Sunday, April 17, 2011

Aussie Victim of Britain's Phone Hacking Scandal

James Murdoch who has just been appointed as third in command of the mighty News Corp's USA operations has said that the phone hacking scandal in Britain has been "put in a box". But that Pandora's Box threatens to burst open in unexpected ways.

Collateral damage may be far and wide and open up even more lawsuits from those not directly hacked but who have also suffered because of the illegal phone taps.

It's already been aknowledged that model Elle McPherson was one celebrity whose mobile phone voice-mail messages were illegally listened to by the tabloid  News of The World employees, but one of her innocent associates ended up being sacked because of it.

 Mary Ellen Field was the Australian brand manager, legal adviser and confidante of Elle who advised and worked on McPherson's hugely successful range of personalised merchandise that has earned the supermodel a reputed $60 million dollar fortune.

When Elle McPherson discovered that messages between her and her adviser Field were mysteriously ending up as gossipy items in the media, she sacked the firm Mary Ellen worked for. As has been since discovered, Field and her employer were innocent of revealing Elle's confidential information.

On Friday the ABC radio broadcaster Mark Colvin spoke to Field's lawyer Mark Lewis who has issued court proceedings in Britain against News Corp on Field's behalf and who described the recent offer from News for compensation as not being quite all that it seems
Lewis responded to Colvin's question on compensation : " It's only partially true. What has been said by the Murdoch companies is that if a claim can be proved, that they will then compensate the people but the criteria that had been set out by Murdoch - I mean, it's very different, I mean we have a position where they're sort of playing Australian Rules Football and the game we're playing is cricket; they're just two different criteria. "

Read the full transcript on ABC News PM here, listen to the broadcast and download podcasts of previous ABC shows.

 ** The UK's Dail Mail has run a story on Andrew Bolt's continuing court case in which he is being sued by 9 Indigenous folk in a piece headlined : ''They're not really Aborigines': Right-wing columnist sparks race row in Australia".

The case has brought Bolt some unlikely supporters like the Sydney Morning Herald's legal columnist Richard Akland and the top political website, neither of which could be accused of leaning to the right in the political spectrum with many saying the case amounts to an attack upon free speech.

Bolt : ABC TV

In the past Bolt has questioned the veracity of Climate Change claims and if there really was a Stolen Generation- the practice of white 'protectors' forcibly removing Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander children to assimilate them into mainly white religious missions.

Aboriginal activists say the opposite as in this piece "An open letter to Andrew Bolt from a “half-caste”, “yella fella”, “half-breed” Kungarakan-Gurindji woman"
Read the full story at the Mail Online here.