Today marks the beginning of a phone-hacking trial centered on two former bosses at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp: Rebekah Brooks, once head of News International, and Andy Coulson, former editor of the now-shuttered News of the World. Brooks is accused of hacking mobile phone messages, paying off public officials, and hiding evidence, the BBC reports; Coulson is charged with phone hacking and improper payments. Five of their colleagues face similar charges; all deny wrongdoing.
British media has a long record of "intrusion into peoples’ lives without a public interest—of distortion, of bullying, even blackmailing," says an activist for the industry's reform. An inquiry headed by Judge Brian Leveson last year resulted in recommendations for new regulations, but they were quickly weakened; they also prompted fears for press freedoms, the New York Times notes. While the country's three top parties have planned a regulating body, media leadership have rejected the plan; they'd prefer to install a watchdog on their own terms. Click for more. (Read more Andy Coulson stories.)