In 2011, the British public and press were enraptured with the revelations of phone hacking at the News of the World. Rupert Murdoch referred to appearing at parliament as ‘the most humble day of my life’ The conglomorate looked down and out.
I’ve covered almost all of the trials that came out of police investigations into phone hacking trial and press corruption, not just the famous ones like those of Brooks and Coulson, but the cases that mostly went unreported in the media.
During them we heard revelations about how the Sun had a mole deep within the higher echelons of the Ministry of Defence, how prison officers were corrupted to gain information on notorious murderers and how the phones of members of parliament were stolen to find out who was talking to who.
My book will show:
- Phone hacking was in many ways just the tip of the iceberg. News International titles were at the centre of a web of institutional corruption that involved the systemic bribery of public officials to get information, by any means necessary.
- This goal was not just to sell newspapers, it was also aimed to influence, cajole and even blackmail powerful players in government to advance a political agenda.
- News International (now re-branded as News UK) titles are even now running outraged editorials claiming that they were “persecuted” by the authorities, but in fact, to save itself from a corporate prosecution, the company was willing to throw its own staff and their sources to the wolves leaving ruined lives and careers in their wake. New International paid $340 million to deal with the fallout from phone-hacking. Once you read this book you may well conclude that was money well spent.
Rebekah Brooks appearing again at the Company’s London headquarters with a top position for her set to be announced as soon as the time is deemed right. The perjury trial of Andy Coulson fell apart due to a bungled prosecution and Rupert Murdoch’s bid for full control of Sky TV appears to be back on the agenda.
During her trial Brooks made a rare slip in the witness box saying: “I always told my reporters they were above the law, sorry I mean they had to work within the law.“
The aim of this book is to find out if she was right the first time.
James Doleman is seeking £400 a week to cover research, travel and living costs. He estimates that the writing of the book should take between 8-10 weeks, so it will cost a minimum of £3,200. Backers will receive signed copies of the book, an invitation to the launch and regular progress updates.