Anti-muslim Murdoch at Leveson Inquiry
The Leveson Inquiry this month looks into the, “Relationship between press and politicians” with particular emphases on “benefits and risks to the public interest arising from relationships between senior politicians, at a national level, and the media” and “hearing views on the conditions that are necessary for a free press in a democracy to fulfil its role in holding politicians and the powerful to account.”
This was put to the test last week when Jeremy Hunt MP, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, gave evidence at the Inquiry concerning his lead role in adjudicating the News Corporation takeover bid for BSkyB (later withdrawn despite being cleared).
Hunt was tasked with adjudicating the bid after Business Secretary and Liberal Democrat Vince Cable, "declared war" on News Corporation boss, Rupert Murdoch and despite Hunt publically expressing support for the bid previously. The Telegraph reported that “Hunt defied officials’ advice and personally communicated with Murdoch executives while the Government was deciding on the bid. [Hunt’s] close contacts with James Murdoch and others raised questions about Cameron’s decision to put Mr Hunt in charge of the BSkyB decision in December 2010.” Despite this, the Prime Minister has publicly defended Hunt and not referred him to an investigation despite calls from all directions to do so. This was further questioned after Cameron moved swiftly to refer Baroness Warsi’s expenses case to an investigation, in what clearly appears to be a case of double standards.
A key issue throughout the inquiry, as well as that affecting Hunt now, is that of Rupert Murdoch and his media empire. Hunt has been accused of misleading Parliament twice and breaching the Ministerial Code. His close relationship with the Murdochs has been called into question. British Muslims should know all about Rupert Murdoch; the Rupert Murdoch who owns the staunch Republican and Zionist backed Fox News. The Rupert Murdoch who owns The Sun, which openly backed the Iraq war and continues to justify it. The Rupert Murdoch who owns the New York Post, which defended police surveillance on Muslims in New York (remember Birmingham and those cameras?). The Rupert Murdoch, who once warned an audience that Muslims were divisive. The Rupert Murdoch whose News of the World conducted phone hackings on celebrities, politicians and the missing Milly Dowler. The Rupert Murdoch whose Australian papers undermined the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement supporting Palestinian rights. All these and more highlight that Murdoch is no friend to Muslims (unless they’re rich Arabs, the ones out of touch with most other Muslims, backing his ventures).
However, as Muslims we have to understand what this means for us. It is a fact that Murdoch has not only formulated anti-Muslim and anti-Islam propaganda on a global scale, but the damage that he has done as a result of it. It is depressing to see a Muslim stooge such as Al Waleed bin Talal offering support to Murdoch's media empire. Now Muslims have to use this time, when his media empire is vulnerable, to ensure that such anti-Muslim media will cease on a mass scale. This can only be done if we prioritise the defence of Islam and Muslims via media and political avenues, which many Muslims still fail to do. Furthermore, Muslims need to hold their leaders account and not tolerate such abuse, be it Jeremy Hunt, David Cameron or bin Talal.
Alhamdu lillah, Islam Channel is launching its own inquiry to discover the media empire's coverage of Islam. We at MPACUK hope this is a very small step to something much bigger. We need to act and the time is now.