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Br(e)aking the News

Journalism, Politics and New Media

Edited By Janey Gordon, Paul Rowinski and Gavin Stewart

What is the breaking news in the world today? How did you find out this news? How do you know it is true? Was it reported ethically? What checks and balances are being put on the news media?
The answers to these questions reflect the themes of this book. The chapters are by experienced journalists, academics and practitioners in the field. They unravel and clearly present the recent and on-going developments in journalism and the press around the globe, including the US, Europe, Asia and Africa. Chapters deal with the phone hacking and data thefts in the UK that provoked a major inquiry into press ethics and standards. Twitter is examined and found to be a valuable tool for reporters in the Arab world and research shows how, in Australia, readers use Twitter to pass along news topics. Chapters also explore the use of the mobile phone to access news in sub-Saharan Nigeria, the role of media magnates in presenting political views in Europe, and Wikipedia’s representation of conflict. This collection of fourteen chapters by leading authors examines journalism as practised today and what we might expect from it in the future.


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JULIAN PETLEY Leveson and Operation Motorman


: lessons from a debacle over data protection In March 2003, investigators from the Information Commissioner’s Of fice (ICO), raided the of fices of a private detective, Steve Whittamore. As Tom Watson and Martin Hickman put it: They [the ICO] were amazed at what they discovered: Britain’s best-selling newspa- pers and magazines were driving a thriving black market in illegal data, requesting (and receiving) ex-directory numbers, car registration numbers, health records and criminal records. The targets ranged from glamorous actresses such as Elizabeth Hurley to the families of victims of newsworthy crimes, such as the parents of Holly Wells, a child murdered by the paedophile Ian Huntley at Soham, Cambridgeshire, in 2002. (2012: 28–9) Lord Justice Leveson states in his report into the culture, practices and ethics of the press: It appeared that the ICO had come upon an organised and systematic disregard for the data protection regime of a scale, duration and seriousness going beyond poor practice, beyond breach of the rights and principles of the regime, and into the realms of criminality in its own right. (2012: 1004) Whittamore’s sources included a civilian at Tooting police station who provided information from the Police National Computer (PNC), staf f at the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA) and a Hell’s Angel who ‘blagged’ ex-directory and ‘Friends and Family’ phone numbers from British Telecom. Steve Whittamore had kept meticulous records of all his dealings. His customers included most of the British national press and the raid netted the names of...

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