British journalists, officials denounce phone hacking by tabloid

Marketplace Staff Jul 5, 2011

British journalists, officials denounce phone hacking by tabloid

Marketplace Staff Jul 5, 2011

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: British officials and journalists have come out publicly against a tabloid newspaper, accused of phone-hacking the phone of a missing school-aged girl.

Phone hacking isn’t new to Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World newspaper, but Roy Greenslade says this case is very different from others. Greenslade is former editor of the British tabloid The Mirror, and he’s a journalism professor at City University in London.

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CHIOTAKIS: You know, it seems like in the past these phone hacking cases were about celebrities. Tell us about this one. How is this one different.

GREENSLADE: We’ve come away from sports stars and celebrities into a tragic news story involving a 13-year-old girl who was abducted, which in the end ended in the discovery of her body.

The News of the World hacked into the cell phone messages of the girl and even removed some of the messages in order to allow some space for others to arrive, and therefore materially intercepted in a major police investigation.

CHIOTAKIS: What kind of information was the newspaper trying to get?

GREENSLADE: I guess the paper were hoping that perhaps it might lead to discovering the identity of the murderer, or they were playing detective, or they were merely scraping the barrel to get some extra exclusive material that other newspapers weren’t getting.

CHIOTAKIS: How is this going to change the way the media and tabloid newspapers there in Britain operate?

GREENSLADE: I think this has created a public fury on a different scale from that which has previously occurred in relation to the hacking of celebrities. This opens it up to ordinary people having their privacy abused. And I think the pressure on the News of the World and its owner News International and its ultimate owner News Corp. and therefor Rupert Murdoch, the pressure has been ceaseless over the past 12 to 14 hours.

So this has become a major story. I’ve never known all the newspapers get involved against another newspaper. It was the front-page lead story in nearly every newspaper this morning.

CHIOTAKIS: Roy Greenslade, former editor of The Mirror and a professor now of journalism at City University in London. Roy, thank you.

GREENSLADE: Thank you.

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