The state of journalism in 2016.
And we make fun of the Americans, and tut and say "it could never happen here" about the likes of Turkey. Politics only gets stranger.
Above all we must have genuine independence in news media. …independence is characterised by the absence of the apparatus of supervision and dependency. Independence of faction, industrial or political. Independence of subsidy, gift and patronage.
"... There was, however, one bit of evidence he [Nick Davies, at the Graun's appearance before the Culture committee last week] omitted. A file seized by the Information Committee from private investigator Steve Whittamore in 2003, which was later obtained by lawyers for Professional Footballers' Association boss Gordon Taylor, included a personal request for Whittamore to trace someone's address via his phone number. The request came from Rebekah Wade when she was editor of the News of the Screws.
Davies was asked to keep quiet about this by the man who accompanied him to the committee hearing, Grauniad editor Alan Rusbridger, who feared that the skirmishes between the Grauniad and News International would turn into all-out war if there were any mention of the flame-haired weirdo who has now become NI's chief executive.
This may also be why the Guardian has yet to reveal that the secret payment of £700,000 in damages and costs to buy the silence of Gordon Taylor was not a mere executive order. It was decided by the directors of News Group Newspapers Ltd, the NI subsidary which owns the Sun and the Screws, at their board meeting on 10 June last year. If their involvement were revealed, it could cause grave embarrassment for the directors of News Group Newspapers Ltd - not least one James Murdoch."
So let us be clear. Neither the police, nor our own internal investigations, has found any evidence to support allegations that News of the World journalists have accessed voicemails of any individuals.
Nor instructed private investigators or other third parties to access voicemails of any individual.
Nor found that there was any systemic corporate illegality by any executive to suppress evidence to the contrary.
Apart from matters raised in the Mulcaire and Goodman proceedings, the only other evidence connecting News of the World reporters to information gained as a result of accessing a person's voicemail emerged in April 2008, during the course of the Gordon Taylor litigation. Neither this information nor any story arising from it was ever published. Once senior executives became aware of this, immediate steps were taken to resolve Mr Taylor's complaint.
From our own investigation, but more importantly that of the police, we can state with confidence that, apart from the matters referred to above, there is not and never has been evidence to support allegations that:
- News of the World journalists have accessed the voicemails of any individual.
- News of the World or its journalists have instructed private investigators or other third parties to access the voicemails of any individuals.
- There was systemic corporate illegality by News International to suppress evidence.
It goes without saying that had the police uncovered such evidence, charges would have been brought against other News of the World personnel. Not only have there been no such charges, but the police have not considered it necessary to arrest or question any other member of News of the World staff.
Based on the above, we can state categorically in relation to the following allegations which have been made primarily by the Guardian and widely reported as fact by Sky News, BBC, ITN and others this week:
- It is untrue that officers found evidence of News Group staff, either themselves or using private investigators, hacking into "thousands" of mobile phones.
- It is untrue that apart from Goodman, officers found evidence that other members of News Group staff hacked into mobile phones or accessed individuals' voicemails.
- It is untrue that there is evidence that News Group reporters, or indeed anyone, hacked into the telephone voicemails of John Prescott.
- It is untrue that “Murdoch journalists” used private investigators to illegally hack into the mobile phone messages of numerous public figures to gain unlawful access to confidential personal data, including: tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemised phone bills.
- It is untrue that News Group reporters have hacked into telephone voicemail services of various footballers, politicians and celebrities named in reports this week.
- It is untrue that News of the World executives knowingly sanctioned payment for illegal phone intercepts.
The report concerned the activities of a private investigator who, between April 2001 and March 2003, supplied information to 32 newspapers and magazines including, incidentally, the Guardian's sister newspaper, The Observer, which according to the Information Commissioner was ninth worst "offender" out of the 32. The information supplied was deemed to be in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998.
Since February 2007, News International has continued to work with its journalists and its industry partners to ensure that its journalists fully comply with both the relevant legislation and the rigorous requirements of the PCC’s Code of Conduct.
Finally, we would like to make it clear that despite the Guardian suggesting otherwise, the departure of Managing Editor Stuart Kuttner has no connection whatsoever with the events referred to above. The Guardian were informed of this position from the outset and chose to mislead the British public.
Labels: abuses by tabloids, Andy Coulson, celebrities, Clive Goodman, dark arts, databases, Flat Earth News, Glenn Mulcaire, journalism, News International, Nick Davies, Stephen Whittamore, the fourth estate