Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: NI and Republic of Ireland stories


Journalist Keith Baker takes a look at what is making the headlines in Wednesday's newspapers.

Another day, another chapter in the phone hacking row.

The Belfast Telegraph and the Independent share a story.

The Independent has a front-page picture of the News International chief Rebekah Brooks with her boss Rupert Murdoch.

The papers claim says that when she was editor of the News of the World she personally commissioned one of the private investigators involved in the Millie Dowler affair to trace the owner of a mobile phone.

The Independent says this challenges her claim that she knew nothing about hacking.

The Telegraph says these are dark days for the tabloid press and worrying times for the media in general.

Postpone call

On several front pages, there are pictures of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

This is the allegation that their families' mobiles were hacked as well.

The Guardian has been leading the way on this story. It says that the police are now examining every high-profile case involving the murder or abduction of children and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is expected to be one of the first to be reviewed.

It also calls on the government to postpone its final decision on the Murdoch takeover of the broadcaster BSkyB until it is known whether anyone will face criminal charges.

There is much indignation in the leader columns.

The Financial Times accuses the Murdoch organisation of shamefully dragging its feet for nearly five years. It calls on him to set aside personal loyalties and remove executives with any involvement in the affair.

The Daily Mail says it is all a squalid and shameful saga that besmirches the whole newspaper industry.

The same thought is reflected in a Daily Telegraph cartoon. A couple are going visiting. The woman says to her husband: "Don't tell people you work for a newspaper. Pretend you are a member of the Gaddafi family."

In the Murdoch papers, the front page of the Sun has more on Cheryl and Ashley Cole.

There is a picture of Victoria Beckham with her large bump and a story about a lottery to get fertility treatment.

There is nothing about the hacking story until you get to page six where there is a piece about Rebekah Brooks being sickened by the allegations.

The story is on the front page of The Times. It talks of pressure for a public inquiry into claims of widespread hacking by newspapers, (the wording suggesting, of course, that it might not be just the News of the World).


In a leader, the paper says that because it is owned by News International itself it has so far not commented on the issue but it has changed that approach now.

It reckons journalists are now in their version of the MPs' expenses scandal.

But it says it must become clear in time whether allegations harden into facts and whether the criminal law has been broken.

The local front pages are dominated by different issues.

University tuition fees lead in the Irish News. It says the minister responsible for student fees has proposed increasing the price of a degree to as much as £5,000 a year.

In the News Letter, there is a row about rioting and those involved in it. It says the Attorney General has sparked controversy by rejecting calls for automatic prison terms for those who are caught.

Finally, the Irish Times reports that the Irish website of Sony Music has become the latest of the company's sites to fall victim to an attack.

Apparently fake news stories appeared on the site on Tuesday.

One claimed that members of the band The Script had died.

Another said that the X Factor was for the stupid.

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