Monday, 31 December 2012

LEVESON INQURY

Following the News of the World phone hacking scandal, the Leveson Inquiry quickly took off, investigating whether what's released in the press/internet should be audited and controlled more heavily, to protect the 'victims' who have been hurt and invaded over the past decade, and to help improve control in the future.

The official website shows transcripts of all the hearings, from all victims and speaker, a long with witness statements and videos. The report is available online also. 

Official Website: levesoninquiry
This is the official site of the Leveson Inquiry. It aims to provide the latest information on the Inquiry, including details of hearings and evidence, to the public and interested parties.

Background

The Prime Minister announced a two-part inquiry investigating the role of the press and police in the phone-hacking scandal, on 13 July 2011.
Lord Justice Leveson was appointed as Chairman of the Inquiry.  The first part will examine the culture, practices and ethics of the media. In particular, Lord Justice Leveson will examine the relationship of the press with the public, police and politicians.  He is assisted by a panel of six independent assessors with expertise in key issues being considered by the Inquiry.
The Inquiry has been established under the Inquiries Act 2005 and has the power to summon witnesses.  It is expected that a range of witnesses, including newspaper reporters, management, proprietors, police officers and politicians of all parties will give evidence under oath and in public.
It will make recommendations on the future of press regulation and governance consistent with maintaining freedom of the press and ensuring the highest ethical and professional standards.
Lord Justice Leveson opened the hearings on 14 November 2011, saying: “The press provides an essential check on all aspects of public life. That is why any failure within the media affects all of us. At the heart of this Inquiry, therefore, may be one simple question: who guards the guardians?”
- - - - - 
Source: levesoninquiry

A copy of Lord Justice Leveson’s statement has been published at Remarks by Lord Justice Leveson – 29 November 2012 (pdf, 36KB)
Copies of the report can be pre-ordered from The Stationery Office (TSO) by going via their online shop http://www.tsoshop.co.uk/or calling the Parliamentary customer services hotline on 0845 7023474."

Key Points raised in the video regarding the inquiry and the report, as noted by myself:






Hearings:

Hearings started in Sept 2011, and ran through until July 2012.
Below shows the obscene amount of hearings on a month by month basis.

SEP 11    - 2
OCT        - 3
NOV     - 20
DEC      - 22
JAN 12 - 26
FEB       - 18
MAR     - 30
APR       - 13
MAY      - 32
JUN       - 12
JUL        - 18

In total: 196 hearings over 11 months.

Source: Hearings


Process
The Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press is running in four modules. These are:
  • Module 1: The relationship between the press and the public and looks at phone-hacking and other potentially illegal behaviour.
  • Module 2: The relationships between the press and police and the extent to which that has operated in the public interest.
  • Module 3: The relationship between press and politicians.
  • Module 4: Recommendations for a more effective policy and regulation that supports the integrity and freedom of the press while encouraging the highest ethical standards.


PHONE HACKING SCANDAL - VICTIMS

More than 4,000 people have been identified by police as possible victims of phone hacking at the News of the World (NoW), the now defunct tabloid newspaper owned by News International. Allegations have also been made that journalists from other papers may also have intercepted voicemails and used "blagging" techniques. Forty-six alleged victims of media malpractice have been given "core participant" status, meaning they can be represented by a barrister at the judicial inquiry and will be able to cross-examine witnesses.


- Bob, Sally and Gemma Dowler
- Gerry and Kate McCann
- Christopher Shipman
- Christoper Jefferies
- James and Margret Watson
- J.K. Rowling
- Sienna Miller
- Hugh Grant
- Charlotte Church
- Paul Gascoigne 
- Sheryl Gascoigne
- Max Clifford
- Sky Andrew
- Ulrika Johnson
- Abi Titmuss
- Calum Best
- Max Mosley
- Kieren Fallon
- Lord Prescott
- Tessa Jowell
- David Mills
- Brian Paddick
- Simon Hughes
- Chris Byrant
- Mark Oaten
- Denis MacShane
- Jude Law
- Sadie Frost
- Elle Macpherson, and Mary Ellen-Field
- Ryan Giggs
- Ashley Cole
- Gavin Henson
- Steve Googan
- Chris Tarrant
- Guy Pelly
- Leslie Ash and Lee Chapman
- Kelly Hoppen
- Wayne Rooney
- Paul Burrell
- Peter Crouch and Abbey Clancy
- James Nesbitt
- Emma Noble
- Heather Mills
- Prince of Wales, and the Duchess of Cambridge
- Gordon Taylor
- George Galloway
- Michael Mansfield
- 7/7 Victims Relatives 
- Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman's parents
- Families of those soldiers killed in Iraq/Afghanistan
- Helen Asprey
- Joan Smith
- Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton
- Paddy Harveson
- Joan Hammell
- Jo Armstrong

'Blagging Victims' 

- Gordon Brown (Former Prime Minister)
"Has accused the Sunday Times of gaining access to his personal bank and legal files when he was chancellor by using so-called "blagging" techniques. Also says he does not know how the Sun obtained access to medical records relating to his son Fraser's cystic fibrosis in 2006. The Sun maintains this was not obtained by illegal means."

Source: bbc

From the above victims, I decided to focus on several stories which can be further researched into, to show the claims which have been filled. 

JK Rowling tells Leveson inquiry of press intrusion


J.K. Rowling along with Sienna Miller and Max Mosley, stood up in court on the 24th November 2011, to speak about their invasion of privacy in relation to the Leveson Inquiry. The author claims that eager journalists invaded her privacy, whilst slipping a letter addressed to her, into her 5 year olds school bag. Due to her huge global success, it has always been her intention to keep her children out of the public eye, and states "They (children) have no choice over who their parents are or how their parents behave... A child, no matter who their parents are, deserves privacy. Where children are concerned the issue is fairly black and white."
Not only invading her daughters privacy, the investigator abused the privacy of the school she attends, and added, "I felt such a sense of invasion that my daughter's bag.. it's very difficult to say how angry I felt that my five-year-old daughter's school was no longer a place of complete security from journalists." 
There was also photos published of her 8 year old daughter in a swimsuit on holiday in OK! Magazine. J.K.Rowling expressed her opinion on the matter, stating, "I feel that given fact that an image has a life that cannot be recalled... I'm sure it is still out there, that's the particular harm of an image."
The Daily Express had published a story claiming that a Harry Potter character was based on her ex-husband, which caused an uproar at home. 
She later revealed she had been 'blagged', which is where someone unknowingly reveals personal information, and claimed paparazzi had been camping outside her house. 
This occurred when she moved house and had received a phone call from someone posing to be the post office asking for a confirmation of address, and her husband was also blagged by a journalist claiming to be from the tax office, to which he gave out his address, tax code, pay grades and national insurance number, allowing them to gain access to vital information which should've been kept strictly private.
She stated her phone had not been hacked, but her invasion of privacy regarding her children and her personal life had been invaded, which is rightly so.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

PHONE HACKING SCANDAL - WHO WAS INVOLVED?

Phone hacking: The main players

Allegations of phone hacking at the News of the World thrust the newspaper's owners, News Corporation, its UK arm, News International, and its journalists directly into the spotlight. The Met Police have identified more than 4,000 possible victims. A separate Scotland Yard investigation is also looking into claims of inappropriate payments made to police. Here are the key players in the unfolding scandal.
Source: bbc
Rupert Murdoch - Chief Executive, News Corporation

The News of the World (NoW) was part of Rupert Murdoch's News International newspaper group - the UK arm of the media mogul's News Corporation global empire. During questioning by MPs, he said he was not aware of the extent of phone hacking at the NoW and he had "clearly" been misled by some of his staff. At the Leveson Inquiry into media standards, Mr Murdoch said there had been a "cover-up" of phone hacking at the News of the World that had been kept hidden from senior executives including him.
A committee of MPs said Rupert Murdoch was "not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company" and that he exhibited "wilful blindness" to what was going on in his media empire.
But the culture committee, reporting in May 2012, was split with Tory members refusing to endorse the report.

Source: tvtropes
"The Dirty Digger"; Rupert Murdoch

Rebekah Brooks - Former Chief Executive, News International
Charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

News International's former chief executive and former NoW editor.
Mrs Brooks and her husband, Charlie Brooks, were among six people charged - in May 2012 - with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
She faces three charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and a further three charges of conspiracy to unlawfully intercept communications.
Mrs Brooks has denied any wrongdoing.
Questioned by MPs in 2011, she said News International had acted "quickly and decisively" in dealing with the hacking scandal and that she had never sanctioned payments to the police.

Source: mediaweek
Brooks received a payoff of £10m compensation for loss of her job. 

Andy Coulson - NoW Editor 2003-2007
Charged with conspiring to intercept communications.

Andy Coulson, who was NoW editor between 2003 and 2007, resigned from his position following the convictions of ex-NoW royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire for phone hacking.
He later became Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman but quit in January 2011, saying hacking claims were distracting him from his job.
Mr Coulson was arrested in July 2011 over phone-hacking and corruption allegations and in July 2012 was charged on five counts of conspiracy to unlawfully intercept communications.
He is suing NoW after it stopped paying his legal fees in relation to the scandal.

Glenn Mulcaire - Private Investigator
Charged with conspiring to intercept communications

A private investigator employed by the NoW, Glenn Mulcaire, 41, was jailed in January 2007 for phone hacking. He admitted unlawfully intercepting voicemail messages received by three royal aides. He was also convicted of hacking the phones of a number of other public figures, including publicist Max Clifford and actress Elle Macpherson.
Rearrested on suspicion of conspiracy to hack voicemail messages and perverting the course of justice in December 2011, he faces four charges of conspiracy to unlawfully intercept communications.

Ian Edmondson - Ex-NoW News Editor
Charged with conspiring to intercept communications

The former NoW assistant editor was arrested in April 2011 and in July 2012 was charged with 12 counts of conspiracy to unlawfully intercept communications.
He is lodging a complaint with an employment tribunal against News International, alleging unfair dismissal.

Neville Thurlbeck - Ex-NoW Chief Reporter
Charged with conspiring to intercept communications.

Neville Thurlbeck, former chief reporter at the NoW, was not included as part of the original inquiry as police said there was no evidence linking him to the case.
He was arrested in April 2011 and in July 2012 was charged with eight counts of conspiracy to unlawfully intercept communications.
He is lodging a complaint with an employment tribunal against News International, alleging unfair dismissal.

James Weatherup - Ex-NoW Reporter
Charged with conspiring to intercept communications.

The former NoW reporter and news editor was arrested on 14 April 2011 and in July 2012 was charged with eight counts of conspiracy to unlawfully intercept communications.

Stuart Kutter - Former NoW Managing Director
Charged with conspiring to intercept communications


Stuart Kuttner served as the NoW's managing editor for 22 years before resigning in July 2009 to focus on "specialised projects", including the paper's Sarah's Law campaign.
In July 2012, Mr Kuttner was charged with three counts of conspiracy to unlawfully intercept communications. He was released on bail.

Greg Miskiw - Former NoW News Editor
Charged with conspiring to intercept communications


Greg Miskiw, 61, was arrested after visiting a police station by appointment.
In July 2012, Mr Miskiw was charged with 10 counts of conspiracy to unlawfully intercept communications. He was released on bail.

James Murdoch - Deputy Chief Operating Officer, News Corporation

Rupert Murdoch's son, James, resigned as News International's chairman in February 2012 and from his role as chairman of UK broadcaster BSkyB in April 2012 but remains deputy chief operating officer of News Corp. He has said he was not, until recently, in the picture about the full extent of wrongdoing at the NoW. Announcing the closure of the Sunday tabloid, he said the allegations were "shocking and hugely regrettable".
He told MPs the firm had failed to live up to "the standards they aspired to". He was recalled to appear before MPs. He told the culture committee he had not seen an email which suggested hacking was more widespread at the paper than previously acknowledged.
The culture committee's report concluded Mr Murdoch was "consistent" in relation to the email, but had demonstrated "wilful ignorance" about what had been going on, which "clearly raises questions of competence" on his part.
The committee said he had shown an "astonishing lack of curiosity" for not reading emails sent to him in 2008. It said News Corporation showed "wilful blindness", for which James Murdoch should be prepared to take responsibility. But Tory committee member Louise Mensch said Conservative members were divided on the "degree of culpability of James Murdoch in particular".
Mr Murdoch also told the Leveson inquiry he never saw the email showing hacking was widespread. But it was his evidence about News Corp's bid for BSkyB that caused the most furore. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt faced calls to resign after it was revealed his special adviser was in contact with News Corp during its bid for BSkyB.

Source: guardian

Les Hinton - Former Chief Executive, Dow Jones
Resigned

Les Hinton was chief executive of News Corp's financial news service Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, as well as executive chairman of News International. One of Rupert Murdoch's top executives, Mr Hinton had worked with him for more than five decades. Announcing he was quitting, he said he was "ignorant of what apparently happened" but felt it was proper to resign. Mr Murdoch said it brought him "great sadness".
The culture committee said in its report on phone-hacking in May 2012 that Les Hinton misled the Committee in 2009 in not telling the truth about payments to Clive Goodman and his role in authorising them, including the payment of his legal fee.
He also misled the committee about the extent of his knowledge of allegations that phone-hacking extended beyond Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire to others at the News of the World, the report said.

Clive Goodman - Ex-NoW Royal Editor 
Jailed and rearrested

The former NoW royal editor was jailed for four months in 2007 for phone hacking. He admitted unlawfully intercepting hundreds of telephone voicemail messages received by three members of staff at Buckingham Palace. The investigation was sparked after Prince William became suspicious about a November 2005 NoW story about a knee injury. In July 2011, Goodman, 53, was again arrested, on suspicion of corruption. He was released on bail.

Tom Crone - Former NoW Legal Manager

Tom Crone told MPs he had informed James Murdoch as far back as 2008 of an email that implied hacking at the paper went beyond one rogue reporter - contrary to Mr Murdoch's earlier evidence. James Murdoch has said he stands by his original testimony to MPs.
The culture committee, reporting in May 2012, said Mr Crone and Colin Myler, former NoW editor, had misled the committee including about their knowledge of evidence that other NoW employees had been involved in phone-hacking and other wrongdoing.
After Rupert Murdoch told the Leveson Inquiry staff at the NoW kept him in the dark by covering up the phone-hacking scandal, Mr Crone accused Mr Murdoch of telling a "shameful lie".
In August 2012 Mr Crone was arrested in south-west London by police investigating phone hacking. He was held on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications contrary to Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

Colin Myler - Former News of the World Editor

Former News of the World editor Colin Myler, now editor-in-chief of the New York Daily News, was criticised by a group of MPs examining phone hacking. The culture committee said he had misled the committee by answering questions falsely about his knowledge of evidence that other News of the World employees had been involved in phone-hacking and other wrongdoing. But Mr Myler stood by the evidence to MPs saying he had always "sought to be accurate and consistent".
The report also suggests Mr Myler and the others were used as scapegoats, to some extent, by senior management.
When Rupert Murdoch told the Leveson Inquiry that a "cover-up" at the News of the World had been kept hidden from him, he said Mr Myler was among those who had failed to report back to him.
Mr Myler, who became editor in 2007, told the inquiry in 2011 that he had accepted phone hacking must have been limited because police had not shown otherwise. But he said then he feared "bombs under the newsroom floor" in terms of possible widespread wrongdoing in the past.

RUPERT MURDOCH - FURTHER RESEARCH

After I had looked into Rupert Murdoch's background and his assets, such as News Corporation, it became apparent that their are many possible research topics which I could turn into a deliverable presentation. These are listed below:

- 2012 BBC Panorama Report on News Corp's subsidiary News Datacom Systems (NDS).
- Profits/Losses with Advertising
- Family and their assets
- Murdoch spitting News Corp into 2 major companies
- In 2011, Murdoch withdrew from the bid to own the remaining 61% of shares for BskyB, after pressure from the conservative and labour parties.
- July 2011, the News of the World phone hacking scandal came to light, with allegations that News Corp were hacking into Prime Minister's and Royals' personal legal documents, bank details and voicemails, etc, along with many other victims and issues being re-raised. 

Of the possible research topics, I would have more scope for a presentation researching the phone hacking scandal, allowing me to also watch documentaries and access interviews, and statistics, whilst carrying out primary research.

Source: ivn.us
News Corp headquarters in New York City, USA.

Source: guardian
After 168 years News of the World releases it's last issue of the newspaper, due to advertisers boycotting the paper, staff being dismissed and imprisoned, as well as global negative press relating to the phone hacking scandals.

I started out focusing on the initial topic, gaining a fresh interpretation of the story through re-reading articles and documents stating the story.

"The News International Phone-Hacking Scandal" is also referred to "Hackgate", "Rupertgate" or "Murdochgate" and refers to the ongoing news story relating to the controversy involving News of the World and other UK Newspapers which are published by a subsidiary of News Corporation - News International. 

Some employees who were said to be involved with the scandal have been accused of various issues such as phone hacking, bribing the police and "improper influence" when it comes to publishing stories in their newspapers.

The story was set aside after the scandals which came to light within 2005-2007 when hacking was soley based on celebrities, the Royal family and politicians, which may be to do with his heavy views on politics. However in July 2011, Milly Dowler's phone was accessed, a schoolgirl who was murdered, as well as hacking phones and details of British soliders who had passed away, and victims of the 7/7 bombings in London. When these issues were arose last year, the News of the World came to light, it's employees were spoken too and the newspaper is no longer, with added boycotts from major advertisers contributing to the break down. However this shows the power of a global corporation which is as large, and as powerful as Murdoch's media empire which he has built. Such negative press from the public, media and the government forced News Corp to back out of taking over BskyB, resulting in them not having total control of the TV network.

The shocking news came to light, Prime Minister at the time, David Cameron announced publicly on the 6th July 2011 that a new investigation would be taking place, focusing on phone hacking and police bribery, whilst looking into the changing ethics and media of British newspapers and general publishing industry.

Many senior staff members were dismissed from the company or resigned, whilst Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch, gave evidence before the Leveson Inquiry - a public investigation looking into the ethics of media and newspapers. A final 2000 page report was filed in November 2011.

News spread of the scandal to the US, and since the FBI have set out to see if News Corporation had access to voicemail messages of the victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York City. They have violated many laws and policies by being to fraudulent in recent years, and reaching new depths to gain information for stories, which would capture the public's and the media's attention. Due to the depth of the hacking scandals, Murdoch as CEO, was forced to admit he used a cover-up in previous years to hide the wealth of hacking which had been taking place. Files have been placed documenting that he was unfit to run a global corporation, and was fully aware of what his companies had been up to with their illegalities.

Sources: Leveson InquiryNews CorporationNews of the World phone hacking scandal

Where did it all start?

By 2002, the practice of publications using private investigators to acquire confidential information was widespread. Some individuals used illegal methods to accomplish this.Victims of illegal phone hacking included celebrities, politicians, law enforcement officials, solicitors, and ordinary citizens.
The Metropolitan Police conducted several investigations between 1999 and 2011. The first two investigations were known as Operation Nigeria (1999) and Operation Glade (2003). They involved phone taps and seizure of records that successfully gathered large quantities of evidence that confidential information was being acquired illegally, sometimes with the help of public officials, including policemen. Thirty publications were found to have purchased confidential information, including News International papers The SunThe Sunday Times, and News of the World.
From the 1990s, private investigator Jonathan Rees reportedly bought information from former and serving police officers, Customs officers, a VAT inspector, bank employees, burglars, and from blaggers who would telephone the Inland Revenue, the DVLA, banks and phone companies, deceiving them into providing confidential information. He then sold that information to News of the World, the Daily MirrorSunday Mirror and the Sunday TimesNews of the World alone paid Rees more than £150,000 a year.[7]
Rees was also suspected in the murder of his former partner, and the Met's anti-corruption squad CIB3 initiated Operation Nigeria. It involved tapping Rees' phone to obtain evidence about the murder and about whether confidential information was being acquired illegally by police and/or reporters. Recorded telephone conversations revealed that Alex Marunchak of News of the World was a regular customer of the agency. It was determined that Rees was purchasing information from improper sources, but no evidence became public that Marunchak or other journalists had committed criminal offences or that they were aware of how Rees acquired the information. The bugging operation ended when it was determined that Rees was planning to plant drugs on a woman so that her husband, Rees' client, could win custody of their child. Rees and others whose voices were recorded during Operation Nigeria (including Austin Warnes, Duncan Hanrahan, Martin King, Tom Kingston, Sid Fillery) were successfully prosecuted and sentenced to jail for various offenses unrelated to illegal acquisition of confidential information.
Rees served five years in prison. In 2005, he resumed his private investigative work for News of the World, where Andy Coulson had become editor, succeeding Rebekah Brooks as editor in 2003 when she became editor to sister paper The Sun. Brooks had beenNews of the World editor since May 2000, during which time, it later emerged, the tabloid accessed the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. Later in 2003, Brooks and Coulson appeared before a parliamentary committee, where Brooks admitted to paying police for information.
In August 2006, Clive Goodman, royal editor at the News of the World, and his associate Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator, were arrested over allegations of phone hacking made by the British Royal Family in 2005. Goodman and Mulcaire were subsequently charged; they pleaded guilty and were imprisoned on 26 January 2007, for four and six months, respectively. 
After Goodman and Mulcaire pleaded guilty, a breach of privacy claim was started by Gordon Taylor, Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers Association who was represented by his solicitor Mark Lewis. That claim settled for a payment of £700,000 including legal costs. James Murdoch agreed with the settlement.[12]
In 2009, and 2010, further revelations emerged regarding the extent of the phone hacking and the number of News of the World employees who may have been aware of the practices. By March 2010, the paper had spent over £2 million settling court cases with victims of phone hacking. In July 2009, The Guardian made a series of allegations of wider phone hacking activities at the News of the World newspaper, that were aimed at other individuals, including television presenter Chris Tarrant.
This led to several prominent figures who were covertly snooped upon bringing legal action against the News of the World's owner and Mulcaire. Amongst those who began legal action were Tarrant, football agent Sky Andrew, actors Sienna Miller and Steve Coogan, and sports presenter Andy Gray.
2005-2006, Royal Phone Hacking Scandal
On 13 November 2005, News of the World published an article written by royal editor Clive Goodman, claiming that Prince William was in the process of borrowing a portable editing suite from ITV royal correspondent Tom Bradby. Following the publication, the Prince and Bradby met to try to figure out how the details of their arrangement had been leaked, as only two other people were aware of it. 
After some discussion, the Prince and Bradby concluded it was likely that their voicemails were being accessed. Prince William noted that another equally improbable leak had recently taken place regarding an appointment he had made with a knee surgeon.
The Metropolitan Police set up an investigation under Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, who managed the Counter Terrorism Command.
Clarke's investigation team searched the London office of the News of the World, eventually concluding that the compromised voice mail accounts belonged to Prince William's aides, including Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton,[19] and not the Prince himself.
In August 2006, the News of the World's royal editor, Clive Goodman and a private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, were arrested by the Metropolitan Police, and later charged with hacking the telephones of members of the royal family by accessing voicemail messages, an offence under section 79 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
News of the World had paid Mulcaire £104,988 for his services, on top of which Goodman had additionally paid Mulcaire £12,300 in cash between 9 November 2005, and 7 August 2006, hiding Mulcaire's identity by using the code name Alexander on his expenses sheet.
The court heard that Mulcaire had also hacked into the messages of: supermodel Elle Macpherson; publicist Max Clifford; MP Simon Hughes; football agent Sky Andrew; and the Professional Footballers' Association's Gordon Taylor.On 26 January 2007, both Goodman and Mulcaire pleaded guilty to the charges and were sentenced to four and six months imprisonment respectively. On the same day, it was announced that Andy Coulson had resigned as editor of the News of the World.