Media Briefs...Did Irish News of the World hack phones for stories?

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Hugh Grant (left) secretly taped former News of the World editor Paul McMullan defending phone hacking tactics. (Credit: BBC, screenshot)

Former News of the World features editor Paul McMullan did not deny that the publication’s Irish office used the same phone-hacking tactics as the English edition of News of the World, according to Irish news site The Journal. McMullan also wrote “a series of articles in the 1990s for the Irish edition of News of the World,” according to the Journal.

McMullan  “would not definitively commit to a ‘yes’ or ‘no'” as to whether the Irish News of the World hacked phones during a July 8 interview with radio broadcaster Newstalk’s Chris O’Donoghue. McMullan merely stated that the phone-hacking tactics that drew complaints in England “didn’t just stop at national borders.”  McMullan added that journalists from the Irish News of the World were “well-schooled in the grey arts.”

However, Ireland’s Press Ombudsman and Data Protection Commissioner have not received complaints of Irish newspapers hacking into phones, the Irish Times reported.

McMullan also reportedly defended phone-hacking tactics in an informal meeting with actor Hugh Grant, who secretly taped his statements, The New Statesman reported on April 11. (Read Grant’s article on the interview here.)

“You’re transmitting your thoughts and your voice over the airwaves,” McMullan told Grant, who may file a lawsuit against News of the World for phone hacking. “How can you not expect someone to just…listen in?”

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Did Irish News of the World hack phones for stories?

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