Murdoch, phone hacking and media power

Calls to dismember, or at least control, big media might well gather force because of the latest scandal involving Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and phone hacking. Murdoch is too big, and too powerful for politicians to handle.

The scandal involves claims that phone-hacking and other illegal reporting techniques were rife at the tabloid News of The World paper while the British prime minister David Cameron's media adviser, Andy Coulson, was deputy editor and then editor of the paper. The police have been called in and there are five lawsuits where people are accusing the Murdoch owned paper of hacking into their voice mails. There have been calls for Rupert Murdoch to testify before a British parliamentary committee.

It won't happen. Murdoch is too powerful with The Guardian reporting that British MPs abandoned plans to force News executive Rebekah Brooks, to testify after they were warned that their private lives would be investigated. They were told in no uncertain terms that the Murdoch press would go for them.

Some commentators, like British Labour MP Michael Meacher say that the corrupting presence of Murdoch is behind all this.

It's cases like this that raise the question of whether sections of the media, the bastion of democracy, is actually undermining it. And how much this sort of power might be damaging society.


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