London: Bethany Usher, a former journalist
and senior Journalism lecturer at Teesside University, was
on Wednesday arrested by the police in connection with the
phone-hacking scandal at the defunct, News of the World.
31-year-old Usher, who worked for the media baron Rupert's
Murdoch's tabloid from 2005-2007, was held on suspicion of
conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages.
Usher is the 17th person to be arrested under the
'Operation Weeting', which is investigating the scandal.
She was named the Young Journalist of the Year in 2003.
The arrest came at a time when Alistair Campbell, the
controversial aide of former Prime Minister Tony Blair,
deposed before the Leveson Inquiry, and said the British press
is "frankly putrid in many of its elements".
A former journalist, Campbell, who worked closely with
Blair during his time as prime minister and was widely
considered a 'spin doctor', said many newspapers considered
their coverage of celebrities was a "public service".
In his witness statement to the inquiry, Campbell said:
"Editors are under enormous pressure. Journalists are under
enormous pressure. In most of the newsrooms, there are fewer
of them with more pages and online space to fill, and less
time to do it.
"These are important factors, but they should not be
excuses to let standards and ethics slip".
Stating that the freedom of the press being defended most
loudly had become a part of the press that is "barely worth
defending", he said: "A very, very small number of people have
changed the newspaper industry so they've now frankly
besmirched the name of every journalist in the country".
newspaper industry, blaming it on a "fiercely competitive
market" and the drive to copy celebrity magazines.
First Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 22:10