The Rupert Murdock debate has caused a sort of upheaval unprecedented in the history of journalism.
However, it seems that the main focus of discussion is on the illegality of hacking and related issues. Everyone is discussing the criminality of the action rather than the more important issues related to the whole episode, perhaps deliberately.
The two most important issues of this sordid saga are not getting the attention they deserve.
These are: the danger posed to the society by power wielded by the corporate world in general and the moral degradation of the profession of journalism especially when it is in the hands of the corporate world.
The first issue is political, bringing into focus the criminality-corporate collusion into.
The corporate world has been known to bend rules, resort to coercion and outright criminal actions to achieve the ends. Legal and ethical issues never come in the way of the tactics or means they adopt for success.
In the present scenario we do not expect this to be put under the lens because most governments are influenced or ‘owned’ by the corporate world.
The second issue concerns the behaviour of one of the pillars of society, the fourth estate and the ethics of journalism.
Viewing it as a purely legal or criminal issue would be naive, to say the least. Media is perhaps one of the most important influences on the modern society and its behaviour needs to be absolutely above board. The degeneration that has crept into the profession of journalism is usually concealed under the cover of freedom of press.
The problem is worldwide but assumes dangerous proportions in societies where public concern for individual dignity, freedom, privacy and human rights is not considered an inalienable right by larger sections of the society.
United Kingdom is one such country where media enjoys unbridled freedom and often shows its ugly side in one form or the other. .What is needed is a balance between politics, the media, the police and the law; in the self-regulation of the press; and in the practice of journalism.
The News of the world exposure reveals a disease that has been slowly clogging the arteries of British politics for the last three decades This is equivalent of a heart attack that warns you that you are sick but also gives you the chance to regain your health by having a coronary by-pass operation.
The root cause of this English disease has been mighty, ruthless, out-of-control media power; its main symptom has been fear.
The scandal in Britain must provoke thinking on where the media is heading in a rat race in which the means to an end are typically disregarded and ethical standards compromised.
Before the public at large begins to tar all media with the same brush of insensitivity, the responsible media, be it in Britain or any other country, must introspect and reform itself.
This is not to undermine the freedom or powers of media but to encourage upright and responsible members of this profession to function in a better way.
Many decent and genuine journalists are forced to resort to unfair methods under pressure to perform.Editors are the mouth piece of their pay masters, and journalists are the foot soldiers that carry out the orders of the editors to keep themselves in a job.
Journalists have become the most distrusted profession by the public,this need to change.