Long challenges Cameron on ‘Courting support of the media’ in Commons

East Belfast Alliance MP Naomi Long has challenged the Prime Minister in the House of Commons during his statement on the proposed inquiry into the phone hacking scandal involving about the culture of political parties courting media support. She has also welcomed the decision of News Corp to withdraw their bid to take over BSkyB and expressed her hope that the inquiry proposed by the Prime Minister would lead to more open, transparent relationship between media, police and political in future.

Mrs. Long said, “During the Prime Minister’s statement in the House of Commons today, he said that it was understandable for politicians to explain their position and court the support of the media. I challenged him on this as, whilst it is both sensible and necessary for politicians to explain their views to the media and via the media to the public, I do not believe that politicians should be ‘courting the support of media’ or cultivating inappropriately close relationships with the media.

“The allegations in relation to the extent of phone hacking and payments to the police have shaken the public’s confidence in the way the media, police and politicians interact and I believe that there must be changes so that we move away from a culture in which politicians are seen to have an overly close relationship with very powerful media interests.

“I welcomed the decision to have this wide-ranging inquiry; however, given its scope, there remained concerns that decisions relating to the News Corp bid to take over BSkyB could be made ahead of the completion of the inquiry. I am glad that News Corp have now withdrawn that bid.

“I had previously written to the Culture Minister to ask him to refer the matter to the Competition Commission, even before these most recent revelations were made known, as I believe that plurality in the media is important to ensure that no one individual or group of individuals has too much power over our media. In light of the phone hacking scandal, this is of even more significance.”


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