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?
Jon Slattery has today’s front pages of the Conservative-supporting tabloid newspapers on his blog.
As Slattery says, the papers have given Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg “a right going over” on the eve of the second leadership debate.
The Daily Mail has redefined news somewhat with its rehash of a Guardian article from 2002 – as its ‘Clegg in Nazi slur on Britain’ splash.
Meanwhile, on the Radio 4 Today programme Chris Huhne lashed out at what he said was a media smear against Clegg. PoliticsHome reports the Liberal Democrats shadow home secretary as saying:
So, you are trying to smear him by saying that because this firm happened to have done something that you regard as reprehensible it somehow carried off on Nick.
That is the kind of smear you are getting in the Tory papers this morning, and frankly it should be beyond the BBC.
The Press Complaints Commission inquiry may have found no new phone hacking evidence following Guardian revelations in July 2009, but speculation over phone tapping activities at News of the World just won’t go away.
The Independent on Sunday yesterday reported that the Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne had tabled a question in the House of Commons asking the Department for Culture, Media and Sport about the phone of the previous secretary of state, Tessa Jowell.
Mr Huhne’s question asks Ben Bradshaw, the current incumbent at the DCMS, “what discussions [his] predecessor had in 2006 with the Metropolitan Police regarding their inquiry into the hacking of her mobile telephone by Glenn Mulcaire on behalf of the News of the World newspaper, and to inquire what assistance, if any, was given”. It builds on suspicions that illegal activity was more widespread at the paper than has hitherto been admitted. During the trial, the names of five other public figures were cited, but suspicions have persisted that the police had evidence of further hacking, including that of government ministers.
Full post at this link…