Monday, 13 February 2012

New Corp news

Just a quick update on the hacking/bribing/destruction of evidence scandal. As the latest arrests demonstrate, there is no question now that dodgy behaviour went beyond News of the World.

The arrests at The Sun also open up some deeper questions about what is appropriate in terms of getting information out of sources. Noticeably today there has been a backlash against the arrests, with lots of people arguing that this will hamper the ability of the press to hold public institutions accountable. Well, maybe. And maybe it just means that when we read stories about crimes we have to wait longer for some of the detail. Maybe we'll also seen less police corruption if they know there isn't a viable market for flogging info.

Also worth noting that two of those arrested at the weekend were someone in the armed forces and an MoD employee. So there's clearly the potential that bribes went wider than the police. Apart from the questions that this opens up again about appropriate journalistic techniques may it also leave News Corp open to charges under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Finally I am intrigued by the New York Times article that appeared over the weekend about the June 2008 email to James Murdoch, the one that he claims not to have read properly. What surprises me is that such a lot of emphasis was put on this one email, when it's existence, the nature of its discovery and its potential implications have been known about since mid December. I also note that Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff flagged the article up as significant. The implication, clearly, is that James may yet face having a formal chat with the police. Wolff is not the first person to have suggested that this is now a possibility.

If Murdoch Jnr ever does face this situation, needless to say this will call into question the position of some of those who have defended him.

No comments: