Tuesday, 12 July 2011

UK scandal raises fears of Australian hacking

A former head of the National Crime Authority says changes are urgently needed to ensure the media is not hacking phones in Australia.

New allegations have emerged that the practice of phone hacking was not confined to the News of the World, but was common at other newspapers owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Reports from the UK say investigators working for the Sun and the Sunday Times used hacking to obtain personal details about former prime minister Gordon Brown, even extending to the medical records of his son, who had cystic fibrosis.

Former authority head Peter Faris QC says the Government must appoint an independent statutory body to ensure that Mr Murdoch's Australian media operation is behaving responsibly.

"The federal minister needs to get an undertaking from the leading media companies that none of this phone hacking has happened here," he said. "Secondly he should abolish the [Australian] Press Council and set up a truly independent press council which is not funded by the newspapers - it's got to be really and completely independent."

Greens leader Bob Brown says he is concerned the media may be hacking phones in Australia, but he does not have any direct proof.He says there are devices readily available on the market to do it. "I am not aware of any phone hacking in Australia but we have to be concerned," he said."There is potential, there are devices that are on the market to help people to phone hack into other people's phones. "The temptation to cut corners, to use modern scanning devices and so on to hack into other people's private conversations, may be difficult in the long-run for everybody to deny."I think it is sensible that we have a watchdog to ensure these laws are upheld."

The latest claims from Britain add to pressure on Mr Murdoch, whose empire has been engulfed in the phone hacking scandal which has destroyed one of his most profitable newspapers, the News of the World.

The fallout is making News Corporation's bid for full control of the British pay television channel BSkyB look increasingly shaky. Overnight Mr Murdoch withdrew his offer to spin off Sky News as a condition of his takeover bid for the satellite broadcaster. This means the bid will be referred to the UK's competition commission for review.

Author/Source ABC News

My view :

I believe this issue will not be contained just to England and may well spread throughout the world and who knows the Cairns Post may be implicated as well. Why would one think that it was only the 'News of the World’?

This malignant tumor will require all the skill of Rupert Murdoch and his media empire is now ethically/legally precariously  as it was in the early 1990s financially. However, this time no amount of money will insulate his empire's misdemeanors and the shame it will bring him. Will it lead to his demise?

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