Thursday, 14 July 2011

Glover: 'Why are politicians giving the press a harder time than themselves or the bankers?'

Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail has questioned whether the Government inquiry into media ethics in the wake of the News of the World phone hacking scandal is necessary.

He writes: "The two inquiries under Lord Justice Leveson unveiled yesterday by Mr Cameron will spawn huge debate over the coming months. I can’t help wondering whether the inquiry on media ethics is justifiable.

"A newspaper group behaved appallingly, and many leading politicians, including Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron, became far too close to Rupert Murdoch, who has duly been wrung, trussed and roasted.

"Why should all other newspapers, many of which are losing money, now be led into the dock, where — unlike in other recent inquiries — witnesses will be cross-examined under oath?"

Glover notes: "Even though they were not conducted under oath, at least we’ve had two inquiries into the Iraq War. But there has been no official examination of the scandal of MPs’ expenses, though there have been a handful of court cases. Equally, the bankers who brought this country to within an inch of financial ruin have not been required to give a public account of themselves.

"In all these instances enormous mistakes were made, and there were countless identifiable victims. There are, it is true, some unfortunate victims of the News of the World phone hacking, though no one has died or lost any money.

"Other newspapers, not owned by Murdoch, are being dragged into this process without having been accused of having done anybody any harm. Politicians, in other words, are giving the Press a harder time than they have ever given themselves, or the bankers."

He claims: "This rampant score-settling has spread much wider than News International and the police to encompass the whole of the Press. It is hard not to think that some MPs, stung by media coverage of the expenses scandal, are trying to get their own back."
  • The Times said in a leader today: "The appointment of a judge to lead the public inquiry surely brings statutory regulation of the press a step closer. That is not a change that should be conceded in haste in the wake of a scandal. There are good arguments in favour of a free and responsible press and a good case that statutory regulation interferes with press freedom while making no serious contribution to avoiding malpractice."

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