Column for Ilford Recorder 14 July 2011

People are rightly angry and sickened by allegations about the Murdoch News of the World which surfaced last week. These are not just invasions of privacy. They are violations of victims and their families at the hour of their greatest distress. It is essential that the current police investigation "Operation Weeting" continues to be thorough and leaves no stone unturned in finding those who have been involved in criminal activities like bribing of police officers and hacking.  Under pressure from Labour Leader Ed Miliband, Prime Minister Cameron belatedly conceded the need for a judge led public inquiry and a second inquiry to look at the wider culture and practices of the newspaper industry as a whole. These should be put in train immediately. They must examine the insidious relationship of some tabloid journalists with police officers and private investigators, and the reasons for the failed previous Yates investigation. We must get the truth about allegations of thousands of hacked phones, stolen personal data, shredded files and bribes and ensure that these things never happen again. Ineffective, useless self regulation by the Press Complaints Commission has failed. It should be replaced by a tough Regulatory system. MPs are subject to independent regulation and so should be the Press. The BSkyB takeover by News Corp should not be decided by Tory Minister Jeremy Hunt but be referred immediately to the Competition Commission.  OfCom should investigate whether the Murdoch organisation is a "fit and proper" media owner.

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