News

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Scandal! News International and the Rights of Journalism

The revelations of phone hacking at the News of the World have already caused the resignations of two of the country's most senior police officers and the closure of Britain's most popular newspaper, the News of the World.

Two enquiries - by a senior judge, and by the Metropolitan police - will ensure that the revelations and after effects will be long drawn out.

The latest publication in the Challenges series from the Reuters Institute - Scandal! News International and the Rights of Journalism - is a study on the opportunities and dilemmas of a more transparent universe for journalism than has been possible in its history.

It takes the News of the World scandal as its starting point, placing it in the context of the drive by the news media to enter into more and more intimate areas of private life.

At the same time, the unique power and popularity of British tabloid journalism was used, especially by News International, to inspire fear and subservience in public figures, especially senior politicians, the essay argues.

Scandal! argues that the Net both encourages the destruction of private life - and creates a practically limitless new space for debate and self expression.

According to the author John Lloyd, the Net is a powerful ally to liberation movements - and assists authoritarian states to close down such movements.

It carries vast amounts of revelations put into the public arena by Wikileaks and others - and creates as vast a problem as to how to publish and redact such material, Lloyd says.

Scandal! argues that it destroys the business model of newspapers - and allows them to be read by more people than ever before.

Scandal! takes the largest event in British journalism for decades, and uses it to illuminate the trends, dilemmas and opportunities of a journalism undergoing a series of painful transitions.