Morgan is one of the most important members of the cast of the phone hacking scandal. He was the first of a long line of Murdoch editors forged in the crucible of the Sun’s show business column “Bizarre”. One of his proteges was Andy Coulson.
Morgan was singled out by Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie as a future editor and it was his patronage that led to his appointment as News of the World editor at the age of 29. There Morgan singled out a young reporter and promoted her to Features Editor: her name was Rebekah Brooks. Morgan was destined to edit the Sun but when Daily Mirror boss David Montgomery — a former News of the World editor — offered him the editorship of the Mirror, Morgan accepted.
By 2003, the troika of Morgan (Mirror), Coulson (News of the World) and Brooks (The Sun) had an iron grip on Britain’s tabloids. Morgan was at the Mirror for nearly ten years — a decade that saw the paper embrace the “dark arts” of illegal news-gathering.
The plan is to produce a readable, balanced picture of a talented but flawed individual.
I’m a retired television producer so I don’t need to be paid for my time.
But researching, writing and publishing a book as ambitious as this one does not come cheap, especially since it needs to be read for libel.
There’s some contradictory evidence from the Leveson Inquiry and the Phone Hacking trial about just how much Rupert Murdoch was interested in his best selling Sunday Tabloid. Before Lord Justice Leveson in 2012, the chair of News Corp said the Sun was his major UK interest and he rarely concerned himself with NOTW, but earlier this year both Brooks and Coulson at the phone hacking trial gave evidence of weekly calls from Murdoch, throughout their editorships.
This snippet, from Piers Morgan‘s autobiography, shows that – at least on one occasion – Murdoch knew more than his editors. Concerned about a Princess Diana ‘phone pest’ story (allegedly sourced illegally through a police file) the then editor is reassured first by his news editor, Alex Marunchak, and then by Murdoch himself, that the story would stand up. Continue reading →
Over the past two years my “regular contributor” has written on all things Leveson, phone hacking, and police corruption, with much of their work gathered on the Brown Moses Blog – Hackgate Files. Now they’ve come to Bellingcat to continue their work, beginning with a look at Mazher Mahmood (aka the Fake Sheikh) and the Metropolitan Police.
Miskiw, Mahmood and the MET
In January 2004, a journalist from the News of the World (NOTW) was interviewed by MET police on suspected criminality resulting from Operation Motorman. It was GREG MISKIW.
Yet just a few weeks later, MET police were enthusiastically commiting to a £1million+ collaboration with the NOTW on a newspaper ‘sting’. This time the journalist was MISKIW’S investigations desk close colleague – MAZHER MAHMOOD.
Another guest post to compliment the two by Joe Public, this time by occasional contributor and Leveson-expert Mr Ceebs – crossposted at Bellingcat
Several places have commented on things that Mazher Mahmood said in front of the Leveson Inquiry, but he was mentioned quite a bit more than that. In light of the collapse of the Tulisa Contostavlos trial it’s time we ran across all the other mentions in the evidence, some positive, some not so positive. Most of these are slightly large, and have to be to provide a level of context. The numbers at the beginning of paragraphs are the line numbers where individual questions or responses start, other line numbers have been deleted for space and readability reasons. I haven’t included his own evidence, as that is easy enough to find on the website. Here and here Continue reading →
In this week’s Mitigation statement by Mr Langdale on behalf of Andy Coulson, a long held point of evidence has come out that nobody realised that phone hacking was illegal. The implication has been that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the Computer Misuse act were some trifling little pieces of law, that nobody realised would actually apply to Journalists.
Here’s the relevant quote from Peter Jukes’ recording of the trial, found here
“There are some features of this sorry affair which should be mentioned” says Langdale in terms of mitigation for Coulson.
“No one in the newspaper industry seems to have realised… interception of voicemail messages was illegal” says Langdale of 2000-2005
“It is a great pity it was not appreciated at the time” says Langdale of hacking “that it did not entail the commission of criminal offence”
“Mr Coulson took a cautious approach… and frequently sought and relied on legal advice” says Langdale. He also cites Surrey Police
But is that argument really tenable? Was RIPA something that had managed to avoid the finest Legal minds that Fleet Street possessed? Continue reading →
In response to the advance media storm last night (before the trial had closed) the CPS have released the following statement
“This case was not about whether phone hacking took place or whether public officials were paid for information; there are a significant number of recent convictions which show that both did happen.
“This has been a lengthy and complex trial which was required to explore a culture of invading privacy. Despite a number of applications by the defence to have the case thrown out the Judge agreed that the evidence was sufficient for consideration by the jury.
“The jury has found that Andy Coulson, former editor of a national newspaper, conspired with others to hack phones. Others who have admitted their role in this illegal practice – Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck, James Weatherup, Glenn Mulcaire and Dan Evans – all now face sentencing for phone hacking.
“We respect the verdicts and will inform the court on Monday of our decision on whether to retry the outstanding counts.
“As closely linked criminal proceedings are underway, I have nothing further to add at this time.”
The email release from the CPS of a legal note from Julian Pike, from Farrer’s and Co, briefing Rebekah Brooks and Colin Myler about the state of play in the civil phone hacking cases in January 2010, has caused me to revisit some of the other evidence of Julian Pike, both to the Leveson Inquiry and a parliamentary Home Affairs select committee, about this crucial phase in the legal timeline
Though Pike is not the subject of any know police inquiry, and any other sensitive names have been redacted, I’m still password protecting this post: any public links to previous Parliamentary or Leveson evidence could be deemed prejudicial
This brief timeline begins a year after the sentencing of Mulcaire and Goodman in January 2007. Colin Myler has taken over from Andy Coulson after his resignation, and Les Hinton leaving his job as CEO of News International to take of the job of Dow Jones publisher in NYC. But Clive Goodman is still pursuing a wrongful dismissal claim. A note Pike made of phone call with Myler on 27 May 2008 was adduced by the Leveson inquiry: Continue reading →
An important and informed piece by Nicholas Jones (via the Informm blog) about how the Leveson Inquiry failed to address a key part of the ‘culture, ethics and practice of the press’ . Read it all
More than any other press proprietor Rupert Murdoch created a market place in information and drove up the going rate for purchasing exclusive stories. What is Murdoch’s legacy? Has he poisoned the well of British journalism?
Unhappily for my generation of reporters who trained on local evening and weekly newspapers in the heyday of the local press, we are now being told that the culture of paying for information has had a deleterious effect on local newsgathering.
There is a widespread notion that even journalists on local newspapers or radio stations have a budget to pay for stories. It is commonplace for local reporters, when seeking information or interviews, to be asked “How much? What’s it worth?”
In my day supplying information to a local newspaper was never considered a financial transaction. Most of my contacts were only too happy to talk to a local reporter and usually on the record. They took pride in being quoted in local press and keen to fulfil their role in ensuring the fullest possible reporting of local affairs.