Home > Uncategorized > Post Two – The Phone Hacking Scandal.

Post Two – The Phone Hacking Scandal.

On the 10th of July 2011, The News of the World (NoW) ceased publication of its national tabloid pages. With over 4000 victims, journalists of NoW caused one of the biggest scandals in the landscape of media today; the phone hacking scandal. Not only does this scandal confirm how far journalists will go for a ‘good’ story, it asks the questions about media ownership, the police, press regulations and most importantly the relationship between politicians and journalists. Is our privacy safe in this media saturated world and how much power does old media co operations  like NoW have on our lives?

Through impeding phone calls and voice mails NoW created stories on people’s lives. In 2005, a report by Clive Goodman on Prince William spraining his knee  led to the trigger of a chain of events, that would not only end the life of the 168 year old news paper, but would change the codes and conventions of journalism forever.  It was then established that the articles had originated from Prince Williams voicemails. A police enquiry was started in 2006, resulting in Clive Goodman being arrested and jailed along with co-conspirer Glen Mulcaire for 6 months.

After months of allegations against various journalists within News of the World, Rebekah Brooks, Rupert and James Murdoch were now heavily in the lime light: with the government leading an inquest into NoW, looking into illegal activity that encroached on people’s private rights. The Guardian then uncovered in July that Milly Dowler’s phone was hacked when Brooks was editor. When her phone was being hacked, the Dowler’s were lead to believe she was still alive; this shocking act was among many that NoW had caused, it all ended with several arrests including Brooks. With  Murdoch’s empire becoming more fragile , with his bid for BSkyB failing   and the loss of  NoW ,  it changed the dynamics of journalism and created questions of why this was happening unnoticed for so many years.

With many hidden reports erupting about the NoW’s power to develop stories out of hacking into voicemails, it proves how much old media co-operations can control society and the sheer power they hold. Murdoch is the second largest media conglomerate in the world, being the founder of News Corporation and owning various different companies and newspapers, he immensely dominates the Media landscape today. His presence with old media within society has a huge effect on government, and his influence is greatly sought after by political parties.

Most crucially, the phone hacking scandal was kept under wraps for a very long time, and alot of the investigations into it were uncovered by journalists, not the government. It hints that Murdoch, who is profoundly part of old media, may have more control than people think. Even though the government may bring in some regulations into the media and journalism, it will be limited due to the fact that it is the private sector. Even though the rise of new media is producing more diverse and interesting ways to consume the news, old media for example newspapers, are more established, and at the moment, in terms of impacts on society, have more power. It begs the question can we trust the press, and old media, after the phone hacking scandal, uncovering how powerful old media can really be?

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