Sunday, 10 July 2011

Phone hacking

So much has been said and written about the proprietary of newspapers it's difficult to avoid repetition and contribute little.

There seems to be battle lines being drawn albeit subtly. The newspaper industry suggesting the News of the World was a great investigative paper.

This may true in it's salacious assault on immorality and sensationalism of crime but both rather ironic now reflecting a shallowness of righteousness and a rather more commercial reason de'tra.

Politicians of all shades have bedfellowed Rupert and Co, partly as part of the democratic process but more recently in the age of neo-liberalism and multi-national corporations as a bed over backwards usurping voter opinion. It's not just the media.

The reality is most people think the News of the World is a salubrious title of little merit outside crass enjoyment. I suspect most readers cast doubt even on the accuracy of its journalism. I must confess I bought it because tabloids have good sports coverage.

With the terms of reference of a newspaper/media inquiry widening now is the time to ask whether a magazine that prints little news but plenty of bums, tits and chests is a newspaper? Let alone a good newspaper.

If it hasn't served our national interest then what is our national interest. Where are the lines? No-one acted back in 2002 when Mrs Brooks told a Commons Committee she knew The Police had been paid. Remarkably it was Mr Coulson the man at the centre of it at the moment who jumped in to deny that occurred.

People don't want restrictions on newspaper reporting in my view. They do want easier, and cheaper access to litigious justice with stiff penalties and commensurate plus apologies. Front page defamation should be reflected by an equal or greater sized apology.

I believe it is time to question the morality of the media. A clear separation of news and tittle tattle. A question of whether we tax the latter and give tax breaks to the former and in return the former will accept a code of conduct not just on morality and criminality, but like TV News legislated to provide a balanced approach and that there is responsibility not only in editorial but in presentation, typography and advertisements.

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