An open letter to James Wharton, MP for Stockton South

Dear Mr. Wharton, MP. Please, in the interest of transparency and moral decency, apply pressure on your parliamentary colleagues to pause the decision on News International’s proposed take over of BSkyB, until the police enquiry into corruption of it’s own officers and the separate enquiry into the News of the World hacking scandal are concluded.

The allegation that police were paid to tip off journalists working for Rupert Murdoch and that those same journalists hacked the phone of dead service personnel, victims of serious crime and public figures, makes a very strong case for the argument that News International is not a ‘fit and proper’ organisation to own a media outlet—as per Ofcom’s stipulation.

Please take up the example given by Tom Watson MP, in highlighting many of these issues, not least being Andy Coulson’s role in Downing Street, and apply similar scrutiny to the involvement of former News International employees who now advise the Labour party.

Ed Miliband’s lacklustre attitude to this scandal, until such time it became politically expedient for him to jump on the bandwagon, is a great source of discomfort and embarrassment for myself and many other traditional Labour voters.

There is a real opportunity here, for those of us who want a strong, free media—something I know your background in information technology has made you passionate about—to secure the future of legitimate journalism against those who pantomime a belief in investigative reporting, while serving a far more sinister agenda.

The tide of change is with all of us in this regard. I’m sure I do not need to tell you how incredible it was to watch Facebook, Twitter and other social media, explode in one passionate, unified, democratic voice of condemnation against News International, when it transpired that Milly Dowler was not only the victim of the worst crime imaginable, but of one which could only have been allowed to happen because of the complacency of politicians who get into bed with the likes of Rupert Murdoch. This cannot be allowed to happen again.

James Murdoch has made perfectly clear his ambitions for the BBC. We can presume his hit list now includes, if it didn’t already, The Guardian, Channel 4 and other news organisations who have vigorously exposed the true extent of his father’s legacy. If the BSkyB deal goes ahead, the Daily Mail and Richard Desmond are guaranteed to support him in his personal vendetta against a truly open media—just as many in your own party are as likely to look the other way while they do this, as they did in the case of Rebekah Brooks.

If News International are allowed to buy BSkyB, this fair game policy of intrusion into the lives of private citizens and widespread collaboration with the criminal underworld, is only set to continue.

If we are to learn from the lesson of what happened at the News of the World, let us also consider the possibility that it was closed, resulting the loss of many jobs, simply in order to isolate News Corp. from an investigation into its practises in the United States—where the die was first cast for Murdoch’s ambitions at BSkyB with the purchase of several small media outlets over 15 years ago.

Now branded Fox News, the resulting media giant which emerged from these acquisitions, has had an impact upon intelligent, informed political discourse, in the nation which has given us fascists in conservative clothing like the Tea Party, Glenn Beck, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman, in ways which should not need explaining any further to an educated man such as yourself.

Please do not allow to happen in our country, what has already happened in the United States.

Please feel free to contact me on XXXX XXXX XXX

Thank you for your time.

James Gardner.

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