Sunday, 5 September 2010
Nick Davies, the author of the excellent Flat Earth News, continues to provide excellent journalism on the unfolding MetGate affair.
He has now filed a detailed piece setting out the grounds for an independent inquiry. (It is also worth seeing his other articles on the same scandal.)
Also see the detailed and interesting article by Brian Cathcart at Index on Censorship.
As this blog pointed out last Thursday (almost alone of the political and legal blogs), the issues raised by the New York Times article are serious.
That is not to say that there is proof of wrongdoing; but there now is an array of witness and documentary evidence indicating that an independent and open inquiry should take place in the relationship between the Metropolitan Police and News International.
It is this relationship which is key to the whole matter.
The alleged interceptions and unauthorised access raise potentially significant legal issues under both the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the Computer Misuse Act. Any possible offences should be investigated fully.
In all this, some Labour politicians are rightly focusing on the role of News International and Andy Coulson (they favour the hashtag #Hackgate on Twitter), whilst others are more concerned with what happened at New Scotland Yard (they favour #MetGate). I am one of the latter.
There is no doubt that Labour politicians are using this as a matter of party advantage.
However, that does not make their concerns illegitimate.
Many who generally support the Coalition (like me) are able to see that the concerns are serious, and to realise that the emerging evidence requires proper, fair and open consideration.
This is simply not a party matter; it is much more serious than that.
It is not good enough for Tories to try and close this down so as to protect Andy Coulson from criticism, or to save David Cameron from embarrassment.
As this Blog said last Thursday:
"Public confidence in the press and the police is crucial to a modern liberal and democratic society; any without an inquiry into these serious allegations, it is difficult to see how such confidence can exist."
And even partisan Tories should care about that.
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