The BBC is, and Always Has Been, Part of the Problem By Tom Mills

3 October 2011 — New Left Project

Activists and scholars campaigning for a more democratic and humane media face a daunting task.  Outnumbered and outgunned by corporate lawyers and lobbyists, we must of course use our limited time and resources wisely and pick our fights carefully.  Mindful of this reality, I have great sympathy with Des Freedman’s argument that to allow the ‘BBC question’ to enter into the debates around Leveson will simply play into the hands of the commercial media.  But this is a tactical question which should not distract from the simple reality that the BBC is part of the problem and one which we are going to have confront if we are to succeed in our broader goals. 

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Media: The Leveson Inquiry: Should We Care? By Des Freedman

2 September 2011 — New Left Project

I have written elsewhere that the aftermath of the phone hacking scandal and the establishment of the Leveson Inquiry, ‘is a hugely significant moment both for the British media and for British democracy’ and that ‘the spell of media power is facing its most serious challenge to date’. Given that official inquiries rarely generate genuinely radical proposals and we have seen no evidence that press proprietors and media executives are willing to give up their privileged positions, was this simply wishful thinking? The evidence, I would suggest, is mixed.

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Interrogating Contemporary News: Asking the Right Questions By Natalie Fenton

14 September 2011 — New Left Project

The Leveson inquiry has been launched to investigate phone hacking and the culture, practices and ethics of the press; there is a Lords Select Committee on the future of investigative journalism; a joint Select Committee on privacy and injunctions; all of which will feed into a Communications Review leading up to the New Communications Act in 2013 and bring with them unprecedented opportunities to interrogate contemporary news. So what questions should we be asking?

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Murdoch Press and the Fictional Jewish Chocolatier By Samah Sabawi

26 August 2011 — Palestine Chronicle

The Murdoch press in its zeal to attack the Palestinian Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign has misrepresented facts and even ran an entire article quoting a fictional character that simply does not exist. The invention of Max Brenner the Jewish chocolatier demonstrated the lack of integrity and journalistic ethics employed within the Murdoch press’s campaign against the pro-Palestinian advocacy groups who have called for a boycott of the Israeli owned Max Brenner chocolate franchise.

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New moves by British parliament to shield the Murdochs By Robert Stephens

30 July 2011 — WSWS

On Friday, members of Parliament’s Commons Culture Select Committee voted against recalling News Corporation Chairman James Murdoch to give more evidence on phone hacking and police corruption. Labour MP Tom Watson had called on Murdoch, the son of international media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and two ex-News of the World executives, former editor Colin Myler and the newspaper’s ex-legal manager Tom Crone, to appear.

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The Israel Lobby’s Power Comes From the American Ruling Class

30 July 2011 — Al Jazeera

“Prince Walid bin Talal bin Abdelaziz Al-Saud, the second biggest shareholder in News Corporation after Murdoch, recently gave an interview, on his yacht, to the BBC flagship programme Newsnight. The Saudi prince declared himself “a good friend” of Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch (probably the next executive to be charged by the police in the scandal). He defended both men briskly, but in doing so drew attention to the fact that he is the second biggest shareholder in the Murdoch empire, and that the Murdochs were major shareholders in his own Rotana media empire in the Middle East. An unholy alliance, surely? Mr Murdoch is the co-owner, with Prince Walid, of Fox News – one of the most virulently anti-Muslim television stations in the world. The station gives a megaphone to the likes of Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and Sarah Palin. In the US, Fox’s role was to throw gallons of petrol on the flames Islamophobia which were leading to the burning of the Holy Quran by vigilantes.” Read the full article here

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Unauthorised tapping into or hacking of mobile communications

19 July 2011

An interesting document and worth plowing through.

From the document’s introduction:

1. In 2005-06, the Metropolitan Police investigated claims that a private investigator, Mr Glenn Mulcaire, had been employed by News International to hack into the Voicemail accounts of certain prominent people, including members of the Royal Household in November 2005, in particular to obtain information on them. This case led to the prosecution and subsequent imprisonment of Mr Mulcaire and Mr Clive Goodman, the royal correspondent for the News of the World. The charges brought against Messrs Mulcaire and Goodman cited a limited number of people whose phones were alleged to have been hacked. However, papers taken from Mr Mulcaire in the course of the investigation indicated that journalists —not necessarily all from the same newspaper — had asked him to obtain information on a number of other people: it was not always clear who the subjects of the inquiries were (a number were identified only by initials or a forename), nor whether the request involved hacking or some other means of obtaining information.

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