Hacked Off and the Death of News of the World
Sunday 13th May 2012
The main speakers scheduled for the evening:
Tom Watson – an M.P whose input
into the various 'hacking scandals' had been led by bringing the case
forward in Parliament, to the 'star turn' at the inquiry that interviewed
the Murdochs and Rebekah Brooks.
Rebecca Leighton – a victim of
'Tabloid Press Assassination'. The former nurse was wrongly accused and
publicly defiled by national press, all due to the crimes committed by
the ‘bad element’ of the police force investigating a murder
case. Her life was irrevocably changed by these outside intrusions, some
having been brought to public knowledge are a clear example of the potential
damage that can be caused by a sensationalist press.
Grayham Johnsen - Grahame Johnson aged
Forty-Two (Graeme's name and age are misspelt as a reminder of the Press
he formerly worked for and represented!) Gry (aged Twelvety-Nines) has
such accolades as Reporter of the Year (Three times winner), a media pundit,
book writer and investigative journalist amongst other things? Gary Johonsin
(aged Fifty-Four), denied his Reporter of the Year award was won by the
coercion and blackmail with some dodgy polaroids of the judges. Despite
being unavailable for comment at the time, a neighbour told us "yes
never trusted that one! Eyebrows too close and walked with a limp"
(we believe this 'overheard' comment was directly about him).
Chris Frost - Head of Journalism at
John Moores University, involves himself heavily in ethics committees
and a variety of bodies that combine education and the trade of journalism
as a study.
What would you do if a neighbourhood gossip spread malicious lies which
destroy your semblance of normality and ostracise you from the local community?
What if the 'Powers That Be' alongside the 'Order of Truth and Law' are
complicit in this.
We, as a nation, condemn the likes of China, for it's 'closed system'
and oppression of freedom of speech, while simultaneously as a nation
and Individuals we are puppets of the News Masters and Media Moguls. We
subscribe to Sky and read the Daily Mail; we are sucked into gossip, stories
in the press of those ranging from fame to infamy, public regard or notoriety,
spin-docteration, propaganda (or in-propaganda). Such is the power of
media and programming over our thirst for information and reality, the
lines of direct reportage and an interpretation of events being blurred,
for the gains or either politics or corporate interest, are just some
of the main culprits.
Britain’s got talent? Simply another
example of media programming, which the hot coals of promised fame entice
victims of star filled promises. This relates to direct reports of people
who may be quite talented but are not allowed to qualify as they’re
'Quirks for T.V' or more commonly 'Not what we're looking for'.
It's only in Liverpool we don't buy the Sun Newspaper – just ask
Billy Bragg – yet to me this is the indictment, I believe no store
in Merseyside should stock this. I am quite surprised a ‘Guerilla-wing’
of those rightly disgusted by the publication have not destroyed, or prevented
by acts of force, sales of the paper. Maybe to repeal the indictment,
the fact its offices haven’t been peacefully razed already is a
sign of the length of tolerance we have for freedom of speech.
Around 150 folk turned up for this discussion, all eagerly anticipating
first hand insight into the workings of the Press. Chris opened the evening
with an apology on behalf of Tom, whose journey had been hampered by stolen
rail lines and the lack of taxis in Stoke possibly resulting in rickshaw
being the only option of carriage to Liverpool – the lengths the
Murdoch Empire will go to prevent him speaking! Chris also gave us a some
insight into his professional background and that of the guests.
The theme was directly laid out with a statement read by Rebecca, giving
details of the terror and debilitating effect of her ‘Trial by Press’.
Dubbed the ‘Angel of Death’, she described how she spent "three
days in the cells to find out my private Facebook account pictures scattered
all over the media". The effect of incarceration has meant that "even
now people still stop me in the street to say, 'Are you that nurse?',
it makes me afraid to go out alone". The concern here is about the
evils of accusation, the lack of 'innocent until proven guilty', all this
allowed by the legal system she expected to protect her yet fostered as
common malpractice. Rebecca has obviously been scarred by the events,
which still continue to blight her life. She asks, "How could your
Facebook information be hijacked and misused against you?" The majority
of people turned to a friend open mouthed with raised brows or a look
of horror while others smugly looked on and were overheard to say “not
much I don't have one”. I anticipated a few deleted pictures on
Facebook that night?
Leading from this, Greame quite bravely admitted to a past life of ‘devil’s
news hound’ and the techniques commonly employed by Hacks. The deviance
of employing a group of people to harass and therefore disorientate the
'victim', thus allowing a "save you from the dogs" option, he
alluded to a constant barrage being used, "C.I.A copied tactics",
letters through door, followed everywhere, all possible aspect of the
victims private and public life rummaged and put through the wash. All
this led by the current agenda or drive of the papers governing body.
He spoke openly of the filth and treachery that infect modern practices,
a lack of ethics being endemic amongst his colleagues. It was said Rupert
Murdoch has a similarity to a Mafia Godfather, not true as I believe the
Omerta or even the code of a petty thief or a desperate drug addict are
above and beyond the reckoning and do not come close to a description
for Mr. Murdoch (synonymous with Nazi criminality mixed with Don Quixote!)
Tom outlined his actions and details of his derision for the lawlessness
of the Murdoch Empire, the "cover up of widespread criminal wrongdoing
over many years" and how news executives and senior members of the
metropolitan police would meet at all expenses paid 'business lunches'
in Soho clubs. He suggested that politicians alone have allowed the media
empire to gain too much power and claimed a change of law will prevent
this, it was outlined clearly that many laws had been broken, a matter
of corruption and enforcement are also attributed. Sensibly he also described
a framework of transparency, proof of legality and accuracy of publication,
death to the press complaints commission which self regulates and a firm
robust enforcement, all this within a radical shake up of the news publications
Clearly some intracacies and perpetrators of the crimes shall never be
justly punished or brought to fair amends, the system and level of human
nature that allowed this to flourish exists in many forms and guises.
Is it the 'Newsgroup' that defiles a gullible innocent to become corrupt
and amoral? Or is the 'Newsgroup' a den for the amoral to practice their
Overall, the event was able to reveal, first hand, the effects of the
‘cogs in a machine’. There was a great representation of guests
with an interesting Q&A session which made for a very informative
and enjoyable evening.