The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today welcomed the
announcement of inquiries into the illegal phone tapping and media ethics
following revelations of widespread telephone hacking by journalists at the
British tabloid newspaper, The News of
the World, owned by Rupert Murdoch.
The announcement by British Prime Minister David Cameron came after the
newspaper's publishers, News International, decided yesterday to close the
embattled 168-year tabloid title and the flagship title of Murdoch's press in Britain.
Mr Cameron said that one inquiry will focus on press regulation and there will
another public inquiry led by a judge to investigate the phone hacking scandal.
"We welcome these inquiries which should expose the web of illegal
practices involving corruption and violation of people's privacy," said Jim
Boumelha, IFJ President. "The growing tide of public outrage at these
revelations is understandable and trust in journalism cannot survive if they
are not stamped out for good."
Reports estimate that about 4000 mobile phones may have been hacked
into, including those of victims of crime and terrorism as well as of families
of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The IFJ says the extent of the scandal is a terrible indictment of the
newspaper's top executives who have been the instigators of a media culture
based on greed, in total disregard for professional ethics.
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in UK and Ireland, an IFJ
affiliate, has condemned the decision to close The News of the World, accusing managers of cynical opportunism in sacking
staff to avoid taking responsibility for their decisions.
"Closing the title and sacking over 200 staff in the UK and Ireland, and
putting scores more freelancers and casuals out of a job, is an act of utter
cynical opportunism," said Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary. "It is
not ordinary working journalists who have destroyed this paper's credibility -
it is the actions of Murdoch's most senior people."
The IFJ supports the NUJ campaign for union recognition so that
journalists can have a true voice.
"Only strong union can combat overbearing and unethical managers and
enforce our code of conduct," added Boumelha.
In the meantime, the British media self-regulator, the Press Complaints
Commission (PCC), has come under criticism for its role in relation to the
telephone tapping controversy. There have been calls from senior politicians
for Commission's reforms, including greater independence and investigative and
The IFJ says its report ‘Case for Reform Is Unanswerable' commissioned
last year into the role of the PCC after the controversy over telephone hacking
of celebrities by journalists at
The News of the World has been vindicated.
The report found that the PCC lacked the power, capacity and mandate to carry
out proper investigation and was not independent enough from the media industry.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than
600.000 journalists in 131 countries