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From the Chairman

There's right and there's wrong.

Sometimes, something happens where we all know it's wrong. We know that we could say so to a total stranger and that the stranger would automatically agree.  There's a basic human instinct inside us that tells us something is wrong and no amount of denial could alter it.

So it was with the phone-hacking scandal. Hacking into the Dowler family phones was wrong by any yardstick, at any time. To have hacked into the Dowler family phones in the situation of a missing child, for the sake of a titbit that would sell a few more newspapers, made me want to punch someone in the Murdoch empire, so that I could feel that I had levelled the score, in some tiny way. But punching someone was not going to help at all, except to make me feel better. All I could do was to utter words. Words to condemn the gutter mentality such actions display and which demeans us all.

Then, that basic human instinct, from which the Murdoch empire evidently excused itself, caused me and millions like me to jump onto Twitter, Facebook and any of the e-media that were close to hand. The voices of condemnation joined together, they were united and they were very, very loud.  E-media gave us the tools to force change in the here and now, for the first time in a major way. It was a voice so loud that not even governments, police, nor Murdoch himself could withstand it. He and his organisation were shown to be what they are, morally bankrupt. What an object lesson!

The walls of Jericho were brought down by trumpet blasts. The News of the World was brought down by Twitter and Facebook.

I do feel sorry for the innocent and the good reporters who got trampled underfoot in the demise but the institution needed to fall. We, as a people, needed that catharsis.

So what has all this to do with School Councils and school children? It is the technology of the young that the adults borrowed, to make their Twitter and Facebook protests. In the Twittersphere, any tweeter has equal access to that of any other tweeter. What counts is simply the quality of what is being said. My sons and their pals have the same capacity to influence as my pals and me.

Children and young people no longer accept adult-speak as the definition of what is right and wrong. They talk together, often through e-media, and form their own consensus view. That collaborative sense has forged itself into a wholly new force - our own small Arab Spring, if you like. And the adults are having to listen, with respect.

This seems to be a wholly good thing. The children have a great deal to teach the adults (News International and the press generally, the Police, politicians and so on), not least about morality, if only we, the adults, should care to listen.