Sunday, 24 July 2011

Terrorist Attacks - Why do we always now presume Al Qaeda?

After finding out about the terrible events that have occurred in Oslo yesterday, having now left at least 92 people dead, I immediately thought "oh no! Al Qaeda and muslim extremists again". Seems the media outlets had the same idea as they splashed 'Al Qaeda' across their frontpages and websites.

This got me thinking, why do we immediately presume their involvement? its not like other terror groups don't exist in other parts of the world. Of course not many of these have too many a gripe with Norway, granted, but jumping the gun every time and hesitating to suggest other causes is inhibiting our abilities to make rational clear judgements on world events.

As it turns out, our initial assumptions seem to being proved wrong with the suggestion of a christian fundamentalist /right wing european cause being the culprit. This flies in the face of Islam being the only extremist religion and reminds us that all religions have extremist elements and these can be played out in numerous ways, in different parts of the world.

We have a societal duty not to cast aspersions on other people and communities, basing it solely on past actions and history. The press also have a duty not to publicise reports that could inflame community relations, especially when they have little substantiating evidence. Lets all learn a lesson from this, myself included, next terror attack; "oh no!, I wonder who was behind that? lets find out first!".

Monday, 4 July 2011

How low can the News of the World actually go?

News outlets are a blaze with the discovery that the News of the World (part of the News International Group partly owned by Rupert Murdoch) had ordered the hacking of Millie Dowler's phone, and whats worst, this was during her missing person investigation being active for only a couple of days.

David Cameron's former Communications Director. How can Cameron be independent with links to News of the World?
The House of Commons was shocked to discover this news through Tom Watson MP (Labour) who consulted the Speaker, John Bercow before returning to his place and putting forward a point of order on the basis that the news released through the Dowler family's solicitor appears to suggest that Rebekah  Brooks, the then paper's editor has now lied to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee when she appeared in front of them in 2003. The Speaker suggested he make a call for the government to make a statement in the house on this developing issue so watch this space...

Apart from the unbelievable news that the NoW felt it prudent and acceptable to hack and interrupt with a missing person's phone, they inadvertently gave false hope to already distraught parents and family members whilst quite possibly creating false leads for a police investigation team who were only just getting to grips with the then crisis situation.

This will strengthen political and privacy campaigner's calls for new privacy laws as well as shoring up of the protection that has already been put in place with respect to the previous phone hacking scandals. Moreover, this development will put into question more calls over Murdoch's equity takeover of BSkyB and whether the Conservative Jeremy Hunt, Secretary for Culture, Media and Support will continue to be swayed by his party's connections to Murdoch and News International or will in fact address people's concerns and look again and the takeover proposals.

Either way, it looks like this particular story and the climate of speculation around it is set to multiply with voices over police investigations being interrupted growing and whether we now know the lowest depths that News of the World are prepared to go for a story and the greed to sell papers, I personally suspect that they will have gone a lot lower, time will tell and I'll be here to comment on it.