While the Commons Committee on Culture, Media and Sport spent more than four hours grilling Rupert and James Murdoch, and later Rebecca Brooks, on the phone hacking scandal at News International — and making very little headway in the stonewalling responses from the executives — another group, the Home Affairs Committee, was gearing up to publish its own conclusions on the affair. Out this morning, the document notes that the HAC “deplores” News International’s attempt to “deliberately thwart” the first investigation into phone hacking in 2005-06, and it also condemns the police for not identifying evidence that could have helped that investigation.
We have a summary of the Home Affairs Committee’s findings, written before the report was made public, here.
And if you would like you read the report for yourself, you can download it directly here.
Included in it is a informative timeline
The significance of this report, and the attention from the HAC, is that it is potentially more pertinent to some of the more criminal aspects of the investigation, and how it involved the police, government and other businesses such as phone companies (the chief executives of all of the UK’s major mobile operators were among those interviewed for the report).
In contrast, the evidence given to the culture, media and sport committee will also have a bearing on how the scandal is treated, but potentially more on a media-regulation level. As noted in the report:
We were aware that our sister committee, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, had had a longstanding interest in the ethics of reporting and reporting methods, and were repeatedly taking evidence on this issue. Whilst the role of the media was clearly part of that Committee’s remit, questions were being asked about the response of the police to the original allegations in 2005–06, and there appeared to be some confusion about the interpretation of the legislation governing hacking which had the effect of making it unclear who precisely might be considered a victim of that crime. Accordingly, early in September 2010, we launched an inquiry into ‘Unauthorised tapping into or hacking of mobile communications…
Among the useful things you can find in this report is a concise timeline of events, from to the original investigation up to now.
The HAC was understood to be interested in getting this report out by today, in time for David Cameron’s appearance before Parliament. Cameron is updating the House of Commons on how he is proceeding with his own investigation into the hacking scandal, which has a wider remit than just News International and looks at other publishers as well as police involvement. You can watch Cameron here.