News of the World, ‘the world’s most popular newspaper’ is no more. Unless you have been residing in a small cave in Afghanistan, you should have heard about the phone hacking scandal and appreciated some of the massive implications of the story…
Well, I suppose being on holiday is a quite a good excuse for missing out on this massive media news story, so here is a brief overview of the key issues:
1. The News of the World was the Sunday edition of Britain’s most read paper, The Sun (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/)
2. The News of the World was owned by News Corporation; http://www.newscorp.com
3. News Corporation have stopped printing the News of the Word and now publish the Sun on Sunday instead.
4. News Corporation owns majority shares in BSKYB, The Times, FOX, Harper Collins and many more global media institutions; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_Corporation; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14030051
5. Rupert Murdoch is the CEO of News Corporation; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdoch
6. News Corp want to purchase the remaining 61%of BSKYB shares they don’t own. Yet, the government has been deciding on whether or not they should be allowed to as this might mean News Corp have too much power in the British media market. Of course, due to the illegal activities of the NOTW it seems likely that the government will block the bid. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyyoung/100096602/will-todays-house-of-commons-vote-put-an-end-to-news-corps-bskyb-bid-im-not-so-sure/
7. So what is all the fuss about? Basically, after years of rumours about the tactics used by the News of The World, there is finally overwhelming evidence that the newspaper has been using illegal techniques to obtain information – they have hacked phones, paid policemen to source police records…and what’s more they have not only targeted the rich politicians and celebrities, they have hacked victims of crimes such as the murdered schoolgirl, Millie Dowler’s phone – http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jul/04/milly-dowler-voicemail-hacked-news-of-world This gross invasion of privacy has particularly outraged the public.
8. Thus the Press Complaints Commission has failed to regulate the NOW – therefore, a big question is how the press should now be regulated – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/08/press-regulation-press-complaints-commission?intcmp=239
9. Further intrigue – The former NOW editor, Andy Coulson (who has now been arrested over the phone hacking scandal) was appointed by David Cameron as his chief ‘Spin Doctor’ – so the British PM has been embarassed by this scandal too – why did he appoint such a controversial figure? How much did he know about the NOW illegal tactics? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11204150
10. A global issue – Because News Corp own media institutions in the U.S and Australia, the phone hacking scandal might extend beyond the UK – http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/13/phone-hacking-reaches-us
11. News Corp are desperately trying to restore their credibility – http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/ but it’s share price has taken a hit http://www.google.co.uk/finance?client=ob&q=LON:NWS
12. You may have noticed the amount of coverage the Guardian is giving this story – it is not surprising as the newspaper has a left wing agenda aimed at tackling powers such as News Corp – the newspaper has published many stories about the NOW’s corruption since 2005. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/interactive/2011/jul/09/phone-hacking-timeline
This is only a brief overview but hopefully you can appreciate the gravity of this issue. Try to read as much as you can and apply it to media debates such as ownership, press control, hegemony etc.