Nov 23, 2012

Phone-hacking lawyer: privacy, free speech and media regulation

British lawyer Charlotte Harris, who has seen the phone-hacking scandal from close quarters, tells Crikey that real change must come from the Leveson inquiry.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Media companies can’t be trusted to objectively balance the public interest and individuals’ right to privacy, says the woman who more than any other participant in the UK phone-hacking scandal has seen all sides of the media regulation debate.

Lawyer Charlotte Harris has fought injunctions on behalf of media companies, represented the targets of British tabloids’ obsessive intrusion into private lives, taken on Rupert Murdoch’s News International on behalf of phone-hacking victims and, for her efforts, been followed by a private detective hired by Murdoch’s company in a desperate effort to dig up dirt on her.

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9 thoughts on “Phone-hacking lawyer: privacy, free speech and media regulation

  1. drmick

    She is spot on. Free speech is wrong when even those who have done no wrong have something to fear.
    This “smearing’, guilt by association, and the “more outrageous the lie the harder it is to deny” is a tactic practised by the australian press and perpetrated by human skid marks attempting to change the facts to suit themselves. There is no public interest, there is a business interest that they wish to exploit. If they had to compete with the comics and trash novels that they emulate, they would go broke; so they peddle it as news. The current press regulation system is a joke & I resent being told by them what is in my interest. What is in my interest is to be able to watch an alternative channel, or to hear an alternative opinion or even read an alternative missal that actually contains news. Thanks to the ownership rubbish in this country we get one opinion, “churnalised” and repeated without fear of competition or litigation.
    They are so pathetic and removed from reality that they even have to give each other “awards” because no one outside the industry will.

  2. klewso

    With their editorial control/dominance over our view of events they qualify as making news – “public interest” seems only “interesting” as long as it suits the interests of those controlling the edited bits of what we get to see.

  3. Chrissy Nockles

    Totally agree, media ethics and censorship are the bane of a free and truly democratic society. A very “telling” article.

  4. klewso

    In what I thought was one of the most amusing (if Freudian?) dissertations on modern politics/journalism, presented by Paul Williams (academic and conservative political commentator, who “dresses to the Right” in his apportioning of blame and praise) one of Murdoch’s regular contributors to his Brisbane journal, “The Curry or Maul”, in this week’s instalment (on the maligning of politicians – while seemingly oblivious of the cases giving the rest such a bad name) he observed in conclusion “Yet elected representatives, working longer hours for a fraction of the pay, are vilified as self-interested by ill-informed punters”!
    Which I thought elicited just one obvious question :- “By whom are we habitually “ill-informed”? If not by a partisan, politicised viewsmedia, dominated as it is, to what end but influencing public perception of fitness to govern. With their edited/pre-digested/framed ruminations and observations/reporting : politicised prejudiced unbalanced op-ed journalism? Where punters can’t be trusted with raw news, for fear of them straying off the reservation.”
    As to relativity to his own regular “lectures and prognostications” – I thought maybe he was telling us that his “Right side was on the receiving end of undeserved criticism – while the Left deserved theirs”?

  5. AR

    no-one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the general public” allegedy PT Barnum but probably engraved on Mudorc’s heart, if there be such an organ.

  6. klewso

    Too much of the viewsmedia have given up their role of “messenger” – abandoning objectivity in favour of partisanship – thinking their opinions matter more than the issue – their egos got in the way.
    A lot get paid to do that, considering where they work, and the politicised narrative/agenda of that institution – especially salient where that institution dominates a market place, with virtually no competition for alternate views. What that can do to the perception (of such things as “fitness to govern” – under a barrage of negative PR publicity) of that “captive audience”.
    With their selective application of their op-ed double standards when it comes to expectations from parties. The application of different values depending which side of the political fence they’re looking and directing our (voter) attention; refracting their reporting through their prejudices. An eagerness to embellish/minimise (condemning or indulging/apologising for, depending on party) the events they’re relating in their edited form to the rest of us (in an attempt to influence their audience to their way of thinking and voting, fostering and re-inforcing certain opinions and preconceptions), they’ve become “players”.

  7. Venise Alstergren

    Worst of all, they’ve become gutless.


    THE HIRED HELP: “How high?”

  8. klewso

    The diet our viewsmedia has us on :-
    it’s like prison food – we inmates don’t get a say in what’s served – but we have to eat.
    Where else are we going to go (for hard-copy)? It’s their prison?

  9. Chrissy Nockles

    “..Where punters can’t be trusted with raw news, for fear of them straying off the reservation..”


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