PCC clears Murdoch paper over hacking claim

Author: Reuters

The PCC said today it had not found any proof to support a story by the
Guardian newspaper in July this year which said the practice to secure
sensational stories was widespread at the News of the World tabloid.

In response, the Guardian described the PCC’s report as complacent, saying the
organisation did not have the “ability, the budget or the procedures to
conduct its own investigations”

The report by the Guardian newspaper dominated the headlines for days in
Britain and reignited the debate on media ethics and the tactics used to
land scoops on celebrities, sports stars and politicians.

Murdoch’s tabloid, part of his newspaper arm in Britain, had admitted to one,
already well-known case of phone hacking but denied that the problem had
been widespread.

In that one case, the News of the World’s royal reporter Clive Goodman was
jailed for phone hacking, and the Guardian story prompted the PCC to look
into whether it had been misled over the scale of the problem in its
original inquiry.

The independent body also looked into whether phone hacking had continued
since their original report.

“The PCC received information from a number of sources,” it said. “It found no
evidence that it was materially misled by the News of the World, and no
evidence that phone message hacking is ongoing.

“The Guardian’s sources suggesting a greater culture of intrusion at the News
of the World were anonymous and could not be tested.

“Indeed, having reviewed the matter, the Commission could not help but
conclude that the Guardian’s stories did not quite live up to the dramatic
billing they were initially given,” the report said.

The Guardian had reported that the News of the World had paid a large sum of
money to Gordon Taylor, the head of the Professional Footballers
Association, to settle a hacking claim and reported that others had also
been targeted.

But while the PCC said the claim about Taylor was “significant”, it said it
had not found any evidence that the phone hacking was ongoing.

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