Judge grills mogul: the uses of transparency

The public nature of the Leveson Inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal has been exemplary, writes Timothy Garton Ash.

The shaming of the media mogul Rupert Murdoch, once the second most powerful man in Britain, has been one of the most instructive and heartening episodes of recent British history. Beside the Parliamentary Committee in front of which he had to appear, and which recently produced a damning report, there has been a government appointed, judge-led inquiry, headed by Lord Justice Leveson.

One of the things that has been exemplary about these hearings is the fact that they have not only been publicly reported but also put directly online in both video and transcript.

For an example both of the dangers of an overconcentration of media power in a single proprietor’s hands, and of the possibilities for using the internet to enhance openness and accountability, watch the official Leveson Inquiry video of the cross-examination of Britain’s Citizen Kane here.

You can also read a full transcript here.

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  1. The Leveson Inquiry perfectly reflects on draft principle three.
    In regard to the close relationship between Blair and Murdoch, the parameter of ‘independence’ should be added to it.

    Does a media giant like Murdoch’s imperium restrict free speech when it’s so closely tied to political officials?

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Free Speech Debate is a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at St Antony's College in the University of Oxford. www.freespeechdebate.ox.ac.uk

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