Tuesday 20 February 2018

We have to take action now, or worse will follow

Andreas Whittam Smith

I am going to describe how action should be swiftly taken to curb Rupert Murdoch and his newspapers now that supposition and dark suspicion have become proven fact. News International, a large and powerful media organisation, Mr Murdoch's company, systematically invades people's privacy through phone hacking, corrupts the police by making large payments to individual officers, and compromises fair trials as a result of publishing reports that are likely to prejudice juries.

It operates without restraint and has no sense of right or wrong. It doesn't yet represent the same threat to British society as the Italian mafia does to Italy. But there are sufficient similarities to tell us that if we don't act now, worse will follow.

Just as Italian politicians have courted the mafia, so British politicians have fawned over News International executives and editors. David Cameron, the prime minister, even brought a former editor into Downing Street who, it is now alleged, authorised the payments of bribes to the police. Well meaning though large advertisers may be in withdrawing their business from the News of the World, that won't curb Mr Murdoch.

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