During a high-profile phone-hacking trial against MGN, it was claimed that Piers Morgan, who edited the Mirror from 1995 to 2004, had explained how to hack into mobile phone voicemails to get news stories. In this article, we will explore the claims made against Morgan and examine whether there is any truth to them.
The phone-hacking scandal in the UK, which began in the late 2000s, continues to be one of the most talked-about events in the country’s media industry. It has been over a decade since the News of the World newspaper was shut down after it was revealed that the paper’s reporters had hacked into the mobile phone voicemails of celebrities, politicians, and other public figures to obtain information for news stories. Since then, other newspapers have been implicated in the scandal, including the Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN).
Who is Piers Morgan?
Piers Morgan is a British journalist, television personality, and media executive. He has worked for several newspapers, including the News of the World, the Daily Mirror, and the Daily Mail. He is also known for his work as a television presenter and judge on reality shows such as Britain’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent. In recent years, he has become a controversial figure, particularly for his views on social and political issues.
Piers Morgan’s Alleged Involvement in Phone Hacking
During the trial against MGN, prosecutor David Sherborne claimed that phone hacking was so widely used by journalists in the UK that it became the “go-to” method for obtaining stories. He alleged that Piers Morgan and other senior editors at the Mirror authorised the use of private investigators to employ illegal methods to get stories and “must have known” what they were doing. Sherborne also claimed that Morgan had explained to Benjamin Wegg-Prosser, a journalist who later became the director of strategic communications for Tony Blair, how to hack into voicemails.
In a written submission to the High Court, Wegg-Prosser claimed that Morgan had shown him how to hack into a mobile phone’s voicemail. According to Wegg-Prosser, Morgan had told him to call the target’s phone number, then enter the default PIN code (which, at the time, was usually “0000” or “1234”) when prompted. This would give the caller access to the target’s voicemail messages. Wegg-Prosser claimed that he had used this method to obtain information for a story he was working on.
Morgan has denied the allegations, stating that he has never hacked into anyone’s phone, nor has he ever instructed anyone to do so. In an interview with BBC Newsnight in 2013, he said, “I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, or published any stories based on the hacking of a phone.”
The Mirror Group Newspapers Phone Hacking Scandal
The Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) phone hacking scandal is one of the most significant media scandals in the UK. In 2011, the News of the World was shut down after it was revealed that its reporters had hacked into the mobile phone voicemails of celebrities, politicians, and other public figures. In the wake of this scandal, other newspapers, including the Mirror, were investigated for similar practices.
In 2013, Trinity Mirror (the parent company of MGN) admitted liability for phone hacking and set up a compensation fund for victims. In 2015, eight people, including former Mirror journalists, were convicted of phone hacking offences. The trial against MGN began in 2017, with several.