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Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant, compelling read!, 8 Dec. 2012
This review is from: The Phone Hacking Scandal: Journalism on Trial (Kindle Edition)
This very comprehensive work leaves no stone unturned in offering a multi-layered perspective on the whys and wherefores of where the media and in particular the press, stands today. With many eminent contributors, including journalists and academics, Richard Lance Keeble and John Mair have contributed to and compiled an outstanding work not so esoteric that a lay person such as myself cannot understand it with ease.

The book is presented in five sections, the majority of articles contained therein being headed with a succinct, engaging summary allowing the reader to `dip in' to a particular area of interest. The first (A) informs the current debate addressing many of the salient issues raised during the course of the Leveson Enquiry, offering the reader insight as to how the press works and the differing tensions within giving rise to the seemingly inevitable ethical/moral dilemma journalists face today. The second section (B) focuses on the power and influence of the Murdoch family and makes for very interesting reading as one learns of the interactions between the press moguls and governments in their power struggle, seemingly the latter losing out to the former corporate giants whose undoubted influence can win or lose them general elections. Section three (C ) considers how the Leveson Enquiry throws light on the weaknesses inherent in both the media and political arenas, enabling a lack of accountability to exacerbate phone hacking as a journalistic information source. We are shown how, at its inception and beyond, it was almost covertly sanctioned in the inertia of those who chose to ignore it including those parts of the press who, possibly not surprisingly, considered it not to be newsworthy. The next section (D) looks at differing aspects of ethics and also at the influence of the internet with regard to the ease with which journalists can access personal information from social networking sites such as Face Book and Twitter. Section five (E) speaks of the relationship between the police and the press, whilst the final section (F) seeks to consider the Leveson Report in the light of public interest, press freedom and independence and democratic accountability. It also asks the vital question of whether statutory regulation is the answer. The work concludes with an excellent piece by Roy Greenslade offering an historical perspective on hacking and how this disreputable activity has become the pinnacle of a culmination of malpractice over the past fifty years.

Whilst there is some content overlap, it is interesting to read the Contributors' varying perspectives enabling a broad coverage which serves to factor in each and every component as it impinges on the issues raised. Upon the reading of this, one is left with the prevailing sense of contrition from a profession that not only is driven by but has fallen victim to the market economy, forcing it into a hard drive to entertain in order to sell. If, like me, you are concerned about democracy and the freedom of the press and want to understand better the phone hacking scandal, then I would certainly recommend reading this book. Although outside of the profession, one feels quickly drawn in. It's right up to date and the media have ensured its familiarity. This valuable insight into the proliferation of the historic tensions existent in the media is both a well-judged and well-balanced compilation enabling the reader to see both sides of the argument leaving one better informed in light of current events. For me the reading of this has certainly been time and money well spent. Again I highly recommend this book.
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