Murdoch Hacking Scandal to Engulf Britain
TEHRAN, July 18 (ICANA) – Rupert and James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks have been summoned before the British Parliament to face a phone hacking and police bribery and corruption inquiry.
Press TV talks with Stefan Simanowitz, journalist and human rights campaigner in London who describes how the scandal has grown to involve the heart of British establishments. Following is a transcript of the interview.
Q: What do you think are the wider implications now of the Rebekah Brooks arrest?
A: It's difficult to know. She was arrested this morning and again there was no announcement beforehand so this came as a bit of a surprise because she is actually meant to be appearing along with Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch on Tuesday in front of a committee in Parliament where they will be asked by MPs about the two aspects of this scandal: the hacking, but also more importantly in many ways is the bribery and corruption of the police.
And it really goes to the heart of how British society works. What I would say about Rebekah Brooks' arrest today is that it might in some ways affect her ability to answer questions because she will have her whole legal team there and if she says I can't comment on this because it will prejudice or affect the ongoing police investigation -- that might actually give her a way out. That remains to be seen.
Q: The question is though, with the Rebekah Brooks' arrest and with the arrests earlier on, there is a question of how extensive is the investigation of this case or this scandal going to be when we speak of Rupert Murdoch himself or even going beyond Murdoch's empire?
A: Absolutely. As I say, it runs to the heart of all aspects of British society, it's not just about the media; it's not just about the police; it's not just about the politicians; it's about how the establishments in Britain really work.
It has actually been very disturbing for a lot of people in this country to see the unedifying sort of cozy relationships that the prime minister has had with Andy Coulson who was the editor of the News of the World at the time who then became his press spokesperson. And we see in the newspapers yesterday that they had an ongoing relationship even after Mr. Coulson was forced to step down.
Another concern is senior people at Scotland Yard and Metropolitan police having a very cozy relationship with the editors of News of the World International and actually being employed by News International after they had stepped down from the police force -- people like Neil Wallis and also Andy Hayman as well and other senior policemen.
So, I think it has really exposed some levels of complicity, corruption and illegality at the very heart of British society. And I think it has been a healthy thing as well -- the leader of the opposition Ed Miliband is leading a fight. Many of these things hadn't been talked about and many politicians have been too scared and cowered by fear of the tabloid press, not just Murdoch, it extends beyond international and beyond News Corp and I think it's a practice of not just phone hacking, but also having too cozy a relationship with the powers that be, which is a very disturbing thing, but perhaps a healthy thing to expose.