Readers of the Guardian website may have noticed its coverage of cabinet minister Chris Huhne’s affair was rather quieter than that of its rivals over the weekend. Its report on Sunday said:
Some commentators questioned whether Huhne was targeted because he had previously spoken out against the News of the World, one of the papers to print snatched photographs of him and his mistress. Last year, Huhne wrote a comment piece for the Guardian demanding an inquiry into the News of the World phone-hacking scandal,saying: “It strikes at the heart of the privacy any individual can expect in a civilised society.”
Today, in its editorial the Guardian praises Huhne for speaking out against phone hacking at News of the World (following the newspaper’s own scoop) last year.
He has made some powerful enemies by being an MP unafraid to speak frankly and directly about notorious abuses of power. For the past year he has spoken out against the phone-hacking that occurred at the News of the World under Andy Coulson’s editorship and Rupert Murdoch‘s ownership. There have been few MPs so vociferous in condemning the possible collusion by our intelligence services in the torture of Britons abroad. Who knows who has put Mr Huhne under surveillance? Or what circumstances led Mr Murdoch’s snoopers to be in the right place at the right time? Yet an independent, forthright politician is cut down, as others before him. Public life ought to be able to accommodate such people as Mr Huhne, who brings to politics a deep interest in economics, social policy and the environment. But who, watching his example, would want to follow?
For further discussion of media coverage and privacy issues see Charlie Beckett’s blog: Twitter, India Knight and Chris Huhne: the end of discretion?