NO doubt if it was happening in Mexico or Guatemala, the systematic persecution of a national newspaper’s journalists by the police and State would be all over Professor Greenslade’s Guardian blog. But it’s not. It’s happening here and now, and nobody seems to give a shit.
It seems that not a week goes by without another group of Sun journos having their collars felt by the Old Bill after being grassed up by their own employer for making ‘inappropriate payments’ to public officials, alleged ‘evidence’ seemingly based on nothing more than ancient expenses claims – in some cases more than 10 years old.
You will have your own view on the appalling actions of the Management and Standards Committee at News International; of more concern should be the petty and vindictive behaviour of the police conducting the arrests.
Why is it deemed necessary to arrest people in front of their families at six o’clock in the morning instead of them being asked to report to the nick with their solicitor at 10am? These are not ‘breaking’ urgent crimes that need immediate and sudden investigation. They are part of a decade-long inquiry.
Perhaps the cops fear that important evidence might be destroyed if they give warning of their intent; a dodgy restaurant receipt being flushed down the toilet as the front door is kicked in.
And why is it then necessary to lock people up in a cell for up to 12 hours before even beginning to question them? It’s not as if they don’t know they’re going to arrive, is it? It’s bullying and intimidation and exactly the sort of thing we’d be ranting about if it happened to a civilian.
It’s time for our trade to set aside its traditional reluctance to become part of the story. In this case, we are the story.