Previously, News International, publisher of the Sun and News of the World and owners of the Fox movie and TV studio and satellite broadcaster Sky TV, were only proven to have hacked celebrity and political mobile phones for gossip, with token settlements reached.
Within the past day The BBC is one of many news agencies reporting on the fact that the mobile phone of a teenage kidnap and murder victim, Amanda Dowler, was hacked days after she disappeared in 2002, leading to the family being given false hope and interfering in the ultimately unsuccessful initial hunt for both victim and killer. The case went cold until her killer, already in prison for another murder, was tried and convicted last month. The parents of further child murder victims have been contacted by the police, most notably the families of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, and the family of at least one of the 57 people killed on 7th July 2005, David Foulkes. Then London newspaper the Evening Standard reported that Colin Stagg, the innocent man fully cleared and compensated by the police after they bungled the murder investigation into the murder of Rachel Nickell, was also caught up in the scandal.
The emergence of the news on the eve of the 6th Anniversary of the terrorist bombing has amplified the already massive reaction to the News of the World and the company as a whole and today the Prime Minister announced at least two different enquiries whenever the newest police investigation finishes.
It has also shown that Twitter cannot be dismissed anymore as at least four big companies have pulled advertising and another is awaiting the end of the police investigation before reconsidering its contract. Ford took their action pro-actively and the ethical business The Co-Operative group acted on the wishes of its members. However, the other three firms were certainly influenced, if not directly persuaded, by the various Twitter campaigns against the company. The share price of News International dropped by 2% but it remains to be seen whether the newspaper’s actual circulation will suffer in the long term.
Also on the BBC late news programme Newsnight tonight on BBC2 from 10.30pm BST, there will be a report about the delay of a database of child abuse images which some organisations believe is delaying the identification of victims by up to 18 months.
In addition to the BBC, The Guardian was the newspaper breaking the updated story in print and you can visit their site here, where it should stay the top story for at least another day.