Political, public and economic screw being turned on NotW

The pressure on the News of the World, News International and Rebekah Brooks over the phone hacking scandal will be ramped up today, reports Shamik Das.

The pressure on the News of the World, News International and Rebekah Brooks over the phone hacking scandal will be ramped up today with the launch of a campaign for a public inquiry into phone hacking; advertisers being lobbied to follow Ford’s lead and boycott the paper; a three-hour debate in Parliament; and Prime Minister’s Questions – at which the coalition’s expected greenlighting of the NewsCorp/BSkyB takeover deal is certain to be raised.

The ‘Hacked off’ campaign calls for:

“The establishment of a full public inquiry into phone hacking and other forms of illegal intrusion by the press.”

The petition says:

“Only a full public inquiry can restore confidence in our press, police and government institutions. What began as ‘one rogue reporter’ with a handful of victims is now acknowledged to be industrial-scale illegal information gathering, probably affecting thousands.

“All kinds of people, including royalty, cabinet ministers, celebrities, police officers, bereaved families and victims of crime have been targeted, and it seems it’s not just voicemail messages that have been hacked but also calls and emails, bank details and health records.”

They call for an inquiry to cover the extent of the use of illegal information-gathering methods; the conduct of the Met, and its relations with the press;
the communication between press and politicians in relation to these matters; the conduct of the Press Complaints Commission, Information Commissioner, and mobile phone companies; and that lessons to be learned and action taken to ensure these events are not repeated.

The commercial squeeze, meanwhile, is already being felt. Ford have pulled adverts from this Sunday’s edition of the News of the World, with T-Mobile, Currys and PC World all reported to be reviewing their relationships with the paper. Other companies which advertised in last Sunday’s paper, and are sure to come under pressure to pull out, include Tesco, Aldi and the Body Shop.

Also named as having advertised with the NotW are WHSmith, the Co-operative Group, Virgin Media, Carpet Right, easyJet, Butlins, Renault, First Choice, Halifax, Comet and Bulmers. With days of concerted pressure ahead, it will be interesting to see how many of these organisations continue to pump money into the paper’s coffers and continue to advertise.

Meanwhile in Parliament, as confirmed by the Speaker yesterday following a request from Labour MP Chris Bryant – himself a victim of the phone hacking scandal – MPs will debate a three-hour motion on whether there should be a public inquiry into the scandal.

They will consider:

“…the matter of whether there should be a public inquiry into the phone hacking at the News of the World and the related conduct of the Metropolitan Police Service.”

It follows the raising of the issue at Deputy Prime Minister’s Questions in the House yesterday, during which Nick Clegg was repeatedly questioned about the phone hacking scandal, telling Labour MPs David Winnick, Ben Bradshaw, Helen Goodman and deputy leader Harriet Harman that the police should be “allowed to get on with their investigation”, and that the decision on the NewsCorp/BSkyB takeover was not his to make.

While David Cameron, at Prime Minister’s Questions from noon, faces being quizzed on his relationship with Rebekah Brooks – it was reported this week that she only “survived” being axed “due to a personal intervention” by the PM – the extent to which his former Director of Communications Andy Coulson was involved in phone hacking (and why he stood by him for so long), and the Murdoch takeover deal, which culture secretary Jeremy Hunt will rule on this Friday.

In the light of all that’s gone on, this week, this year, over the past few years, Cameron’s tone, answers and believability, just as much as Hunt’s ruling, will say much about whether the coalition have the cojones to defy Rupert Murdoch and take on the poison of some of his papers.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

19 Responses to “Political, public and economic screw being turned on NotW”

  1. Michael

    Political, public and economic screw being turned on NotW l Left Foot Forward – http://j.mp/ozqXNT

  2. Tim

    RT @TheRightArticle: Political, public and economic screw being turned on #NotW l Left Foot Forward – http://j.mp/ozqXNT

  3. Kim Blake

    Political, public and economic screw being turned on NotW l Left Foot Forward – http://j.mp/ozqXNT

  4. Hacked off

    RT @leftfootfwd: Political, public and economic screw being turned on #NotW: http://bit.ly/rbipug reports @ShamikDas #RebekahBrooksMustGo

  5. Meg Howarth

    RT @leftfootfwd: Political, public and economic screw being turned on #NotW: http://bit.ly/rbipug reports @ShamikDas #RebekahBrooksMustGo

  6. Anon E Mouse

    I completely agree the listening to and deleting of messages of victims of crime is completely wrong and those wrongdoers need to be charged and punished properly upon conviction with a Labour style length of time in prison as well – not a coalition government 50% discount version.

    That said, I do think the petty Murdoch bashing does Labour activists no favours and whilst many people on radio phone in programmes claim they will boycott the NOTW I just hope all sports fans out there, including the author of this very piece, will immediately cancel their monthly Sky Sports subscriptions and stop watching any Sky TV channel.

    Somehow I feel pigs will fly before that happens and hypocrisy will continue with Labour supporters…

  7. Liz McShane

    Anon – I wouldn’t be too sure, it feels hat big raw nerve has bee touched, & anti NI momentum is building up – just look at the major advertisers who have withdrawn their business from NOTW etc.

    Luckily I have no NI subs/contracts inc Sky….

    Ed had his best PMQs today even Tom Bradby was singing his praises!

    Watch this space!…….

  8. Disgusting, desperate and down-right dirty – NotW. | Catch21 Productions

    […] tactics when questioned with the sacking of the once close Rebekah Brooks; the lady in the NotW Editors firing line hot […]

  9. Anon E Mouse

    Liz McShane – Tell you what I actually agree with you for once!

    Maybe pigs are flying – certainly over at Liberal Conspiracy Sunny seems to be getting traction with a fair few of the advertisers. I like that type thing.

    I even agree Miliband looked OK today (but it was an easy play).

    Anyway it”s all too much for me woman – I need to lie down. Not being right all the time is a new and tiring experience for me ;-}

  10. Leon Wolfson

    I certainly asked my local co-op to pull their advertising after the latest set of revelations! (And they said they’ve had quite a few such requests)

    Honestly, this shouldn’t be a party issue, it’s quite clear Something Is Wrong here and needs investigation. Heck, something smells with the way the police handled this, originally.

    (Anon – cancelling a subscription usually doesn’t get you out of paying for it if you’re in the contract period, so any economic effect via sky will be longer term, since people won’t cut their nose off to spite their face, that’s silly)

  11. Ed's Talking Balls

    True Leon, this isn’t a party political issue. I would imagine that everyone is disgusted by the behaviour of the News of the World. While people might shrug their shoulders when Sienna Miller et al cry foul play (boo hoo…), this is indefensible.

    I hope, given that this shouldn’t be a partisan affair, that MPs don’t turn this into a general revenge mission against Murdoch. This is a time for dispassionate investigation and appropriate action once all the facts are known, not overblown rhetoric and settling old scores.

  12. Leon Wolfson

    It depends what you mean by “settling old scores”. I do think we need tougher rules on media ownership. And, for that matter, to tighten up the impartiality rules at the BBC. (They /are/ left-biased, and I’m quite happy to say I don’t agree with a publically-funded broadcaster being so)

  13. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – My point was about the hypocritical nature of Labour supporters such as the author here who will not cancel his subscription to Sky Sports yet criticises Murdoch at every opportunity…

  14. Ed's Talking Balls

    It’s a welcome change to hear someone on a left-wing blog admit that the BBC is left-leaning. I would have thought that it’s plain for all to see and has been so for years (not comparable to Fox in the USA in the other direction, mind you, but clear enough nonetheless), but some people just refuse to say so.

    And I agree that we should strive for media plurality. Strangleholds aren’t healthy and it’s concerning that politicians across the spectrum seem enthralled by the likes of Rebekah Brooks.

  15. Ed's Talking Balls

    Oh, and as for what I meant about ‘settling old scores’, I simply meant that certain MPs harbour personal animosity towards Murdoch (I’m thinking specifically about Watson and Bryant, and Prescott in the Lords). The important thing is that this whole process is handled correctly and that emotions, however understandable, don’t enter into it.

  16. Leon Wolfson

    Anon – Yes, I’m saying let’s see what their subscriptions do over the next year, because people might chose not to renew, but few are going to cancel and pay for services they’re not receiving.

    Ed – I am by NO means blind to bias! (Also, on foreign police I am SO, SO a Hawk – there’s a reason I don’t comment on those articles here, but I find the BBC’s foreign coverage to be often-obnoxious). I deliberately read a wide range of net sources, from the Socialist Labour Party to some of the saner American Libertarians.

    I agree emotions shouldn’t rule…but that doesn’t mean that people who ordered the interference into police investigations should not have criminal charges brought against them, either.

  17. Ed's Talking Balls

    Agreed (incidentally, I imagine you have to scour the American blogs in order to find one which is sane!)

  18. Leon Wolfson

    Well, kinda-sane. Radley Balko’s “The Agitator”, he was recently hired as a HuffPost writer…

  19. Easyjet News

    Political, public and economic screw being turned on NotW – Left Foot Forward : http://tinyurl.com/6abdtcx

Leave a Reply