Sunday, 20 November 2011

News International: Please Don't Hurt Us

Through its reptilian lawyers, News International has told the High Court that celebrities, politicians and victims of crime currently suing over phone-hacking mustn't be allowed to conduct a witch-hunt. Numerous well-known figures including Jude Law and Labour MP Chris Bryant, as well as members of the public including Sheila Henry, whose son was killed in the 7/7 bombings, have brought actions against NI for breach of privacy.

A News International legal representative is reported to have said: "it is not appropriate … for claimants to begin a crusade. The proceedings must not be conducted as a witch-hunt against my client."

Cruelly-injured NI is the concern which
allegedly hacked phones belonging to the parents of murdered Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. Further targets for NI's staff have apparently included families of service personnel who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. NI also acquired the medical records of Gordon Brown's disabled son. Brown said of the episode: "They told me they had a story about Fraser's medical condition - I was in tears but there was nothing I could do."

Among the most terrible of the alleged crimes is the hacking of Milly Dowler's cellphone. The 13-year-old vanished in 2002 and was later found murdered. Before her body had been discovered NI reporters hacked into her voicemails, deleting some to ensure space for any new messages which might arrive. But the changes, detected on the missing phone by police, were interpreted as suggesting Milly could still be alive. Through its ghastly interference, what false hopes did NI raise in the Dowler family?

Two wrongs don't make a right, but in the context of a dispassionate trial for News International it's barely possible to hold that thought. Meanwhile, so desperate has its standing become that NI is considering running a series of newspaper crusades for society's greater good. Perhaps they should start with an anti-drugs campaign, since News International knows all there is to know about selling shit.

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