The final session here at Future of Journalism is a roundtable on the News of the World scandal; as a panel session, it will be hard to blog, but I’ll try my best. Bob Franklin starts us off by highlighting the wide reach of the scandal, and notes that while journalism overall has been tarred with the abuses committed by News International, there also has been some excellent journalistic coverage of the scandal.
The first panellist is Labour Party MP Chris Bryant, shadow minister for political and constitutional reform. He says that it feels as if public debate in the UK has been changed massively by the scandal; it feels like being released from prison, he says. In fact, in his Welsh constituency, the only way to get digital TV is to subscribe to (the partly Murdoch-owned) BSkyB; and Murdoch has been using his newspapers’s political influence to protect BSkyB as a cash cow.
Chris’s own phone was hacked, and he knows that this has enabled News papers to find a great number of his contacts, who could then be contacted for any potential dirt they may have. The same happened in the Milly Dowler case, of course, and here Glenn Mulcaire even delete messages, which is ‘playing god with the family’s emotions’, Chris says.