For the past couple of days the UK has been preoccupied with one major story, and no, it’s not the Royal’s couple official visit to North America. The recent revelation by The Guardian exposing how News of the World (NoW) hacked into several phone lines, including those of the 7/7 bombings victims and even the Royal Protection has rocked the public and politicians alike. Additionally, Rupert Murdoch’s ownership of NoW has put his BskyB takeover bid at risk, if not killed his chances completely. Although I am diverging from my point here, it is important to note that Murdoch’s takeover of BskyB has created controversy in itself. Many media outlets have expressed their concern over the takeover claiming it would give Murdoch a monopoly over British media. Which in itself is a matter that needs much study and discussion, significantly due to the status of media corporations today.
Nevertheless, the hacking story and Murdoch’s bid have taken front page and this story will not be going anywhere anytime soon with new information being released on a daily basis. The reason why I am writing this post is not to talk about how one tabloid paper managed to breach the privacy of many victims, or the ethics behind it, or even to discuss the future, or lack of future, of the BskyB bid. I’m taking the opportunity here to ask a few questions that the media has so far failed to approach, yet I believe are crucial, some of which include “the role of media”, “privacy”, “legislation” and even the “Wikileaks” debate.
While mainstream media has focused their energy on the immediate effects of the ‘scandal’, I am questioning what the ultimate effects of breaching the public’s privacy on not only future legislation concerning media’s investigative role, but also how far will media go to retrieve information. What I’m simply asking here: will this incident give politicians the power to create legislation that would curtail the media’s role as the watch dog or the fourth estate? Additionally, will this incident give the media the prerogative to further breach the privacy of its audience?
Now, this question or idea might be a little far fetched, but how will this play into what Wikileaks and Julian Assange have been doing for years, (granted Wikileaks have mainly targeted governments) Although, it seems that hacking is the common theme here, I’m wondering if it’s the only common theme between the incidents.In the end, will media agencies resort to hacking, and as many view it, criminal actions to get their scoop?
My only answer to these questions at the moment is: time will tell.