Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/614/8951
The hounding of Tommy Sheridan
Need for public inquiry into activities of News International
THE MURDOCH empire's vendetta against prominent Scottish socialist and a leader of the mass anti-poll tax campaign of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Tommy Sheridan, is well known.
Over the last four years, Tommy has been involved in a titanic battle with powerful enemies, including the Scottish Crown office and News International.
They seem desperate to make him pay for his role as an uncompromising fighter for working class people and the humiliation suffered by the NoW when Tommy Sheridan defeated them in a civil defamation case in 2006.
Tommy, who defended himself, was awarded £200,000 in damages by a jury - not a penny of which has been paid by the Murdoch rag.
The Scottish Crown Office has since spent millions of pounds of public money in pursuing a libel action against Tommy Sheridan and his wife Gail.
The most recent revelations about the insidious methods used by NoW and News International will raise even more questions about why, and in whose interests, the decision was taken to pursue a libel action against Tommy Sheridan.
It also underlines the fact that the only side any socialist or class-conscious worker can be on in this battle is Tommy Sheridan's, and not that of Rupert Murdoch and NoW.
A full public inquiry needs to be held into the activities of News International. All police files and information held in relation to the NoW's actions should be handed over. Such an inquiry needs to be open and democratic and made up of elected and accountable representatives, including from the workers' and trade union movement.
The fact that a billionaire like Rupert Murdoch can wield so much influence is an indication of how, under capitalism, our media is neither fair nor impartial - but ultimately is there to defend the prevailing capitalist system and the abuse of power and control by a rich and powerful elite.
It is a system whose press, almost without exception, is prepared to peddle the lie that working class people should pay for a crisis they did not create.
At the same time the rich bankers and top bosses can get billions in bonuses and wages beyond the dreams of millions, who are facing unemployment and savage cuts in public services.
We need a democratic press. To achieve that we need to end the control by powerful interests of our TV screens, radio, newspapers and even the internet, by carrying through a programme of democratic public ownership of the media.
It would then be possible to ensure democratic access to the press based on an allocation of media resources to different ideas, including socialist views, dependent on their levels of public support, and ensure an end to the scandalous abuse of power perpetrated by the billionaire media monsters.
In The Socialist 3 March 2010:
Youth fight for jobs
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
The Socialist Interview
Socialist Party women
Socialist Party feature