The News of the World is closing down (hooray?)
It looks to me like an attempt to provide a sop to the masses, to remove a tainted brand. But there are several reasons why this should not be the end of the story.
Firstly, there are people who were involved and knew (or should have known if they were anywhere near competent) who are still working in News International and at other places.
Secondly it’s more than just listening to voicemails now. It seems to involve the systematic corruption of police officers, first to obtain information to assist in hacking, and secondly to help cover up the extent of the problem. It involves a company trying to bury the truth and pretending that they know nothing, while threatening and bullying real investigative journalists and politicians or anyone else who questions them. It involves a regulator, a police force and parliamentary committees and senior politicians content to accept ‘assurances’ even as evidence mounts up and becomes more and more clear.
Thirdly, News of the World and News International are far from the only ones to have been suspected of illegal story-gathering. The private investigators that the NotW use and the Sun use are often the same ones that other newspapers use. Journalists move around from paper to paper on the backs of their reputations – which are based on their ‘scoops’ as much as anything. I can’t believe that there won’t be other tabloids dragged in. The Sun is a definite candidate, as are the Mail, the Mirror, the Express and the Star.
Fourthly, this leads to major questions about the suitability of those connected to News International to run any media outlet, let alone one as influential and market-dominating as BSkyB
Fifthly, while Cameron can’t be blamed any more than any other politician for sucking up to the press and the Murdoch press in particular, and while he may be able to claim he didn’t know what was going on when he first hired Coulson in 2007, after 2009 there were many more things coming out and there are claims that after the 2010 General Election specific issues were raised with Cameron concerning Coulson and illegal acts and the PM still appointed him to a position at No10 – paid for by the tax-payer.
I never bought the News of the World, and so cannot do more than I usually do to boycott it this weekend. I hope as many people as possible leave it alone. Rather than buy it so some money goes to ‘good causes’ we should leave it to rot and give a bit to a charity this weekend.
And then seriously consider whether we want to encourage the other tabloids ever again by buying them when they continue to lead with splashes about the private lives of minor celebrities, or the minutiae of horrific crimes.