Statement from Unite on the NOTW scandal: Government must not waive through BSkyB merger

This statement was issued prior to James Murdoch’s announced the closure of the NOTW.

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, said: “The violations of the privacy of innocent people by the News of the World have rightly caused widespread revulsion.

“We offer our deepest sympathies to those who have had their suffering compounded by this newspaper’s actions and urge that there must be no hiding place offered by the inquiries into the newspaper and News International’s activities and conduct of the Metropolitan Police in this regard.

“Thanks to the dedication and hard work of certain public figures, notably Tom Watson MP, this turn of events reveals something very rotten at the heart of our society. Too many of our politicians have stood aside while wealth seized control of our media.

“It is now time to ask; what sort of country are we living in?

“The industrial scale subversion of press ethics has left the reputation of our free press lying in tatters.

“The concentration of media ownership which began 25 years ago when Rupert Murdoch sacked 5,500 print workers overnight – enabling News International to generate massive profits which were subsequently used to build a vast right wing media empire – has created a race to the bottom which will be worsened by giving the Murdoch empire further reign over the quality of our national life.

“Given what government now knows, and with worse set to come, it would therefore be entirely without principle if it were to now waive through the BSkyB merger.

“Unite’s members have been at the wrong end of the media’s abhorrent behaviour. Families have cowered while journalists have hammered on doors, handed private personal details by employers hell bent on grinding their employees into submission.

“Attempts at redress for our members got nowhere, up against the spinelessness of the PCC and editorial diktat to rubbish working peoples’ attempts to defend themselves against the powerful. The PCC no longer has a shred of credibility.

“Our press once held the powerful to account and campaigned in the interest of the excluded. It could proudly say it was on the right side of justice in this country.

“It must start to clean up its act by campaigning firmly against tightening the Murdoch grip on our media.”

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