Essay on World Phone Hacking Scandal

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In March of 2002, Milly Dowler, a 13 year old student, was abducted and later murdered. From the time of the abduction until her body was found in September of that year, her family and friends had maintained hope through the fact that Milly’s voicemails were being deleted, giving them hope that Milly may have still been alive. However, in July of 2011, it was reported that it was in fact reporters from the Rupert Murdoch owned News of the World paper checking the phone messages and inadvertently deleting them. This was when the public became aware of an ongoing investigation into a scandal that had started years before. Every corporation faces ethical decisions on a daily basis, including the news media. While a news outlet may not have…show more content…
Except in limited circumstances, we do not use hidden cameras; any exceptions should first be discussed with the top newsroom manager and the legal department (New York Times, 2005). By hacking into voicemails and wiretapping individuals, News of the World employees were breaking ethical standards in journalism. The decisions made by a few individuals instilled a corporate culture that eventually ended up affecting an entire industry. Rupert Murdoch is said to believe that “in the newsroom, where you do whatever it takes to get the story, take no prisoners, destroy the competition, and the end will justify the means”. That being said, most forms of information gathering practices are sent from “the top down”, meaning the person in charge of the paper tells the rest of the employees how they can or cannot get information about a story (Bernstein, 2011). Newspapers are highly competitive, and Murdoch’s empire is one of the most well-known and most lucrative media outlets. Whether Murdoch knew nothing of the hacking (as he continues to testify) or not, the chance for the large amount of financial gains and potential losses from scooping competitors can make a person pursue unethical behaviors. These individual factors played a huge role in the creation of organizational factors for which Murdoch may or may not have been aware of. Murdoch’s philosophy created a corporate culture that ignored industry standards in ethical
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