Monday, July 18, 2011
Rupert Murdoch's Crumbling Empire
By Manuwant Choudhary
I would have perhaps never got a job in any of Rupert Murdoch's newspapers not because I am not qualified but because I simply do not know how to hack.
The Rupert Murdoch story seems to be getting worse by the day ..now that we hear the whistleblowing journalist Sean Hoare dies in his home at Hertfordshire under mysterious circumstances.
Hoare had been a celebrity correspondent with the now shut News of the World tabloid and it was he who first told the world that it was routine for News of the World to hack phones.
Earlier he had been dismissed by News of the World on drink and drug charges.
Whats most damaging about his revelations in that the editor Andy Caulson was not only aware of the hacking by his staff but that he actively encouraged it.
The details get murkier with allegations that you simply had to ask the news desk about the location of a person and they would use police technology to detect a person's location and come back with the information. They called this `pinging'.
Isn't this the scary world George Orwell imagined in his book `1984', a book he wrote in 1948.
But the line between a journalist and his police sources would blur so quick is hard to understand.
Even as the senior Murdoch faces the MPs panel today, I wonder how the veteran lost control of his empire?
Or is he simply being hounded for being a rich successful media baron?
How much did Murdoch know about all this?
And the tragedy is that not just Murdoch..even Britains Prime Minister David Cameron hired the services of Andy Coulson.
Its interesting reading the sequence of events into all this available at CNN and one does sees a pattern emerge...it looks like News International had kind of gotten into a habit of paying compensations periodically.
Whatever happened to the good old ethics about journalism?
Do you pay a policeman money to get information?
The senior Murdoch has been apologising frequently now but the real question is how involved is he personally in the news gathering mechanism or is he just involved in the business of news, where his company is a huge success.
It would also be relevant to fix responsibilities. When did Mr. Murdoch come to know about the hackings and what action did he take against those involved?
I think this could clear the air.
News is simply not just another business.
News is news.
In India too if you see unedited tapes of news being gathered by the zillions of stringers some of them could horrify you, just as it horrifies the British audience today.
But yes I would anyday prefer the noise over `a silent airwave'. We owe it to Rupert Murdoch for having invaded India through his sattelites. Recen'tly the Indian government made this huge announcement that they would now allow All India Radio news (owned by the government) to be re-broadcast on private FM stations. But AIR is all gas.
I still think governments and the police are worse than Murdoch but when they all become one I do feel insecure.
Its not really Murdoch's empire that I am worried about - it is journalism itself.