Hacking ‘Endemic’ at News International

Scandal implicates at least 28 'NOTW' journalists

Police have uncovered new evidence showing a wider extent of phone hacking in British newspapers. Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into media practices and ethics revealed on Monday that “at least” 28 News of the World journalists were involved in phone tapping. The hacking was part of a "thriving cottage industry" of lawbreaking, The Independent reports.

Inquiry counsel Robert Jay said the 28 journalists’ names were based on notebooks belonging to Glenn Mulcaire, the private detective at the center of the scandal. Mulcaire’s notes also suggest that he hacked phones for other publications. In addition to the now-defunct News of the World, the notebooks implement employees from fellow Murdoch-owned title, The Sun, and its Fleet Street rival, The Mirror.

Mulcaire was jailed for six months and the then-NOTW royal editor Clive Goodman for four months in 2007 after admitting intercepting voice mail messages on royal aides' phones.

Rhodri Davies, a lawyer for Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers, however, admitted that hacking might have continued at the News of the World after Goodman went to prison. Journalists may have been hacking phones as recently as 2009, Davies conceded.

Davies says News International apologizes "unreservedly" for eavesdropping on cell phone voice mail messages of celebrities, politicians, and crime victims, AP reports.

The hacking "was wrong, it was shameful, and it should never have happened,” Davies told the inquiry on Tuesday. “News International intends to ensure that what happened at the News of the World will not happen again and that fair compensation will be paid to those who suffered from it.”

Adweek staff writer Emma Bazilian wrote yesterday on how the hacking scandal has had a negative affect on the U.K. public’s opinion of the press. Fifty-eight percent of adults in the U.K. said the hacking affair has had a negative effect on their perception of the British press, while 51 percent said that the scandal has made them less trusting of all British news organizations, Bazilian wrote. You can read the full article here.

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