I write in relation to Freddie Kissoon’s article in KN (July 13) in which he writes about Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, his tremendous influence on British politics and the telephone hacking scandal that caused the closure of the News of the World (NOTW), a major British tabloid owned by the media magnate. I wish to bring attention to a key point that was not addressed in Mr Kissoon’s article and which provides a lesson for journalists and editors.
I do not agree with Rupert Murdoch’s business philosophy and the type of journalism practised at his various media outlets around the world. However, in apportioning blame for the NOTW fiasco, we need to recognize that it was the paper’s editor and journalists who had direct operational responsibilities. As owner, Murdoch may have provided the enabling environment but it was the editor and the journalists who would have violated their codes of ethics, varying from the professional standards expected of them, and possibly breaking the law in the process. They cannot be absolved of their responsibilities and a judicial inquiry may hold them accountable.
Mr Kissoon concludes his piece by stating, “The media remains civilization’s best friend.” Well, this is only true of an independent media that is not beholden to anyone or any group, one that upholds the highest standards of journalistic ethics and that is committed to finding and reporting the truth. Murdoch’s media operations which have been the darling of certain politicians and members of the establishment in the UK and the USA are certainly not “civilization’s best friend.” In fact, public reaction had earlier forced the British Prime Minister to rescind the appointment of NOTW’s editor as his Director of Commu-nication and the venerable Scotland Yard, Britain’s most respectable police body, is now tainted.