Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/707/14050
Sun launch can't hide corrupt practices
Last week News International media mogul Rupert Murdoch happily posed with a copy of the new 'squeaky clean' Sunday Sun.
But the day after the Sunday Sun's launch fanfare a senior police officer revealed to the ongoing Leveson media inquiry that the Sun, over a period of years, had bribed officials in government, police, military, prisons and health service. These illegal bribes amounted to hundreds of thousands of pounds and, according to police, were openly discussed at the Sun. If this corruption was part of the Sun's culture it begs the question, how far up the News International hierarchy did it go?
Ben Norman updates readers on the murky world of Murdoch's empire.
Rupert Murdoch boasts that his new Sun on Sunday sold three million copies. But the Leveson inquiry, launched following phone hacking at its predecessor the News of the World, continues to reveal criminality throughout his media empire.
Seven months ago the News of the World was shut down, the result of public revulsion as the paper's phone hacking practices began to be revealed. Then, Murdoch made an act of appearing repentant and humbled in front of a Parliamentary committee while his bid to take over BSkyB failed.
The speed of the new paper's launch shows that this repentant side of Murdoch's PR campaign is over. It is also an attempt to seize the initiative before more damaging revelations at Leveson make the launch impossible.
Only nine days followed Murdoch's announcement and the paper's launch, but in that time new evidence kept highlighting corruption across News International (NI). Two days before the launch the police 'watchdog', the Independent Police Complaints Commission, announced an inquiry into claims that a senior figure at NI was given a leaked report into the original phone-hacking investigation.
That same day it was revealed that News of the World investigator Glenn Mulcaire had hacked the phone of Alice Sheridan, the mother of former Socialist MSP [Scottish member of parliament] Tommy Sheridan, when she was suffering from cancer. New court documents also revealed that senior NI management deliberately deleted emails related to phone hacking.
This week the Leveson inquiry enters its second phase, an examination of the relationship between the press and the police. Senior Met Police figures including Andy Hayman, who led the original investigation, and former Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson are to be recalled as the inquiry considers allegations including bribery.
Despite Murdoch's PR offensive, the web of corruption between Britain's most powerful police force and his media empire will continue to be exposed.
Shadowy connections between the establishment and media corporations are deeply ingrained in the capitalist system. Only a fully open and publicly accountable inquiry, with representation from trade unions (including journalists), could challenge them.
In The Socialist 29 February 2012:
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