Eight charged in U.K. phone hacking scandal

Right to Work protesters gather outside Parliament Square shouting anti-Murdoch slogans on July 19, 2011, in London, U.K.

Stacey Vanek Smith: Eight people have been charged in the phone hacking scandal that closed down Rupert Murdoch's paper, News of the World.

The BBC's Rob Watson has more.


Rob Watson: It's clear at least eight people are now to face trial in the U.K. over phone hacking. The prosecutions target some of the most senior figures at the News of the World. Most prominent are the two former editors of the newspaper, Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks. Also charged is the paper's former chief news reporter Neville Thurlbeck.

Announcing the charges a spokeswoman for the prosecution service said they related to the illegal interception of voicemail messages of more than 600 people, including such celebrities as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Here's professor of journalism Stewart Purvis.

Steward Purvis: This is really going to be an unprecedented event in media British journalism history -- a full trial on criminal charges. We've had editors sometimes accused of contempt of court. I can't remember when we've had a whole series of editors charged with criminal offences.

So a year after the hacking scandal exploded with the revelation that the phone of a murdered schoolgirl had been hacked a new legal phase in the scandal has begun.

In London I'm the BBC's Rob Watson for Marketplace.

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