How the Sun might have stopped the Sharm El-Sheik bombing of the Russian jetliner. But their lawyers stopped them. Allegedly.

Posted: November 20, 2015 in Popular Culture et al
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Just some of those killed on the Russian flight.

Just some of those killed on the Russian Metrojet flight.

 

An amazing story has broken on the inside front cover of issue 1405 of the venerable and much loved scandal sheet Private Eye in the UK.

Their regular “Street of Shame” shame column reports that Nick Parker, Chief Foreign Correspondent of the populist tabloid Sun newspaper, had shocking news on last Friday’s front page: “Security at Sharm el-Sheikh airport has been exposed as a shambles after guards let Brits jump queues for a £15 fee – without checking their luggage.”

But as Private Eye alleges, it’s a pity he wasn’t allowed to write the story when he first discovered it, a full five months earlier.

They say it was while at Sharm airport in June this year that Parker heard of corrupt officials letting tourists avoid the queues – and bypass security and baggage checks – in return for cash backhanders.

He contacted his newsdesk and proposed an exposé of the lax security that was jeopardising the lives of holidaymakers. He would find an official, offer a £20 note and see if he could indeed get a bag through to flight-side without any checking.

Corporate prosecution

The newsdesk then contacted managing editor Stig Abell’s office, which informed chief compliance officer Imogen Haddon, who in turn consulted News Corp’s head office in New York and its Management and Standards Committee (MSC) – whereupon an urgent message was sent to Parker ordering him not to go ahead.

Why the panic? Private Eye say that since the News International scandals began, the Dirty Digger (Private Eye’s nickname for Rupert Murdoch) has been terrified of a corporate prosecution which could jeopardise his empire. Hence the creation of the MSC, which Private Eye argues kept the company out of the dock by grassing up individual hacks instead.

Hence, too, the reaction to Parker’s proposal: if he handed over £20 it might lead to charges against News Corp in America under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which applies to any company with US connections (such as News Corp) bribing foreign officials anywhere in the world. It might sound barmy, but that is how the News Corp minds now work.

So according to the Private Eye story the Sun missed its chance to expose the security failings at Sharm el-Sheikh.

And five months later, 224 entirely innocent Russian civilians were blown out of the sky.

In the interests of balance and fairness we should also say that the Currant Bun have denied the report. Indeed, the stunning claims in the magazine were met with a swift denial.

The publication’s managing editor, Stig Abell, said via Twitter the report was “sadly, totally untrue”. He also lamented being “blamed for a terrorist atrocity”. He also denied a story about the airport’s corruption was pitched or that money was involved.

We should also say that press watchers have poured scorn on their denial.

Which in the final wash up is all rather unsatisfactory.

Perhaps the Dirty Digger, long known for his enthusiastic use of Twitter to comment on world affairs and those he disagrees with, might care to clear things up?

 

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