Media responsibility is the price of freedom

Prince Harry’s win against the Mirror Group newspapers over phone hacking has sent shock waves round the tabloid press. He is regarded as a man on a mission with other cases aimed at different media groups still to come. The damages were small compared to what was asked and he was only proved correct in half of the 33 instances his lawyers produced. Lame claims dismissed include some when he was 12 before he even had a mobile phone, and others where the information came from Palace briefings. See

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/prince-harry-claims-phone-hacking-case-mirror-newspapers-0fk20lpvm

  But the legal costs could be huge for the media groups and it could lead to more restrictions. The red tops undoubtedly acted badly and hacking Milly Dowler, a murder victim’s phone was the final straw in 2011 which closed down Murdoch’s News of the World and led to the Leveson Inquiry.  

  It is a contentious area with concern about SLAPP litigations (strategic legal actions against public participation) which aim to prevent investigations and discussions about matters of public interest. The government defines them as “an abuse of the legal process, where the primary objective is to harass, intimidate and financially and psychologically exhaust one’s opponent via improper means”.

  Hacked Off, a campaign group founded on the back of the furore on 5 July 2011, which numbers Hugh Grant amongst their front line members has been accused of being a “secretive pressure group … of wealthy and powerful individuals and celebrities … which has successfully campaigned for state control of the media”.

  Finding a balance in the middle of this minefield is not easy.

 Hacked Off does look cheered by this win with its Jupiter in Taurus exactly on its Jupiter return. It has a Sun Venus in self-protective Cancer opposition Pluto square Saturn opposition Uranus – so is both revolutionary and controlling. Keen to upset the status quo, break the old mould and be in charge.

  IPSO, the press standards body, 8 September 2014, is making plaintive noises about the risks of landing more restrictions on the media. They have a Virgo Sun and Venus opposition Neptune Moon which isn’t too robust; with a maybe downtrodden Saturn Mars in Scorpio which is being rattled up through next year.

 The Mirror Group is only one outfit in Harry’s crosshairs and is suffering all the woes anyway of a falling market for newspapers.  It is sagging badly in 2025/26.

 Piers Morgan who went off on a typical whing-ding at the court result is insisting only one of Harry’s claims were during his tenure as editor and were not the result of hacking and he was not called as a witness despite which the judge deemed him to be in the know and Leveson had previously made a few scathing comments about his ‘unpersuasive’ testimony.

  Although his past beef has been with Meghan Markle for treating him as a useful media leg up until she met Harry and then ghosted him, he looks more aggrieved with Harry ahead.  Morgan, 30 March 1965, is a pro-active, resilient Sun Venus in Aries with a volcanic Mars, Uranus, Pluto in Virgo opposition Saturn (Moon) in Pisces. His stormy Mars Uranus Pluto falls in Harry’s 8th close to Harry’s Mercury and square Harry’s Uranus Mars in Sagittarius so it is a combustible mix. Their relationship chart is pretty locked together and worsening through 2024, more so in 2025/26.  

Prince Harry looks mildly cheered by this result with tr Jupiter trine his Mercury and his Solar Arc square his 9th house (legal maters) Saturn this year. But in general he’s not looking great ahead with several mountains to climb of setbacks etc over the next two years which may not be all media court cases.

  The tabloids did this to themselves but there are principles above and beyond amoral gutter journalists and spoilt celebrities who only want PR puffs printed about them. Or in Harry’s case want the freedom to trash others himself but not keen to be on the receiving end.   

16 thoughts on “Media responsibility is the price of freedom

  1. There have been rumours that H has been selling info to the press for years. Well before he met M. Mind you they did have to investigate as he is known to not exactly tell the truth.

    But they still paid him because there were times that he did tell the truth. So while certain members of the press did despicable things like hacking Millie Dowler’s phone. H isn’t exactly an innocent in all this. And 15 out of 33 is less than half. And before anyone asks where I got the information, it was some years ago. But it does come up occasionally on other sites. It just isn’t the original site that I accessed.

  2. Marjorie is this ‘media’? The exposes on World In Action and Panorama pre-90s and all the independent news media that have been throttled into direct and indirect silence of late did actually report serious things we need to know about home-grown economic and political sleights of hand – Some of the things we learned were hair-raising. We also could learn about political and economic authors publishing books exposing a lot of corruption – All books that are buried and censored from public view. The bread and circuses of this ‘media’ and ‘news’ seems harmful weapons of mass distraction! Just sayin…

  3. Just an aside, I saw this comment in one of the BBC articles “https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-67732229”

    “The articles that broke the law date back to a time when newspapers were the gatekeepers of information and when millions read the tabloids. They were in a vicious battle for exclusives and stories about the royals sold.

    Certainly, at the time, Mirror Group’s newspapers implicated in the judgment wanted scoops and were willing to break the law to get them. The media landscape is very different now, with newspaper groups buffeted by the headwinds of social media and the internet, as well as a fall in advertising – and crucially, readers.

    Circulations are a fraction of what they were. Which means the value of these newspapers has fallen dramatically too. In March 2005 for example, at their peak, shares in Reach PLC which owns the Daily and Sunday Mirror and the People were worth £6.72. Earlier on Friday, they were valued at 71p.”

    Quite interesting to think about how our consumption has changed – maybe we can chalk up Pluto in Sag as having been the “death of publishing”?

    Also applies to an extent to TV, films and the rise in online streaming.

    • Interesting idea – Pluto in Sag (1995 onwards) the death of publishing. I have a suspicion the decay started somewhat before that. Partly what drove it was the money men stepping in to take over from the old newspaper barons who may have been rogues but they mainly kept journalistic zeal alive and well. Investigative journalism is labour/time intensive thus expensive never mind the legal costs when those being exposed bat back. The financiers wanted easy returns which came as the celebrity culture took over. And indeed they fed into promoting superficial dross at the expense of real journalism which gave fame and money to valueless non-talent.
      The WWW came on the back of the triple conjunction in Capricorn – maybe that’s when the cracks started to appear.

      • I suspect you’re right that it can’t be pinpointed on any one moment. It’s all gradual change. When print media was the quickest, they only needed to report facts and events to sell copy. Diverting to celebrity gossip no doubt made up some of the shortfall as TV/radio began to provide news more instantly.

        There’s definitely been a change though as everybody now gets the news on their phone instantly. Even TV/radio can be too slow now that we don’t even have the Six O’Clock news or News at 10 anymore. I came across an old copy of our local newspaper from 2006 that I’d saved a while back. It was probably 3-4 times as thick as it is now.

        I wonder if in some ways, it’s not the part of the cycle towards the Aqua.Piscean willingness to encompass everything. Slowly people are being distracted by stuff that really isn’t important or relevant to them. Maybe at some stage, it all gets very Ariies/Taurus again and people are only interested in what directly affects them.

        • Interesting what you say about Aquarius, GD. The first newspaper (as opposed to newsletters) in the UK was the Oxford Gazette, 7th November, 1665. Published as a consequence of the Great Plague, and Charles II and court moving to Oxford. It has Jupiter 14 Aquarius conjunct Uranus 16 Aquarius, square Sun 15 Scorpio. It also, like the chart for the Daily Mirror Marjorie’s posted here, had Mercury 26 Libra, and Pluto 27 Gemini.

          As for published celebrity gossip, it has a long history. It was very popular during the 18th century and Regency period, along with very rude, satirical cartoons. Celebrity endorsement of products followed in the magazines and newspapers of the 19th century.

          “According to Curzon, one of the most influential of these magazines was Town and Country Magazine, published from 1769 to 1796. “It contained the Tête-à-Tête column, one of the first of what we would recognize as gossip columns,” explains Curzon. “Each month, it would choose a celebrity couple—though their names were redacted, they were shown in small portraits—and profile their love lives and associated scandals. Part of the social whirlwind of the coffeehouse was sharing these stories and working out exactly who the article was referring to!” Town and Country Magazine article, January 2021

  4. Thank you, Marjorie. I believe there are around 100 other claimants against MGN (including Elton John and the estate of George Michael) and Harry’s case is one of 6 lawsuits he is waging against other British tabloids. While it’s true that he also uses the media for his own publicity (Netflix and ‘Spare’), he has now paved the way for other litigants to come forward. MGN’s astrology does indeed look painful well into next year and indeed, the years following but I have also noticed other media organisations, particularly ITV look to be battered by Neptune as it completes its journey through Pisces.

  5. I’m a little lazy to think this through, but when creating composite charts where we don’t know the time of birth of one person, how many degrees can the Moon position in the composite be off, plus or minus?

    • About 6, I reckon.

      Harry’s is at 21 Taurus. Morgan’s will range from about 3-15PIsces. Therefore composite comes in at 12-18Aries.

      The bigger problem is houses can all be way off. I know when I’ve tried composites with people I don’t have a time for, the composite planet can be something like 90degs either side of my natal position in terms of its house. Take my 7th house Jupiter. The composite Jupiter will always fall something like 5-11th house – I can never achieve say a 1st house Jupiter composite.

  6. Let’s face it – the tabloids helped make Harry into the man he is today
    It started when he was young and we do not know what really went in in the palace ( I am not talking about the Queen) but about place advisors and press and a father who just wanted to marry his love and being in the second position – this is on them

    • It’s funny how people trash Harry when he has had to live with all of the lies that the tabloids have told.

      From Harry not being Charles’s biological son to propagating the rumors that the Queen along with Charles had Diana killed because they were afraid that she would have married Dodi and given him children thereby making the future king William half-sibling to Muslims to little things like Charles wanting a boy and a girl–basically he didn’t want Harry and Charles proclaiming that he never loved Diana.

      But yeah Harry is just a bad seed with no trauma.

        • Let’s not forget Prince Andrew, despite his naval presence fighting for the country in the Falklands; has always been an object of media attention with stories about “Randy Andy” and Koo Stark. ‘and his other half Fergie was constantly ridiculed as fat etc. I guess he gets a pass too then!?

        • Agree, I don’t think anyone wants their private messages hacked and used for tabloid fodder. Harry deserves that respect same as any other person, and no journalist should defend what these papers have done.

          I don’t understand conflating one’s PR efforts with being hacked. One is a choice that public figures and companies invest in, whilst hacking is a crime.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: