We have watched and listened for the past couple of weeks as the media in the United Kingdom has come under tremendous scrutiny for the bad practices of at least one of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers.
His News of the World, which published its final newspaper last Sunday, was accused of allowing staff to hack into the cell phones of private citizens. The case came about during the investigation of the death of a teenage girl.
Since the first allegations we have learned that the hacking was allegedly widespread and included politicians and members of royalty. We also learned that News of the World was actually paying police officials for information.
The practice of police selling privileges is destructive. It also destroys the credibility of that force.
But the ultimate blame lies with those in the media who would seek to corrupt the police in an effort to be the first out there with information.
The Observer on Sunday is afraid that this latest scandal surrounding the Murdoch empire is only a scratch on the surface of a very big messy pool of muck.
The News of the World was the best selling Sunday paper in the United Kingdom because its editors, reporters and readers jointly engaged in transgressing the basic principles of human dignity and respect for privacy, spreading rumours and stereotypes. And while the political likes of Tony Blair and David Cameron have lately been calling on Parliament to fully investigate News of the World and other media – lumping all press media together – they regularly fawned over Murdoch, not daring to shun him.
What irks The Observer on Sunday is that all print media worldwide is in danger of being painted with the same brush of criticism being applied to Murdoch’s tabloids.
The newspapers in the stable of Cayman Free Press, of which The Observer on Sunday is one, adhere to a strict ethics policy. Violation of it leads to immediate dismissal.
Part of that policy has a section called Acting with Integrity. Under it our staffers vow to act honourably and ethically in dealing with news sources, the public and our colleagues; obey the law; observe common standards of decency; take responsibility for our decisions and consider the possible consequences of our actions; and always try to do the right thing.