The scandalous closure of the “News of the World” tabloid after 168 years of publication once again demonstrated the Western media’s lack of adherence to codes of ethics and morality in journalism and showed to the international community that what is advertised as the freedom of speech in the West is nothing but unrestrained violation of the privacy of innocent citizens and betrayal to the common values of a civil society.
The “News of the World” was voluntarily closed down on July 10, 2011 after it was revealed that the staff and workers at the magazine had been clandestinely hacking the phone conversations of a number of high-ranking public figures in the UK including politicians, members of Royal Household and also ordinary citizens for many years. This unprecedented incident hugely damaged the reputation of the Zionist media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation and stirred a widespread controversy all over the UK.
Controversy around the News of the World, a subsidiary of Murdoch’s News Corporation originally started in August 2006, when the Metropolitan Police of the UK sued Clive Goodman, the magazine’s royal editor, and Glenn Mulcaire, a close associate of Goodman and a private investigator for the allegation that they intercepted voicemail messages left for the cell phones of the members of Royal Family. They were both pleaded guilty and sentenced to prison in 2007. However, the allegations of phone hacking continued in the subsequent years and several public figures were targeted by the interceptions. In February 2010, The Guardian revealed that two UK telecommunication companies complained that over a hundred of their customers’ phone calls and voicemail messages were hacked by unknown sources; however, independent reports and Scotland Yard’s inquiry show that more than 4,000 people have been victimized by the phone hacking affair.
According to the Vancouver Sun, the News Corporation officials are facing demands to appear before the House of Commons “to answer allegations that they suppressed evidence of widespread illegal activity at the News of the World. The company is under mounting scrutiny following revelations that an internal inquiry in 2007 gathered “smoking gun” emails showing that several of its journalists were hacking mobile phones and making payments to police officers.”
As said by the report published on the Vancouver Sun’s July 11 issue, the News of the World editors and staff writers have been involved in stealing the British citizens’ email correspondences and phone conversations and paying bribes to the police officers since almost four years ago, but the evidence indicating these criminal activities have been seized by the Scotland Yard a few weeks ago.
“The evidence was only passed to the police last month, four years after it was collected. During that time, James Murdoch, European chief executive of News International, personally authorized at least one substantial settlement payment to a victim of phone hacking, in exchange for signing a gagging clause,” the report added.
The newspapers and news agencies have revealed that James Murdoch, the son of Zionist media mogul Rupert Murdoch and the European chief executive of News International has been personally involved in several cases of phone hacking and paid bribes to a number of victims to convince them not to publicize the matter in the media and withdraw their complaints from the national courts.
Charlotte Harris of the law firm Mishcon de Reya, which represents several of the victims seeking damages from the News of the World believe that the British tabloid will be sentenced to pay at least £20m to those whose privacy has been violated; however, according to some reports, the total amount of the compensation to be paid by the News of the World can reach to £40m.
According to The Economist, “privacy law in Britain is a late arrival, derived mainly from the European Convention on Human Rights and built up through judicial interpretation. The size of the awards against the News of the World will depend on the view taken by Sir Geoffrey Vos, a High Court judge, of the actual damage to hacking victims, as well as of the intrusion itself, when he hears test cases later this year.”
Now the whole world cautiously follows the developments in the UK to see what actions will be taken by the government to bring justice to those who have been flagrantly violating the privacy of British citizens for so many years. Unquestionably, the phone hacking scandal is not a trivial matter to be neglected irresponsibly. What has taken place is that the most private information and communications of British citizens, from the most high-ranking members of the Royal Family to the most ordinary citizen working in a restaurant have been mischievously and illegally monitored and collected by the staff and personnel of a magazine which is owned by a Zionist billionaire and media mogul. This is not something which can be gotten away with recklessly.
Although it is a conventional and familiar tradition in the Western countries such as the United Kingdom or the United States to listen in the phone communications or electronic correspondences of citizens on baseless allegations such as precluding terrorist activities, the NoW affair is a particular case as it implicates journalists and reporters who are supposed to be the trustees of people in the society, but unfortunately, these trustees have become traitors and trampled the principles of morality and decency underfoot.
Now, it’s the responsibility of Murdoch and his men to explain to the public opinion the reasons why they stigmatized the reputation of thousands of people and stole their personal information for commercial purposes. Even their apologizing to the victims of phone hacking whose valuable personal information and private communications have been stolen cannot appease the pains of these victims. It’s for sure that the history will not forgive Murdoch and NoW staff for this disgustful and loathsome offense.
Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian freelance journalist and writer and a member of World Student Community for Sustainable Development.
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