Victims of press abuse have expressed outrage and incredulity at the return to head NewsCorp UK of Rebekah Brooks, who was Editor of the News of the World, the Sun and CEO of News International at the height of the phone hacking and police payments scandals and during their cover up.
Joint Executive Director of the Hacked Off Campaign, Dr Evan Harris, commented:
This could only happen in a dynastic company where normal rules of corporate governance simply do not apply.
Mrs Brooks’ successful defence at trial was that she was such an incompetent executive that she was unaware of industrial-scale criminal wrongdoing in intercepting voicemails and bribing public officials, and unaware of the vast conspiracy to cover it up, despite her admitting to destroying millions of emails and putting the company’s reputation before co-operation with the police. Her failure has so far cost the company £300 million, hundreds of jobs and then there is the £16m pay off she received while scores of her newspapers’ confidential sources have gone to jail.
This is the equivalent of the return to post of ten Fred Goodwins with a Gerald Ratner thrown in for good measure.
Brooks’ reappointment is a major misjudgement of the national mood by a company still ethically out of control. It is no wonder the public don’t believe that the newspaper companies found guilty at Leveson when they say they have changed. It is also why reform of press ownership rules and regulation is inevitable.
Note: Hacked Off represents victims of phone hacking and press abuse, and campaigns for effective independent press regulation.
Evan Harris is available for interviews. Please call 07883533052 for media enquiries.
Jacqui Hames, the a former police officer and Crimewatch presenter, whose family was put under surveillance and whose phones was hacked by the News of the World under the editorship of Rebekah Brooks in 2002, said:
“The Leveson Inquiry heard how Rebekah Brooks admitted approving the surveillance our family during the investigation of a murder, with which the News of the World was linked, with the feeble excuse that it was because she suspected I was “having an affair” with the man who was actually my husband. How can a modern British company – with all the obligations to corporate governance – possibly be run by someone who admitted to Parliament that she knew her newspaper had paid police officers for information, and then denied knowing this when put on trial. It is beyond parody, and not the actions of a company with any willingness to put the past behind them. It’s just business as usual.”
Christopher Jefferies, the Bristol landlord libelled by the Sun, among other newspapers, 5 years ago said:
“The proposed reappointment of Rebekah Brooks, who has never apologised to the victims of her negligent oversight, is yet another sign that we have a press industry that is largely unreformed, unrepentant and unwilling to understand that they have lost the public’s trust”