, T. Fucik, J. Institute of European Media Law (2005) ‘Chapter 3: Czech Republic’, Market Definitions in the Media Sector [online] available from <http://ec.europa.eu/competition/sectors/media/documents/&gt; [26 November 2011]

Jehlička, V. (2008) National Cultural Policy of the Czech Republic, Prague: Government of the Czech Republic

Klaus. Havel. Zeman. (2000) ‘Regulation No. 46/2000/Předpisy č. 46/2000’ Collection of Laws/Sbírka zákonů, [online] available from <http://www/sagit.cz.pages.sbirkatxt.asp?zdroj=sb00046&cd=76&typ=r&gt; [5 December 2011] (Translated via Google Translator)

Metyková, M. Císařová, L. (2009) ‘Changing journalistic practices in Eastern Europe’, Journalism, (10) 5: 719-736

Siebert, F.S. Peterson, T. Schramm, W. (1956) Four Theories of the Press, Urbana: University of Illinois

Sparks, C. (2000) ‘Media theory after the fall of European communism: Why the old models from East and West won’t do any more’, Curran, J., Park, M. De-Westernizing Media Studies, London: Routledge, 35-49

Sparks, C. Reading, A. (1998) Communism, Capitalism and the Mass Media. London: SAGE Publications

Wachtel, B. 1996, ‘Czech media: Democratic or anti-communist?’ Nieman Reports (50) 2: 51.

Weber, I. Lu, J. (2007) ‘Internet and self-regulation in China: the cultural logic of controlled commodification’ Media, Culture and Society (29) 5: 772-789

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My mother is of that generation that circulated emails are still forwarded on to the family and friends in her contact list, she’s wonderful. I love her because in many ways she’s still amazingly youthful, even if she does catch on to the tail end of trends, but she doesn’t do it in an annoying way. Or is that just my bias?

She recently copied and pasted this into her Facebook status. Its probably not her original work but I thought it was worth sharing.

 

Such a good rant I had to share: Anyone age approx 35 or over should read this – copied from a friend … Checking out at the supermarket recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. I apologised and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days”. the clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations”. She was right about one thing–our generation didn’t have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then? After some reflection and soul-searching on “Our” day here’s what I remembered we did have…. Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day. We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day. Back then, we washed the baby’s nappies because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 240 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn’t have the green thing back in our day. Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house –not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of Wales. In the kitchen, we blended & stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right. We didn’t have the green thing back then. We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then. Back then, people took the bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we older folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then? Please post this on your Facebook profile so another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smarty-pants young person can read this 😮

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Huw L. Hopkins traces the long and winding history of Hackgate from
its beginnings way back in 2000. After jailings there came silence. But
then a constant stream of revelations, arrests, and resignations have all hit
the headlines since those heady days in July 2011. Where will it all end?

The question is not: ‘How far back does it go?’ it is, in fact: ‘Who knows
how far back this thing has gone?’ The phone hacking saga turned from
journalists doing something dodgy to get a story to complete public
outrage on 4 July 2011. Then it was revealed by the Guardian that 13-year-old
Milly Dowler, who went missing in 2002, had her phone hacked. At the time
this caused the parents to believe their child was still alive and it led the police
up a non-existent path.
There had been rumblings of a hacking nature when the News of the World
published some trivial but private details about a royal in 2005. In the end, a
NoW journalist and a private detective went to jail in 2007. But it was the
Dowler revelation in July 2011 that caused national outcry. No longer did it
seem the press focused only on the self-obsessed celebrities, or the discredited
politicians or royals. Phone hacking now affected ‘ordinary’ members of the
public.
Over the next six-months the hacked victims came out thick and fast. Each
story piled more pressure on the media and politicians – particularly as links
between the press and David Cameron’s government were revealed. Calls for
action from the public and lobbying groups intensified. The result – Prime
Minister David Cameron announced a judge-led investigation into the ethics of
the press. But let us now return to the start of the scandal – in the year 2000.

2000 – Rebekah Wade (later Brooks) became Editor of News of the World.

The News of the World was one of the biggest papers in the world well before
the turn of the millennium. In 1950, it had a weekly sale of 8,441,000. By May
2011, its circulation figure had dropped to just 2, 660, 000. In 2000, Rebekah
Brooks took over from Phil Hall as Editor and immediately her presence had an
impact. Her three years in charge brought about the hugely controversial but
highly marketable ‘Sarah’s Law’ campaign, with the tabloid carrying the names
of paedophiles in an attempt to gain public access to the Sex Offenders Register.
There were misnamings, mistaken identities and protesters holding ‘PEADO’
signs outside the homes of paediatricians. During this time Brooks befriended
the mother of the Sarah Payne, (of Sarah’s Law) and gained her trust.

2002 – Milly Dowler disappears.

The 13-year-old girl who would ultimately be the NoW’s undoing was
reported missing in March. Her body was discovered six months later, on 18
September.

Andy Coulson, Editor of News of the World

2003 – Andy Coulson took over as Editor of the NoW; Brooks flies closer to the
Sun.

Despite the controversy, Brooks left her mark on the NoW by the time she
had left in July 2003. While she moved next door as Editor of the Sun, her
Deputy Editor, Andy Coulson, took her place. They sat together at a select
committee shortly after the swap and Brooks stated boldly: ‘We have paid the
police for information in the past.’ Coulson interjected quickly assuring the
world that it was ‘within the confines of the law’. There was little follow-up by
both the press and police.

2005 – Clive Goodman writes about Prince William in the NoW.

Somehow Clive Goodman, the NoW royal correspondent, became the best
investigative reporter the world had ever seen. He managed to convince the
otherwise private and respected royal family to tell him about personal
conversations they had had as a family. Not only that, they allowed him to print
these private stories in one of the biggest selling newspapers in the world. A
fantastic achievement. But the truth is Goodman used underhand and illegal
methods to discover a knee injury to the future king.

2006 – Goodman arrested, along with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

2007 – Jail terms handed out but Editors move on to bigger and better things.

Whether the two events are linked does not matter. Andy Coulson left the
newspaper at the end of January and a few weeks later the two men arrested in
the royal phone hacking scandal were jailed. Rupert Murdoch seemingly ordered
a ‘rigorous internal investigation’ of the News of the World. Les Hinton, News
International Chief Executive, confirmed that there was no widespread hacking
taking place at the newspaper and the Press Complaints Commission later
confirmed this in May. Coulson, the ex-Editor who fell from grace several
months earlier, was appointed Director of Communications and Planning for
the Conservative Party. To top off the year, the head honchos have a shuffle.
Rupert Murdoch steps down as Sky’s non-executive chairman and his son,
James, takes over the running of News Corp’s UK newspapers, Asian TV and
Star TV.

2008 –News International pays Gordon Taylor £700,000.

Testing period for James Murdoch
Under a bus. In the deep end. Pick your metaphor. The first few months at the
helm of News Corp’s European and Asian operations proved a testing period
for James Murdoch. In April, News International paid the chief executive of the
Professional Footballers Association £700,000 in legal costs and damages on the
condition that Gordon Taylor signed a gagging clause to prevent him speaking
about the case.

2009 – As Brooks became CEO of News International, the Guardian revealed
new levels of illegality.

Brooks took over ‘Fortress Wapping’ in September as she was appointed
CEO of News International. The company manages the three subsidiaries;
Times Newspapers Ltd, News Group Newspapers (NGN) and NI Free
Newspapers on a large site in Wapping, East London. In July, the hefty payment
made in the previous year to the PFA executive became public knowledge. The
Guardian also revealed several other illegal activities by NGN, including the
hacking of more than 3,000 phones, misleading the PCC, the police and the
public. Coulson told the Commons culture, media and sport committee that he
had ‘never condoned the use of phone hacking, nor do I have any recollection
of the incidences where phone hacking took place’. The PCC released a
statement confirming that there was no evidence that phone hacking was
continuing.

2010 – Coulson feels the heat and the hacking spreads.

The Commons culture, media and sport committee released the report of
their findings in February stating it was ‘inconceivable that Goodman acted
alone’. A month later Nick Davies, of the Guardian, continued his long list of
Hackgate scoops. One involved Max Clifford’s acceptance of more than
£1million to keep quiet about the interception of his voicemail whilst Coulson
was the Editor of the NoW. In May, the Conservative Party formed a coalition
government with the Liberal-Democrats after failing to secure an overall
majority. The leader of the Lib-Dems, Nick Clegg, was reported giving advice to
Cameron over his choice of press secretary, Andy Coulson. When autumn fell,
an ex-NoW reporter revealed in an interview with The New York Times that
phone hacking was ‘encouraged’ at the Sunday tabloid. The interviewee, Sean
Hoare, also later said that Coulson helped spread the practice which had become
‘endemic’. This led to Coulson being interviewed by the police in November,
but only as a witness.

2011 – Inquiries begin and the spotlight turns on the Murdoch family.

Media Rolling Stone Gathering Moss and Other Disgusting Forms of Life

This is the year when the media rolling stone really began gathering moss,
stones, dirt and all other disgusting forms of life, as the Hackgate scandal simply
refused to go away. The year began with three high profile claims of hacking
which led to Operation Weeting being set up by the police: Ian Edmondson;
news editor the NoW, was suspended on 5 January over allegations of phone hacking in 2005-6. And Andy Coulson resigned from his position as Director of
Communications at No. 10 on 21 January, blaming the coverage of the hacking
scandal.
February saw Glenn Mulcaire being called to reveal the names of who
commissioned him to hack phones. From one rogue reporter to one rogue
newsroom. The News of the World had three journalists arrested in April: Ian
Edmondson, James Weatherup and Neville Thurlbeck. The paper then set up a
compensation scheme for those affected. The following month actor Sienna
Miller and sports commentator Andy Gray received damages after their voice
mails were intercepted.
July was the knockout month for the News of the World. On 4 July, Rebekah
Brooks said it was ‘inconceivable’ that she knew about the hacking of Milly
Dowler’s phone as she was on holiday when it was carried out. The following
day, evidence showed the victims of the London 7/7 bombings, the families of
the murdered Soham schoolgirls and the parents of Madeleine McCann
(snatched while on holiday in Portugal in May 2007) were all targeted over
phone hacking. The Guardian reported ‘messages were deleted by NoW
journalists in the first few days after Milly’s disappearance…As a result friends
and relatives concluded wrongly that she might be alive’. This quickly put
pressure on the Murdoch’s to make a bold decision about their newspaper. On 6
July, the Hacked Off campaign, calling for a full public inquiry into the hacking
scandal, was launched (headed by Professor Brian Cathcart, of Kingston
University) and finally James Murdoch announced the closure of the 168-yearold
News of the World on the following day.
On 10 July, the newspaper apologised in its final edition (with its front page
declaring: ‘Thank you & goodbye’). But the closure of the tabloid did not mean
the end of the problem at hand. Two days earlier, the Prime Minister announced
that a judge-led inquiry into press standards would take place. On 13 July,
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation withdrew its bid to take over the rest of
BSkyB, just as MPs were to vote on a motion, with cross-party support, calling
on Murdoch to scrap the bid.
Then Rebekah Brooks resigned. Les Hinton resigned. And so the bricks of
Murdoch’s empire started toppling. Then Sir Paul Stephenson, the most senior
police officer in the country, resigned (after criticism of his links to former News
of the World Deputy Editor Neil Wallis). Even Met Police Assistant
Commissioner John Yates resigned.
Sean Hoare, the first NoW journalist to come forward bravely and speak on
the record about hacking, was found dead at his home (though the police
indicated there were no suspicious circumstances).

Gotcha! Rupert Murdoch eats ‘Humble Pie’

What happened on 19 July has gone down in the annals of history. How
Jonathan May-Bowles managed to walk into the select committee hearing with a
paper plate and shaving foam, completely unnoticed, is bizarre. How he managed to make the foam pie, walk out of the public seating area, in front of
the cameras and the desk where the Murdochs sat, and launch the pie at
Rupert’s face before being tackled, is totally baffling. During the ruckus, his
wife, Wendi Deng, managed to strike a blow to May-Bowles. But pictures of
Murdoch with ‘humble pie’ on his face and the caption ‘Gotcha!’ went
worldwide.
During this turbulent select committee hearing (watched live on television by
millions) both Murdochs claimed they knew nothing of phone hacking. Several
days later, NoW staff, including the senior legal adviser, Tom Crone, and the last
editor, Colin Myler, claimed they had told James about the hacking in an email
marked ‘For Neville’. On the 28th, the close friend of Rebekah Brooks, Sara
Payne, was told by investigators that a phone that Brooks had given to her had
been hacked into. This announcement came less than a month after Payne had
written a column in the final ever edition of News of the World thanking the
tabloid for its support through the traumatic time of the loss of her daughter.
The next day found Baroness Buscombe, chair of the PCC, resigning. The
PCC’s failures to investigate the phone hacking allegations adequately ultimately
made her position untenable. Glenn Mulcaire also defended himself by saying he
was merely working ‘on the instructions of others’.
From 2 August, arrests began taking place left, right and centre, each one
being NoW staff or former employee. Interestingly, a Guardian reporter, David
Leigh admitted to phone hacking on 5 August. But he claimed that when it took
place in 2006 he was investigating bribery and corruption, not ‘tittle tattle’.
On 17 August, the Guardian revealed an explosive letter written by Clive
Goodman to Les Hinton. Dating from March 2007, it stated Coulson knew of
the hacking and that the practice was ‘widely discussed’.
As the saga entered September, Tom Crone, the former NoW legal manager,
and the former editor, Colin Myler, were called to the select committee. They
stated that an email titled ‘for Neville‘ was seen by James Murdoch. The email
was meant for Neville Thurlbeck and should have led him to knowing about the
illegal practices.
On 17 September, it was reported that policeman John Yates secured a job at
Scotland Yard for the daughter of NoW executive Neil Wallis. He was later
cleared of improper behaviour on this action. On the same day, James Murdoch
finally admitted the £700k payout to Gordon Taylor of the PFA.
Two days later, Rupert Murdoch paid £2million to the Dowler family and a
personal donation of £1m to their chosen charity. Later, a Scotland Yard
detective was arrested for leaking phone hacking evidence to the Guardian. And
on the 26 September Glenn Mulcaire revealed the full list of people that paid
him for illegally sourced information.
Over the next month a number of further and re-arrests were made. Tom
Crone told the select committee that one of the reasons Murdoch had for
settling one case was because he knew of the ‘for Neville’ email. Operation Weeting also increased the amount of police officers assigned to 200 to assist
with the investigation.
On 25 October, a third of News Corporation’s investors voted against the
Murdoch sons being re-elected to the board. The following day the
Metropolitan Police find a phone that was used for more than 1,000 instances of
illegal hacking.

Rogue Newsroom becomes Rogue News Company

Entering November, one rogue newsroom became a rogue news company as
the Sun had its first journalist arrested for paying police officers. Jamie Pyatt was
released on bail until March 2012 – as have all the others arrested. The
Metropolitan Police calculated that 5,795 people had been victims of phone
hacking but this figure could actually increase. One of these cases is the father of
Josie Russell who survived an attack in which her mother and sister were killed.
Shaun Russell, the father, sued News International.
On 5 November, reports surfaced that a former police officer was hired to
spy on the lawyers representing phone hacking victims. Shortly after a second
private detective claimed that he had followed more than 90 people under
orders from NoW. Derek Webb continued to work for them right up until the
close of the newspaper.
The following morning, James Murdoch was questioned again by the select
committee since his previous appearance was considered misleading by some.
Tom Watson, a Labour MP, accused him of being ‘the worst Mafia boss in the
world’.
On 14 November, the Leveson Inquiry officially started. This inquiry over the
next few weeks would see celebrities, witnesses, victims and journalists all give
evidence. Some of the high profile cases involved Hugh Grant and Charlotte
Church, along with comedian Steve Coogan. It became clear that the scandal
was no longer just about phone hacking. Lord Justice Leveson is now looking at
the ethics of journalism as a whole. Certain newspapers, such as the Daily Mail,
are being asked to write apologies and are coming under severe pressure.
Whether or not any more newspapers will close, no one knows but one thing for
sure is that no newspaper is safe. The News of the World is shut, the Sun is trying
to distance itself from the scandal, the Mail and Daily Mirror are facing all sorts
of pressures –and the Guardian has also admitted being involved in hacking –
but ‘in the public interest’. The latter newspaper has been instrumental in the
revelations and is largely responsible for the campaign building up such
momentum.
On the 12 December, the Metropolitan police made a statement to the
Leveson Inquiry saying it was ‘unlikely’ Glenn Mulcaire, whilst working on
behalf of the News of the World, deleted any of Dowler’s voicemail messages. The
Guardian had reported this as fact, having been briefed to that effect by the
Surrey police. It apologised and amended the relevant reports online.

Leveson: Allowing the Public see the Damage after a Car Crash

Lord Leveson is effectively allowing the public see the damage caused after a car
crash. The victims can air their grievances. Not only has Leveson interviewed
celebrities, but also affected members of the public. ‘We’re just ordinary people,’
said Milly Dowler’s mother. The lack of journalism ethics isn’t just affecting the
rich and famous, it’s hurting the people who want no part of it.
The fishing for stories, rummaging of bins and the hacking of phones will
undoubtedly be very hard to do in the near future. Next year, Leveson will
recommend a path to take. One of many. Together they could bring about a
monumental change in how journalism is conducted and regulated in the UK.
As Jon Snow, the Channel 4 news presenter, said in a Coventry Conversation:
‘There are many people with great integrity in the media, there are also some
rotten apples.’ It’s time to throw the rotten apples out and focus on the fruit that
is still healthy and does some good for the public.

Extract taken from: THE PHONE HACKING SCANDAL; JOURNALISM ON TRIAL. Arima: Bury St Edmunds. Feb 7th 2012

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Very few people really know who a journalist is. Unless you’re one of the famous personalities like Jeremy Clarkson or Piers Morgan nobody really pays the slightest bit of interest.

One of the lower profiles to give evidence at the Leveson Inquiry was Richard Peppiatt. He didn’t have the celebrity to garner front-page news level of attention but he may have been one of the bigger stories to come to light so far. The tabloids barely put wrote about him at all, but that was for a different reason altogether.

Peppiatt was a ‘journalist’ at the Daily Star, he fell in to the role of a tabloid journalist and was asked to do some wildly unethical things to get stories, things he now regrets, and things he now campaigns against.

“I’m certainly very repentant in the way I conducted journalism.”

Peppiatt spoke to a enthralled Coventry Conversation audience on Thursday about the thing’s he’d done, what giving evidence was like, death threats linked to his former employer and that famous letter of resignation.

The famous Press Baron of the early 20th Century, Lord Northcliff once said, “News is what someone, somewhere wants to suppress, everything else is just advertising.” According to the ex-Star “The tabloid culture is; seeking out the truth is not an objective. It’s a matter of how aggressively can we frame this story to make the most impact.”

It is for this reason the Select Committee for Culture, media and sport interviewed and re-interviewed nearly every member of the News of the World management, it is why the PCC is on its last legs, and it is for this reason the Leveson Inquiry is being taken seriously to the majority who aren’t in the tabloid media or the Mail.

The reason Peppiatt left was originally due to the anti-Muslim undertones the majority of the Star’s content, but the racism didn’t just stop at Muslims. “Black on black killing were called BOB-slaying behind closed doors. If a young, attractive, white woman with blonde hair gets murdered, that’ll get more coverage than a young black male. When they do write about them, it’s more of a caricature. That’s tabloid journalism, creating the caricature.”

In his resignation letter he openly stated the reasons for his departure and this may have indeed upset people at the top. “I started getting death threats saying ‘you’re a marked man til the day you die’ or that ‘Richard Desmond will get you’. This isn’t confirmed to be anyone that works for the paper but Peppiatt did say it was a person linked to the tabloid world.

For everything Richard Peppiatt did as a journalist for the Daily Star; from proposing to Susan Boyle, just for the photograph, to writing hurtful content about the death of Matt Lucas’ former husband, and even being ambushed by anti-terror police when he pretended to be a Muslim woman dressed in a full veil, this is certainly no way to treat a former employee.

“Some days we would have three people writing the entire newspaper”, an average reader would never know this. Included in that day’s content would be un-edited press releases, articles written under pseudo-names (look up the name Laura Neil and you’ll see some of Peppiat’s work), reworded news from the Daily mail and fake headlines “Simon Cowell is dead”.

“When I first got there, I thought, it’s a break on to Fleet Street, because everybody wants to work for the Guardian but not everybody can”.

As the Leveson Inquiry rumbles on even Guardian journalists will have to reveal some ‘underhand’ tactics they used to get some of their stories. As David Leigh put it at his evidence hearing “I don’t hack phones normally. I have never done anything like that since. I’d never done anything like that before. On that particularly small occasion, this minor incident did seem to be perfectly ethical.” This level of ethicality seemingly never translated to Peppiatt’s view when inside the Daily Star.

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