The Sun’s latest out of court settlement evokes anger and dismay

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‘The cost to Rubert Murdoch of keeping the full, sordid details secret is staggering.’

Hugh Grant has settled a High Court claim against the publisher of the Sun newspaper after being offered what he referred to as an “enormous sum of money.”

The actor was suing News Group Newspapers (NGN) for claims that reporters had used private investigators to burgle his house and tap his phone. NGN denies the claims, rejecting any wrongdoing by staff at the Sun.

Murdoch’s NGN has settled more than 1,000 cases without making any admission of liability, and has paid out £1 billion to keep cases out of court.

Former footballer Paul Gascoigne, actress Sienna Miller, comedian Catherine Tate, Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm, and radio presenter Chris Moyles have all settled cases with the NGN. Miller settled a lawsuit against NGN in 2021, which at the time her lawyers said was due to the risk of having to pay millions of pounds in legal fees even if she won.

An earlier allegation that Hugh Grant made against the publisher in relation to the now defunct News of the World was settled in 2012. The newspaper, which at one time was the world’s highest-selling English-language newspaper, was shut down by Murdoch in 2011 following public outcry to the phone hacking revelations. The phone hacking scandal broke over a decade ago, when investigations showed the newspaper was engaged in phone hacking activities, targeting celebrities, members of the Royal Family, politicians, and the phones of the relatives of the deceased in high-profile cases.

Continue ReadingThe Sun’s latest out of court settlement evokes anger and dismay

Rupert Murdoch turned ‘blind eye’ to wrongdoing, Prince Harry lawyers allege

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Rupert Murdoch leaving his London flat at the height of the phone-hacking scandal in 2011. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

High court hears allegations media mogul oversaw ‘culture of impunity’ at the Sun and News of the World

Rupert Murdoch “turned a blind eye” to an extensive cover-up of wrongdoing at his newspapers, Prince Harry’s lawyers have alleged at the high court in London.

The direct allegations against the 93-year-old billionaire about activity at his publications are the latest stage in Harry’s war against the tabloid media, with lawyers for the Duke of Sussex and others accusing the media mogul of overseeing a “culture of impunity” at News Group Newspapers, the publisher of the Sun and the now defunct News of the World.

Court papers, which cover a period from the mid-1990s until 2016, also allege that Sir Will Lewis, the newly appointed publisher of Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post, played a key role in deleting millions of potentially incriminating emails, when he was tasked with managing the fallout from phone hacking.

Continue ReadingRupert Murdoch turned ‘blind eye’ to wrongdoing, Prince Harry lawyers allege


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[A young-looking] Rupert Murdoch, chairman emeritus of the group that owns The Times, is staunchly pro-Israel. (Photo: WEF / Handout)

A new report by the Muslim Council of Britain’s Centre for Media Monitoring highlights the UK media’s systematic bias in favour of Israel in reporting on the Gaza war.

The media’s role in the face of Israel’s aggression in Gaza – and plausible genocide – should be to responsibly report the news, validate facts, hold all powers to equal account and paint an accurate picture of events.

But whether this is actually so is the focus of a new, exhaustive report by the Muslim Council of Britain’s Centre for Media Monitoring. It reveals Britain’s worst kept secret: the systematic bias of the mainstream media in favour of Israel when it comes to reporting on its onslaught in Gaza.

The report analyses 176,627 television clips from over 13 broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4. 

It also scrutinises 25,515 news articles from over 28 UK online media websites including the GuardianTimesExpress and Telegraph, between 7 October 2023 and 7 November 2023. 

The data was analysed for the framing of events, use of language and representation of Palestinian voices.

It finds that 76% of online articles frame Israel’s aggression as the “Israel-Hamas war” – rather than a war on Gaza – and that over 70% of the terms atrocities, slaughter and massacre in broadcast media were used exclusively in reference to attacks against Israelis. 

A notable absence of Palestinian voices is also detected: In TV reporting, Israeli perspectives have been referenced almost three times more (4,311) than Palestinian ones (1,598).

‘Right to self-defence’

Also identified is the willingness of many broadcasters to emphasise Israel’s supposed right to defend itself in Gaza. 

But as Francesca Albanese, the United Nations special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, has said, Israel cannot claim the right of “self-defence” under international law because Gaza is a territory that it occupies.

Yet across TV, the insistence on this Israeli “right” is mentioned on 1,482 occasions. By contrast, mentions of the right of Palestinians to resist Israel’s onslaught in Gaza amount to just 278. 


Rupert Murdoch met Rishi Sunak five times in 12-month period

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Media mogul met government representatives 12 times in 2022-23 when he was chair of News Corp

Meetings between Rishi Sunak and Rupert Murdoch have been analysed by the campaign group Hacked Off Composite: PA/Reuters

The media mogul Rupert Murdoch met Rishi Sunak five times over a 12-month period before he stepped down as the chair of News Corp in September last year, according to government records.

Official records of government meetings, analysed by the campaign group Hacked Off, show that the former head of News Corp – which owns the Times and the Sun newspapers in the UK – personally met government representatives 12 times between October 2022 and September 2023, including five meetings with the prime minister.

These include a dinner in December 2022 and a meeting the following day with Robert Thomson, the CEO of News Corp, Rebekah Brooks, the CEO of News UK, the Times editor Tony Gallagher, former Sunday Times editor Emma Tucker and Sun editor Victoria Newton to “discuss the PM’s priorities”.

The two men then met again in May 2023 for a “politician discussion” and again in June for the Times CEO summit and subsequent party, and in September last year for a “social meeting”. There are no publicly available minutes of the meetings.

The actor and Hacked Off campaigner Hugh Grant, whose damages claim against the Sun publisher News Group Newspapers (a subsidiary of News Corp) is expected to go to trial next year, called for an end to “secretive” meetings between media barons and the government, after the records showed that there were 534 meetings between the press and the government over a 12-month period.

Image of InBedWithBigOil by Not Here To Be Liked + Hex Prints from Just Stop Oil's You May Find Yourself... art auction. Featuring Rishi Sunak, Fossil Fuels and Rupert Murdoch.
Image of InBedWithBigOil by Not Here To Be Liked + Hex Prints from Just Stop Oil’s You May Find Yourself… art auction. Featuring Rishi Sunak, Fossil Fuels and Rupert Murdoch.

Continue ReadingRupert Murdoch met Rishi Sunak five times in 12-month period