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JK Rowling Testifies: Press Put Letter In Her Daughter’s Schoolbag

JK Rowling Testifies: Press Put Letter In Her Daughter’s Schoolbag
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Phone hacking on an “industrial strength” level was a widespread practice at Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World tabloid: since July, more and more evidence supporting such allegations has come to light; over 5,000 people are alleged to have had their phones hacked. Just on Thursday, London police made their first arrest on charges of computer hacking by private investigators working for News International.

Prime Minister David Cameron set up theáLeveson inquiry into media ethics last summer to investigate press standards. Starting this Monday, those who are alleged victims of phone hacking or had their privacy intruded on by the media organization gave testimony at the High Court in London.áBob and Sally Dowler, the parents of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, gave their testimony on Monday andáKate and Gerry McCann, whose three-year-old daughter Madeleine has been missing since 2007 while vacationing in Portugal, spoke before the panel on Wednesday. These parents had been thrown into the public limelight by unspeakable tragedy, only to see theáNoW capitalize on the horror they found themselves in.

Three of those who testified Thursday — actress Sienna Miller, former Formula One chief Max Mosley,áauthor JK Rowling — are famous and wealthy, and have made the decision to “stand up to a powerful press because they believed their right to privacy had been violated.”

Miller described being verbally abused and spat upon by the paparazzi; of being chased by ten men with cameras down the street at midnight; of accusing her family and friends of leaking stories to the press that, she later learned, had been acquired by hacking her phone.

Mosley won ú60,000 in damages from the NoW in 2008 after a judge ruled that the paper’s story about him participating in a “sick Nazi orgy” had trespassed on his right to privacy. Mosley — the son of Sir Oswald Mosley, the founder of the British Union of Fascists — has since campaigned actively to reform laws about celebrity privacy. Heáspoke about feeling that News International was out to “destroy” him after he sued NoW for breach of privacy; he hasácalled for the press to notify public figures before publishing articles about them. He also spoke about his son, Alexander Mosley, who, having suffered from depression and drug addiction, was devastated by the NoW story and died after its publication. Mosley is currently taking legal action against Google to remove libelous Nazi references to him from the Internet in 22 countries.

Rowling’s testimony made all too clear how not only her privacy but that of her children and husband have been aggressively violated.

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Photo by David Ogren

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104 comments

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5:53PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

It is astonishing that the truth is finally out and Murdoch is seen for the evil that he represents---how will he answer to all he has done?

3:15PM PST on Jan 8, 2012

press people should have to live by the same rules the rest of us do...wonder what's going on if i look inside their home windows?

9:07AM PST on Dec 4, 2011

The media is the cause for a lot of problems.

11:30AM PST on Nov 30, 2011

The Press is so controversial.
Sometimes, we thank god that they exist; other times, we hate the ground they walk on.
When they are on the side of evil, they must be called out.

8:51AM PST on Nov 28, 2011

Just because these people are famous, doesn't mean they don't have a right to their privacy. It is all made worse by the sick obsession many people have on keeping tabs on celebrities. I've never understood what is it that people find interesting in those gossip magazines, on looking at pictures of their famous actors at the beach or eating ice cream. Seriously. They are people just like you and me. What's the big deal? This is just sad.

12:21AM PST on Nov 28, 2011

"But while the press seem to hold all the cards, the public’s appetite for every last detail about public figures’ lives is seemingly bottomless."

Is this really true? Or is it a case media causing the sensation so it can topple its victims? I personally don't know anyone who reads that tripe. Of course i find the expletive pre-fab world of "reality" TV boring, too, and often wonder if we watch them because we "like" them, or is it because they are cheap & easy to produce and saturate the networks, who know we'll watch anything, even if it's just the lesser of two evils?

5:17PM PST on Nov 27, 2011

It is sad to see what these GREEDY BASTARDS are doing in the name of "News"

11:47PM PST on Nov 26, 2011

The increasing connection between journalistic outlets and large corporate owners that demand unreasonable profits and "cross-fertilization" with other properties shows that the current model of journalism is not able to meet the challenges of informing the public for making the critical decisions regarding the major issues like inequality, climate change, war, terrorism, et al, that we face.

11:44AM PST on Nov 26, 2011

BRITISH POLITICIANS ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN. EVERYONE WANTS A FREE PRESS BUT THIS RELATIONSHIP WAS BAD & BECAME ABUSE OF FREEDOM.

8:25AM PST on Nov 26, 2011

Monica is so right in that it does have to start with each of us. As Gandhi said, "become the change we desire". That being said, I absolutely never buy any of the gossip rags, and I have never bought Exxon gas since their massive blunder in Alaska, and their blatant efforts to buy their way out of ever truly cleaning up after their massive pollution event.

Nor, do I ever plan to buy BP oil as they proved their greed prevented them from truly taking adequate safety precautions, or being concerned about the environment they massively polluted.

There needs to be consequences when big companies do things that are illegal, immoral, devestating to our environment, etc... just as their are consequences when the little guy steals a loaf of bread, and the consequences need to be fair and just, across the board, not giving white collar crime just a slap on the wrist, compared to jail time for the little guys doing petty theft.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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