IFJ Welcomes Inquiries into Media Ethics after Closure of Scandal Hit Tabloid in UK

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

enforcement powers.

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