Nov 22, 2011

The Leveson Inquiry: phone hacking, Milly Dowler and Hugh Grant

Crikey media wrap: Actor Hugh Grant and the parents of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler spoke of their experiences with News of the World phone hacking and dodgy press ethics to the Leveson Inquiry overnight.

Amber Jamieson — Freelance journalist in New York

Amber Jamieson

Freelance journalist in New York

In a star-studded and depressing day at the UK inquiry into press standards, actor Hugh Grant and the parents of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler told of their experiences dealing with News of the World‘s phone hacking and dodgy press ethics. The Leveson Inquiry is examining British tabloids after the phone-hacking scandal that forced the closure of Rupert Murdoch’s biggest selling masthead.

Testimony from the parents of Dowler — whose voicemail had been hacked and messages deleted giving them false hope Milly was still alive — was long-awaited, since it was this incident that finally drew the public’s attention to the paper’s criminal behaviour.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

4 thoughts on “The Leveson Inquiry: phone hacking, Milly Dowler and Hugh Grant

  1. Oscar Jones

    What is being revealed in the Leveson Inquiry is quite sickening but hearing local newspaper bosses like John Hartigan and Greg Hywood pontificate as thought they are above it all is equally distressing.

    All newspapers are basically affected by their competition and when standards are lowered (or raised) they respond likewise.

    I repeat-I have been attempting on behalf of an 89 year old woman whose photograph was stolen from a property and then used by the SMH in a ‘sensationalised” tale- with the claims proven to be false via a seperate NSW Supreme Court action and which also meant she could not afford a costly libel action- all entreaties to Fairfax are re-buffed with the arrogance of those who wield unchecked power.

    The article remains on the internet for her family and friends to always see and that is where the damage is done despite a British newspaper printing a front pager retraction of the falsehoods because libel laws are much easier for ordinary citizens to access.

    Yet Hartigan, Hywood and no doubt their employees believe they alone in this country- unlike any other business (they imply they are a public service when they are in it for profit) continually scream they should be allowed to self-regulate.

    Let us not forget that all Australian newspapers ( and visa versa throughout the world) pick up stories on the wires services and publish them without checking.

    Thus a tale of absolute garbage like the great 2008 Haut de la Garenne children’s home in Jersey scandal in which dozens of children were reputedly murdered yet it was all false is relayed to us and when it is discovered to be total tosh we receive not one word of apology (not that we expect it from News Corp) from Fairfax for misleading us and taking our money for printed fiction.

    If someone sold us a dodgy toaster we would have recourse-not so with the media.

  2. Oscar Jones

    UPDATE :

    I now note that since yesterday the Sydney Morning Herald has removed the photograph that we complained of from it’s website. However the falsehoods remain.

    This just confirms that after 2 years of complaining and meeting a brick wall, it may have taken the Leveson Inquiry and Finkelstein’s media inquiry to get reaction from Fairfax Newspapers despite publisher Peter Fray’s ‘a letter to the reader’ stating : “In 180 years of publishing, The Sydney Morning Herald has never wavered from its core values and promise to its readers”

    One must ask the question : why remove the photograph now after 2 years of inaction ?

    Fairfax still need to answer the question : why did they receive a photograph stolen from an 89 year old woman and publish it for 2 years ?

  3. shepherdmarilyn

    Our papers are still prattling about non-existent people smuggling.

  4. Verio Browning

    A couple of points in this article gob smacked me.

    First the quote from the Daily Mirror re Hugh Grant’s supposed attitude towards them being “mendacious smears driven by his hatred of the media”. That quote could have come straight from the propaganda factories of any old style communist regime, North Korea springing to mind in today’s age. Which then leads to the thought that really, what we are confronting in the form of the Murdoch media is a form of totalitarianism.

    Secondly, the tweet from Piers Morgan “I do hope Nelson Mandela was watching Hugh Grant today, so he now understands what real persecution is all about.” comes across to me as extremely petty and small minded. It appears that Morgan and his ilk feel that only industrial scale persecution done by states is reprehensible. The question then springs to mind, does he feel that the persecution handed out by a stand over man justifiable? One must feel that he does as it certainly is not in the degree that Nelson Mandela suffered. Or does he feel that certain sections of society should be allowed to persecute because they have, in his eyes, a higher calling to do so? All in all this tweet just demonstrated his complete lack of logic and low ethical stance. Straw men being created by a straw man.

    This whole affair demonstrates the absolute lack of faith, trust and integrity certain sections of the media have to society as a whole.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details