Letter to Jeremy Hunt, Sec of State Department for Culture, Media and Sport Re:- News Corp and BskyB
From: Andrew Stringer [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: 14 July 2011 15:00 To: email@example.com Cc: Enquiries Subject: News Corp and BskyB Dear Sir, over the last few weeks I have been following the evolving story of News of the World and News Corp. I have worked for several companies during my working career and in all of those, the company ethos has come from above. This has in turn filtered down from board level to employees and governed the actions and behaviour which is regarded as acceptable within the company. In the case of the News of the World, clearly there existed a culture where hacking phones of parents of disappeared children was acceptable. Whilst there is no doubt that all members of the staff and management would not have been aware of the specifics or even the existence of the hacking, the culture and company values set at board level must have set the tone where such behaviour and similar was not unacceptable. Given that the allegations have now spread to dubious activities at The Times, it calls in to question if News Corp is a suitable owner of any news organisation in the UK. Frankly we should have higher standards for journalism. I am pleased that the News of the World was shut down and that the offer for BskyB has been withdrawn, but I believe these are more of tactical measures by News Corp to take the focus away from the essence of the enquiry. I am a capitalist through and through, but the more I find out, the more I feel that News Corp represents the unacceptable face of capitalism, the rot should be stopped. Regards, Andrew Stringer.
Dear Mr Stringer, Thank you for your email about phone hacking and News Corporation’s proposed acquisition of BSkyB. As you rightly note, News Corporation has withdrawn its bid to purchase the remaining shares in BSKyB which it did not already own. This is a decision taken by News Corporation, and in doing so they will no doubt have been aware of Parliament’s and the public’s concern. The Prime Minister has announced an inquiry into phone hacking and the extent of wrongdoing in the press and the police, as well as a review of regulation of the press which will be led by Lord Justice Leveson. In addition, Ofcom have an on-going statutory duty to ensure that holders of broadcasting licences are and remain fit and proper persons. This is a matter for them and they are already in touch with the relevant authorities. Government has no role in Ofcom’s decisions. Your concerns about ethics and integrity in the media are entirely understandable and, as you have likely heard, the Prime Minister on 13 July set out the terms of reference for a judge-led inquiry into phone hacking. The two part inquiry will look at: Part 1 1. To inquire into the culture, practices, and ethics of the press, including: a. contacts between national newspapers and politicians; b. the relationship between the press and the police; c. the extent to which the current policy and regulatory framework has failed; and d. the extent to which there was a failure to act on previous warnings about media misconduct. 2. To make recommendations: a. for a new more effective policy and regulatory regime which supports the integrity and freedom of the press, the plurality of the media and its independence from Government, while encouraging the highest ethical and professional standards; and b. for how future concerns about press behaviour, media policy, regulation and cross-media ownership should be dealt with by all the relevant authorities, including Parliament, Government, the prosecuting authorities and the police; and c. the future conduct of relations between politicians and the press. Part 2 3. To inquire into the extent of unlawful or improper conduct within News International and other newspaper organisations. 4. To inquire into the way in which the police investigated allegations of unlawful conduct by persons within or connected with News International, and the review by the Metropolitan Police of their initial investigation. 5. To inquire into the extent to which the police received corrupt payments or were otherwise complicit in such misconduct or in suppressing its proper investigation and how this was allowed to happen. 6. To inquire into the extent of corporate governance and management failures at News International and other newspaper organisations. 7. In the light of these Inquiries, to consider the implications for the relationships between newspaper organisations and the police, and relevant regulatory bodies and to recommend what actions, if any, should be taken. The first part of the inquiry (1) and (2) will be conducted by a Judge assisted by a panel of experts. It will report within 12 months. The second part of the inquiry will be considered in light of the on-going criminal proceedings. It will report jointly to the Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, and the Home Secretary. I hope this information is helpful. Yours sincerely Colin Colin Green Correspondence Manager Ministerial Support Team Department for Culture, Media and Sport |2-4 Cockspur Street |London |SW1Y 5DH