Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Time for the Sun to set on the Murdoch Empire

The fall of the News of the World was a curious affair. It seemed to me at the time to be something of an over reaction to close the newspaper, even in the face of public outcry over the phone hacking scandal. It only made sense in the context of launching a seven-day version of The Sun, the NoTW's daily stable-mate. Of course that is now what has happened.

However the "sacrifice" of the NoTW begins to make far greater sense now that we understand the seemingly far greater level of corruption that was going on at The Sun itself. In now seems quite clear that the closure of the NoTW was a diversionary tactic by Rupert  Murdoch in order to protect his most popular title and even extend its franchise to seven day publishing.

However it is now not just Vince Cable who is on the warpath against Murdoch.

Every new revelation makes it quite clear that Murdoch has presided over a totally corrupt system. He has relied on corrupt payments to public officials and covert pressure that does not stop short of blackmail. Bribery and Blackmail were not -it seems- occasional exceptions, but the normal way that News International has conducted its business.

Given the extremely tepid support that Rupert Murdoch has offered the current government, and his continuing flirtation with the SNP, demonstrated in his rather ill advised tweet on the subject of Alex Salmond, which seems to have resulted in the leak of the SNP's proposed referendum date to the Scottish Sun, David Cameron and Nick Clegg neither owe Rupurt Murdoch any favours, nor
are they his prisoners.

As these revelations mount, it seems self evident that should the criminal investigations lead to prosecution, then the entire question of whether Rupert Murdoch is a fit and proper person to have such control over any media outlet in Britain needs to be investigated.

James Murdoch already faces the real prospect of serious charges under the foreign corrupt practices act in the United States. A wide range of charges against News International employees is now under investigation in the UK too and several key NI executives are apparently set to face trial.

The scandal of Parliamentary expenses over the past years now looks like pretty small beer against the almost mafia-like racketeering that seems to have been going on at the UK's largest media group.

If these prosecutions result in guilty verdicts, then the reaction of the British regulatory authorities should be swift and total: the complete expulsion of any firm controlled or influenced by the Murdoch family interest in the UK. 

It seems more than time to clean the stables- and the black heart of Murdoch's twisted and corrupt empire would certainly be the best place to start.

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