Sunday, 24 July 2011

Phone hacking scandal and a game between politicians and the media

  There has been an interesting development in the ongoing phone hacking scandal as there is public concern about the British PM, David Cameron's decision to hire Andy Coulson, former editor of News of the World. It was expected that the Prime Minister should have taken responsibility for his decision to hire Andy Coulson despite early warnings.

The Prime Minister expressed regret for his decision, but noted that people were innocent until proven guilty. However, he did not satisfy the MPs with his inappropriate answers to the questions over Andy Coulson. More interestingly, the Prime Minister had "far more questions to answer", and as Gary O'Donoghue analysed on the BBC, Mr Cameron showed an "unwillingness to say in simple terms that he never discussed the BSkyB bid during his 26 meetings with News International executives".

Far more questions, far more phone hacking

It is probably not by chance that the phone hacking scandal paved the way for an inquiry into the relationship between politicians and Murdoch's media "empire". Lance Price - known as a former BBC Correspondent before joining Tony Blair's media team - in an interview with ABC on 18 July, indicated the close ties between News International and British Prime Ministers such as David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and even back to Margaret Thatcher. He used the term "back-doors" as the political supports and it is always remained even this scandal could make it impossible for such "cosy private relationships" to continue. There is a question of why Murdoch, the owner of the red-tops, would be considered as the 24th Minister of the Blair cabinet instead of anyone else from the so-called "mainstream publications". It should be noted that Murdoch's power is by no means reflected in journalism as a whole, but comes from his exploitation of politicians - the game that made it possible for his tabloid journalists to bribe the police, fool public opinion and distort the truth.

It is expected that the results of the investigation into this scandal may take days, weeks or even longer. While the judgment on the phone hacking scandal could appease public opinion over journalistic ethics, that on the BSkyB bid and the Coulson hiring might bring a clearer picture about the relationship between the politicians and Murdoch's empire. This relationship is still very much 'up in the air'. In Rome, there has been a perfect merger between the media and Berlusconi for over a decade and now it is known as the Berlusconi sex trial. Despite an extensive record of criminal accusations, he is still in power. There is no connection between Berlusconi and Cameron or the two scandals except for the concept of the 'relationship between the media and people in power'.

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