Monday, October 04, 2010

Channel 4 Dispatches: Metgate/Coulson affair action

The excellent Chanel 4 documentary Tabloids, Tories and Telephone Hacking on the Coulson/MetGate affair has just gone out. You can see it here. 

As a matter of interest, our screen froze and we lost sound at an interesting point. The same thing happened in 2 other areas of the country, according to Tweets. Reviewing it, I believe it was just as Peter Oborne was summarising his case. At the point sound was lost, (09:26 into the above linked video) Oborne was saying, (paraphrased):

"The idea that this was a single rogue reporter is risible. This story is not just about newspaper ethics, but concerns the relation between media and police, and the influence of Rupert Murdoch's News International at the heart of Government."

On re-watching the film today, I think it may have frozen at 05:09, when Oborne was giving a precis of the film's argument, expressing it as 

"Above all, what does this tell us about the power wielded by News of the world's owner, Rupert Murdoch?

The film caused a storm of feeling among those who watched it - anger, despair and depression. 
We need to convert these emotions into action.

Here is a start point: why not write to your MP and local paper on one or all of the action points below.

This resolution was passed unanimously at the last Green Party Conference in Birmingham Sept 10-13th.

1.    Conference notes that the scandal arising from illegal surveillance of public figures by the News of the World raises many important questions relating to democracy in the UK. It is emerging that the tabloid press frequently indulge in illegality. The influence of Rupert Murdoch's News International empire is excessive, and its relations with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), who appear to have failed to conduct the News of the World investigation with due diligence, is questionable.

Conference resolves that the Green Party, through its elected members and its press activity, should call for :
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 MPS
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.

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