Just watch the News of the World’s former Deputy Features Editor Paul McMullen defend phone hacking. Then watch former BBC Director General Greg Dyke and actor Steve Coogan rip him to shreds:
Dyke is right. This isn’t about a question of freedom of the press. Television journalism is regulated, and papers like the Guardian abide by the NUJ’s code of conduct – both manage to fulfil the functions civil society needs them to without any difficulties whatsoever. McMullen skirts over the fact which Dyke brings him back to: the press should not be free to engage in corruption with the police, criminality with private investigators and to damage (and often destroy) people’s lives. Why should the press be free to hack into a dead girl’s mobile phones and delete messages to make room for more anguished messages which they can then exploit? Should the press be free to engage in immoral practices which also interfere in police investigations? I think his behaviour is outrageous. Should they be able to pay police officers huge sums for information?
Let’s remember as well that we don’t have a free press anyway. Our media is owned by increasingly few people, and our papers by even fewer – the playing field has been skewed horribly by the Tories and Labour alike, in the name of currying favour with tabloids, who they felt could win them elections. Regulating the tabloids which behave in an immoral and criminal way isn’t at all interfering with the freedom of the press – the responsible elements of said press are already abiding by regulation which helps the press. I hope attention moves on before terribly long to the HateMail and others (read page 9).