In a post yesterday on the Index on Censorship Blog, Brian Carthcart suggests that the “News of the World” phone hacking scandal has entered a new phase.  He argues that Glenn Mulcaire’s reported confirmation that a senior News of the World news editor, Ian Edmondson, commissioned him to hack phones “elevates a nagging problem into a national political crisis“.

He suggests that

The problem is most acute at the Murdoch press, which must now defend itself against the charge that its staff hacked phones with the blessing of management. It also has to explain why it has insisted for four years that the management didn’t even know.

In addition, to the issues faced by the Murdoch press, Professor Cathcart draws attention to the questions facing the Metropolitan Police Service, the mobile phone industry and finally

“the rest of the national press is on the brink of disgrace. With few exceptions they have deliberately ignored and belittled a scandal which, if they cared about honest journalism, they would have investigated with passionate vigour. Why, for example, did the Daily Mail not report this story properly? Paul Dacre should have to answer that”.

It is reported that the Deputy Prime Minister has backed the DPP’s “phone hacking” review, but Professor Cathcart is not impressed

Forget the idea of a paltry evidence review by the Director of Public Prosecutions. As the New York Times implied months ago, this affair makes Britain look like Berlusconi’s Italy. Let’s demand a full public inquiry or a Royal Commission to open the doors and let the stink out.

The full post can be read on the Index on Censorship Blog, along with earlier posts by Professor Cathcart on this issue which can be found, here, here, here and here.

Meanwhile,  there appears to be an increasing number of  “phone hacking” cases coming before the courts.  It was reported at the weekend the former England footballer Paul Gascoigne is to bring proceedings against the “News of the World” and Glenn Mulcaire.  Claims by Kieren Fallon and Chris Tarrant have been mentioned.  The High Court list today, shows the following applications listed before Mr Justice Vos (who made the disclosure orders in Clifford v News Group [2010] EWHC 221 (Ch)).

IHC 860/10 Coogan v Newsgroup Newspapers Ltd & anr
IHC 876/10 Gray v Same.

These appear to concern the “phone hacking” cases of Andy Gray and Steve Coogan.  We will report on the results of these applications.