Saturday, December 14, 2019

AFTER 9-MONTH PROBE, LEVESON ISSUES MILD REPORT ON UK MEDIA

November 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

For an investigation that was triggered by the alleged misdeeds of News Corp’s British subsidiary, News International, whose tabloids, the now-defunct News of the World and The Sun, were accused of hacking the voicemail of thousands of citizens and paying bribes to police and other officials for information, there was surprisingly scant criticism of Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate in the final report by the Leveson committee issued on Thursday. What there was amounted to mild wrist-slapping. Judge Brian Leveson indicated that he didn’t wish to compromise the police investigations by commenting at length on the scandals. (He did remark that voicemail interceptions on the part of News of the World reporters had become “cultural” and commented that the approach by News International in dealing with revelations of wrongdoing “is far from what might be expected of a well-run corporation.”) Wall Street acted with relief. At midday today (Friday), News Corp shares were trading at about their 52-week high. Likewise in Britain, there was little talk if any about phone hacking and bribery and much debate over the proposal by Judge Leveson for an independent press watchdog that would have statutory support. But Michael Wolff, author of the Rupert Murdoch biography The Man Who Owns the News, was characteristically blunt in assessing the report: “After nine months of hearings, the inquiry calls for a goopy, bureaucratic, obfuscating oversight board, which could be perilous to the freedom of the press or as likely toothless,” he bristled in the British edition of GQ magazine. “What’s more, the report fails to take a stand on the very issues and people who caused the inquiry to be formed in the first place: the Murdochs. Instead of book ending this exceptional chapter in British media and political life … with answers as to what happened and who did it, Leveson devolved into a tortured effort about how to create a better behaved press.”