Yesterday, Charlotte Church found herself as the only phone hacking victim who hasn’t settled with Rupert Murdoch’s media empire in court.
Church, who claims that she was advised in 1999 to sing at Murdoch’s wedding to receive favorable press coverage, refused to settle a claim for damages in which her and her parents’ phones were allegedly hacked for four years. The News of the World wrote 33 stories about Church in that time period, of which one in particular seemed to bother Church the most: “Church in three in a bed cocaine shock.” The story is about her father, and her mother supposedly contemplated suicide after reading it.
In the “take-the-money-and-run” environment we live in today, Church’s refusal to settle is admirable. We often discuss the role money plays in the media and the production of quality stories, with the influence of the ‘bottom line’ often prevailing over all else.
It is refreshing to see someone place moral obligation above financial payout. Perhaps Church’s success as a singer may have allowed her to take such a stand, but it is still encouraging to hear nonetheless. I hope she sets a precedent for others contemplating a settlement against News of the World: no amount of money can ever buy your privacy.