Censored? Media silence over latest Coulson claims

Tonight's Dispatches programme, to be screened at 8:00 on Channel Four, makes further allegations against David Cameron - yet the media has hardly reported it.

Tonight’s Dispatches programme, to be screened at 8:00 on Channel Four, makes further, potentially fatal allegations against David Cameron’s director of communications Andy Coulson. But despite being press released well in advance, hardly any media outlets are running the story – it only appears in the Guardian, Mail, Independent and New Statesman. Not even the BBC is covering it.

Dispatches alleges that, while editor of the News of the World, Mr Coulson listenened to intercepted voicemail messages on the mobile phones of prominent figures – a claim he has always denied. Indeed, Mr Coulson denies even knowing the intercepts were being carried out. The claims are made by a former senior journalist at the paper.

The witness claims:

“Andy was a very good editor. he was very conscientious and he wouldn’t let stories pass unless he was sure they were correct… so, if the evidence that a reporter had was a recorded phone message, that would be what Andy would know about.

“So you’d have to say: ‘Yes, there’s a recorded message.’ You go and either play it to him or show him a transcript of it, in order to satisfy him that… it wasn’t made up… It was fairly common – not so common that everybody was doing it. But the people who did know how to do it would do it regularly.”

This morning, Labour MP Tom Watson wrote to the prime minister calling on him to suspend Mr Coulson while further investigations are carried out. He writes:

…I think it is necessary for you to make a statement in Parliament on this matter next week. If a government minister were to be the subject of similar allegations, they would be forced to stand down immediately while an investigation is carried out. We are now at the point where I firmly believe you should consider a similar course of action with regards to Mr Coulson’s conduct.

I am sure you would agree misleading a parliamentary committee of the House of Commons is a very serious matter, and therefore these allegations need to be investigated. Parliament and the public would expect nothing less from you.

When appearing before the culture, media and sport select committee in July 2009, Mr Coulson had said:

“I was, as you know, editor of the News of the World for four years from January 2003 until January 2007. During that time I never condoned the use of phone hacking and nor do I have any recollection of incidences where phone hacking took place.”

This is not the first time potentially damaging stories about Mr Coulson have been ignored by the BBC and the Murdoch empire. Last month, Left Foot Forward reported the media silence over similar claims about his involvement in phone tapping made in the New York Times. Aside from the hacking scandal, Mr Coulson’s tenure at the News of the World has been dogged by claims of bullying, of “the venom of Andy Coulson”.

Dispatches: Tabloids, Tories and Telephone Hacking airs tonight at 8:00 on Channel Four, and is available to view online on 4oD soon after.

21 Responses to “Censored? Media silence over latest Coulson claims”

  1. Shamik Das

    RT @leftfootfwd: Censored? Media silence over latest #Coulson claims: //bit.ly/bVg8s1 – watch #Dispatches tonight @ 8:00 on Channel 4

  2. Dr Shibley Rahman

    RT @leftfootfwd: Censored? Media silence over latest #Coulson claims: //bit.ly/bVg8s1 – watch #Dispatches tonight @ 8:00 on Channel 4

  3. Peter Ede

    RT @leftfootfwd: Censored? Media silence over latest #Coulson claims: //bit.ly/bVg8s1 – watch #Dispatches tonight @ 8:00 on Channel 4

  4. Brian Moylan

    RT @leftfootfwd: Censored? Media silence over latest #Coulson claims: //bit.ly/bVg8s1 – watch #Dispatches tonight @ 8:00 on Channel 4

  5. Sunder Katwala

    RT @leftfootfwd: Censored? Media silence over latest #Coulson claims: //bit.ly/bVg8s1 – watch #Dispatches tonight @ 8:00 on Channel 4

  6. Andy Bean

    RT @leftfootfwd: Censored? Media silence over latest #Coulson claims: //bit.ly/bVg8s1 – watch #Dispatches tonight @ 8:00 on Channel 4

  7. andy c

    RT @leftfootfwd: Censored? Media silence over latest #Coulson claims: //bit.ly/bVg8s1 – watch #Dispatches tonight @ 8:00 on Channel 4

  8. Wes Streeting

    RT @leftfootfwd: Censored? Media silence over latest #Coulson claims: //bit.ly/bVg8s1 – watch #Dispatches tonight @ 8:00 on Channel 4

  9. Dave Charlesworth

    RT @leftfootfwd: Censored? Media silence over latest #Coulson claims: //bit.ly/bVg8s1 – watch #Dispatches tonight @ 8:00 on Channel 4

  10. Michael

    RT @leftfootfwd: Censored? Media silence over latest #Coulson claims: //bit.ly/bVg8s1 – watch #Dispatches tonight @ 8:00 on Channel 4

  11. Grey Murphy

    RT @leftfootfwd: Censored? Media silence over latest #Coulson claims: //bit.ly/bVg8s1 – watch #Dispatches tonight @ 8:00 on Channel 4

  12. TeresaMary

    RT @leftfootfwd: Censored? Media silence over latest #Coulson claims: //bit.ly/bVg8s1 – watch #Dispatches tonight @ 8:00 on Channel 4

  13. Iain Donaldson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Censored? Media silence over latest #Coulson claims: //bit.ly/bVg8s1 – watch #Dispatches tonight @ 8:00 on Channel 4

  14. goktay koraltan

    RT @leftfootfwd: Censored? Media silence over latest #Coulson claims: //bit.ly/bVg8s1 – watch #Dispatches tonight @ 8:00 on Channel 4

  15. Mr. Sensible

    I read about this in the Guardian this morning, and have recorded the program to watch later.

    From the beginning, I found it a bit strange that a newspaper editor would not know if something like this was going on inside his newspaper, and I was a bit suspicious that Robbecka Brooks was trying to interfear in the proceedings of a Parliamentary committee, but now it seems to be getting worse for Coulson.
    He should go.

    This could turn out to be our watergate.

  16. alysyn curd

    Censored? Media silence over latest Coulson claims | Left Foot Forward: Tonight's Dispatches p… //bit.ly/dBRjrK & artimpactnetpr.com

  17. Darren Johnson

    Amazing claims about Coulson & phone hacking on Dispatches. Will ask Jenny if Commissioner has answered her questions? //bit.ly/9THusR

  18. Richard Lawson

    This scandal is not just about the ethics (or lack of them) of tabloid newspapers, but also about the relationship between the Metropolitan Police Service and the news of the World, and the influence of Rupert Murdoch at the heart of Government.

    It requires a full set of reforms, including these, which were agreed at the last Green party Conference:

    1. An independent inquiry, whether judicial or by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Police.
    2. The MPS to release all information relating to illegal surveillance to those affected by it
    3. A fresh investigation into the surveillance by a police force other than the Met Police Service.
    4. Mobile phone companies to review and improve their customers’ security
    5. The setting up of a Media Commission, along the lines of the Banking Commission, to review and make recommendations on better journalistic practices, including the matter of undue domination of the media by a single person or corporation.
    6. An amnesty for past acts of illegal surveillance by journalists, in order to get a fresh start without an unmanageable number of individual court cases
    7. The Press Complaints Commission to be replaced by a body with real authority to correct errors within the media.

  19. alexlockwood

    RT @leftfootfwd: Censored? Media silence over latest Coulson claims //bit.ly/9THusR

  20. Mr. Sensible

    Richard, I certainly agree with Point 7.

    It is wrong that the media regulator is not independent.

    It should be.

  21. Sam Butler

    RT @alexlockwood: RT @leftfootfwd: Censored? Media silence over latest Coulson claims //bit.ly/9THusR

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