The guilty verdict on Andy Coulson for hacking, and the five guilty pleas including from three senior news editors, shows that Rupert Murdoch’s company has been involved in an extensive criminal conspiracy to hack phones and the only way to protect the British public from press abuse in the future is for his newspapers to now adopt the Leveson recommendations in full.
The one rogue reporter line from Mr Murdoch's company was clearly a cover-up and that is not acceptable. Following today’s phone hacking trial verdicts, victims of phone hacking and press abuse today called on Murdoch’s News UK newspapers to abandon their plan to create and hide behind IPSO – their deceitful replacement for the Press Complaints Commission - and accept robust self-regulation under the Royal Charter.
Brian Cathcart, Executive Director of Hacked Off, said: “For years the Murdoch press clung to the story that one rogue reporter was responsible for phone hacking. We now know this was a lie. Far from being an isolated incident involving a few ‘bad apples’, the trial has shown that the entire orchard was rotten. The trial also shone a light on the appalling, systemic newsroom culture of bullying, lies, intimidation and intrusion that has devastated the lives of many people. From royalty and Cabinet ministers to victims of crime and bereaved families, nobody was safe.”
Victims of phone hacking reacted to the verdict.
Tom Rowland who gave evidence at Leveson, said: “Has Rupert Murdoch done what is necessary to guarantee that this institutionalised press abuse won’t happen again? No he hasn’t – and nothing will work short of the changes demanded by the Leveson Inquiry and backed by all parties in Parliament.”
Joan Smith, a hacking victim and journalist said: "Three years ago, Rupert Murdoch talked about the 'most humble day' of his life. That was before the hacking trial revealed a culture of intrusion and bad practice at one of his biggest-selling newspapers, resulting in the conviction for hacking of the man he chose to edit the News of the World. We now know that a title which boasted about exposing criminals was actually breaking the law itself, and flouting the ethics of decent journalism. I wonder how Mr Murdoch feels today, and whether he will acknowledge that a failure of governance on this scale can be addressed only by the kind of independent press regulation recommended by Lord Justice Leveson."
Mike Hollngsworth added: “How many Inquiries or criminal court cases will it take before Rupert Murdoch and all newspapers demonstrate to the British public that they are capable of remorse, accept that things must change and take action to put things right? The British press must show some humility and accept Leveson-style independent scrutiny of their regulatory system. And they must stop delaying and do this now.”