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Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Freedom of the Press?

This post is inspired by my disgust at the developing News of the World phone hacking debacle.

Recent allegations suggest that Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who was jailed for 6 months in 2007 for unlawfully intercepting other persons voicemail messages, managed to hack into the voicemail on the mobile phone of Millie Dowler. The suggestion is that Mulcaire listened to frantic messages from Millie’s family and, when the mailbox was full, deleted messages to make room for more. The fact that messages were being accessed and deleted was probably available to Police investigating her disappearance. The obvious conclusion to draw was that Millie was probably alive. We know this not to be the case as Millie’s body was found 6 months later and, last month Levi Bellfield convicted of her murder.

This activity is, in my mind, outrageous and indefensible. It is only right and proper that the Press maintains its freedom to investigate and report as this is an important weapon in the fight against wrong BUT, there are limits beyond which even a totally free press may not step. Mulcaire overstepped. Anyone in the hierarchy at the News of the World, News International or News Corp with knowledge of this activity needs to be brought to book.

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