British Prime Minister: Rebekah Brooks should have resigned from Murdoch’s News International

Washington Post | The Independent
While former editor of News of the World Andy Coulson is now in police custody, British Prime Minister David Cameron says others should also answer for the unethical and illegal practices that led to the paper’s closing Thursday.

At a news conference Friday morning, Cameron said Rebekah Brooks should have been allowed to resign and James Murdoch should answer questions about his leadership. Brooks, a friend of Cameron’s, is now chief executive of News International and was editor of News of the World during years when questionable practices occurred. Coulson also served as Cameron’s communications director until January. The Prime Minister acknowledged that relations between the government and the media have been part of the problem.

“This scandal is not just about some journalists on one newspaper. It’s not even just about the press. It’s also about the police. And yes — it’s also about how politics works and politicians too. …

“It is no good just pointing the finger at this individual journalist, or that individual newspaper. It’s no good, actually, just criticising the police.

“The truth is, we have all been in this together – the press, politicians and leaders of all parties – and yes, that includes me. We have not gripped this issue. …

Because party leaders were so keen to win the support of newspapers, we turned a blind eye to the need to sort this issue, get on top of the bad practices, to change the way our newspapers are regulated. …

“Look, it’s healthy that politicians and journalists speak to each other; know each other.

“Democracy is government by explanation and we need the media to explain what we’re trying to do.

“But this is a wake-up call. …

“We can do a hell of a lot better than we’ve done so far.Because as this scandal shows, while it’s vital that a free press can tell truth to power, it is equally important that those in power can tell truth to the press.”

Cameron called for an investigation into the phone-hacking and police payoffs, but he also called for a second inquiry into “the culture, the practices and the ethics of the British press.” The goal of that inquiry is to re-examine press regulation, which Cameron says has failed. “Press freedom,” he said, “does not mean that the press should be above the law.”

Related:

> Police are investigating whether News International deleted millions of emails that could have revealed daily communication between editors, reporters and outsiders such as private investigators. (The Guardian)

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