The Great Debate UK

Could the Murdochs be the saviours of journalism?

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By Kathleen Brooks. The opinions expressed are her own.

When newspaper moguls are grabbing the headlines something has gone spectacularly wrong, but are we forgetting what the Murdochs have done to preserve print journalism?

Anyone who has followed the unfolding story over the News of the World phone hacking saga will be rightly outraged that a newspaper – a journalist – could think it was perfectly acceptable to get a story from hacking into someone’s voice mail.

Like most people, I could live with celebrities getting their phones hacked, although I don’t agree with it, but when it was uncovered that a murdered school girl was also targeted I wondered what had happened to a profession to which I have such profound respect.

We can only hope that these methods have died with the now defunct News of the World and tabloid journalists will stop lazily hacking into emails and revert to less ruthless, more compassionate ways to find stories in future. At this stage the debate should be focused on journalists’ standards and ethics and how tabloids can find the titillating stories that are their bread and butter without breaking the law.

from MediaFile:

Is Murdoch free to destroy tabloid’s records?

Editor’s note:

After this post was published, News Corp indicated that it did not plan any liquidation of assets in connection with the shutdown of the News of the World newspaper.  In the absence of a liquidation, the scenario laid out by Mark Stephens does not apply.

By Alison Frankel
The views expressed are her own.

Here’s some News of the World news to spin the heads of American lawyers. According to British media law star Mark Stephens of Finers Stephens Innocent (whom The Times of London has dubbed “Mr Media”), Rupert Murdoch’s soon-to-be shuttered tabloid may not be obliged to retain documents that could be relevant to civil and criminal claims against the newspaper—even in cases that are already underway. That could mean that dozens of sports, media, and political celebrities who claim News of the World hacked into their telephone accounts won’t be able to find out exactly what the tabloid knew and how it got the information.

from Reuters Investigates:

The end of an era for British tabloids?

No sooner had our special report today on British tabloids hit the wire than Rupert Murdoch's News Corp shocked everybody by announcing it would close down the 168-year-old News of the World.

Steven Barnett, professor of communications at London's Westminster University, spoke for a lot of people when he said of the news: "Astonishing. I'm completely gobsmacked. Talk about a nuclear option."

The future of the Press Complaints Commission

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cathcart- Brian Cathcart is professor of journalism at Kingston University and was specialist adviser to the Select Committee inquiry. The opinion expressed are his own.

What next for the Press Complaints Commission? One thing is certain: most of the editors and proprietors who hold the real power at the commission will do everything they can to limit or prevent reform. If it is left to them, nothing will change.

from UK News:

Tabloid trickery versus the right to know

Probity is Britain's new watchword. After filleting the bankers over their salaries and bonuses and excoriating MPs for fiddling their expenses we've now turned our attention to the antics of journalists.

The News of the World (NOTW) has frequently embarrassed politicians, vicars, footballers and celebrities, but the Sunday red-top is currently itself the target of an expose by a broadsheet.

Don’t confuse good journalism with the grubby

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john_kampfner- John Kampfner is chief executive of Index on Censorship and former editor of the New Statesman. His new book, “Freedom for Sale”, will be published by Simon and Schuster in September. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The news could not have come at a worse time for free speech campaigners. Revelations that private detectives have been paid large sums by the tabloid press to hack into the mobile phones and other records of public figures will cause damage to the newspaper at the heart of the practice, the “News of the World”.

Should journalists break the law? Yes if need be!

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-nicholas-jonesNicholas Jones is the author of Trading Information: Leaks, Lies and Tip-offs (Politico’s, 2006). He is a member of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom. The opinions expressed are his own.-

When searching for news and checking facts reporters often have to bend the rules and possibly break the law. But through its purchase of confidential mobile phone messages the “News of the World” has blackened the reputation of British journalism.

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