29 Dec 2012

Top 10: what news were you reading in 2012?

What news has defined 2012? Is it the violence of Syria or the jubilation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games? Channel 4 News counts down the top most viewed stories on our website this year.

10: Threats and silence: the intimidation by Rangers fans

Rangers FC (Reuters)

Our tenth most read story of 2012 is also the most read blog post of the year – an instalment of Channel 4 News Chief Correspondent Alex Thomson’s investigation into financial mismanagement and skulduggery around Rangers Football Club.

His investigation has gone behind the scenes at Rangers, as the club suffered financial meltdown and entered administration. The assets of the club were then bought by a new company, which then joined the Scottish Football League third divison.

In Threats and Silence, Alex details intimidation by a minority of Rangers fans against a range of people, including lawyers, football authorities and the media.

Read Threats and silence: the intimidation by Rangers fans.

9. Australian tourist’s bungee cord snaps

Australian tourist's bungee cord snaps

A New Year’s Eve bungee jump could have ended in disaster for Australian backpacker Erin Langworthy. The 22-year-old’s bungee cord snapped after she leapt from the Victoria Falls bridge, 111-metres above the Zambesi river on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, dropping her into the water below.

The moment was caught on camera, and as well as being the ninth most read article of the year, that video is also one of the most viewed – with 642,000 views on the Channel 4 News Youtube page alone.

Ms Langworthy escaped the incident with just cuts and bruises and the following week Zambia’s tourism minister attempted to allay concerns about bungee jumping in the county by jumping from the same bridge.

Read the story and watch the video: Australian tourist's bungee cord snaps.

8. How Jimmy Savile revealed all in the psychiatrist’s chair

Jimmy Savile (Reuters)

Few stories have had so significant an impact on the public perception of a celebrity as the allegations against former radio DJ and Jim’ll Fix It host Jimmy Savile.

The case has rocked the British institution that is the BBC and has triggered an enormous police investigation which has led to several other celebrity arrests.

Clues to the star’s disturbed psyche can be found in a chilling interview with the late BBC psychiatrist Anthony Clare. During the interview Savile describes how he has “ultimate freedom” and says that he “could be corrupted”.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr Seena Fazel, who has studied dozens opf child sex abuse cases and analysed the transcript for Channel 4 News, said that he believes Savile’s problems stem from unresolved childhood issues and “emotional poverty”.

Read How Jimmy Savile revealed all in the psychiatrist's chair.

7. ‘Kony 2012 video could be damaging for Uganda’

Lords Resistance Army leader Joseeph Kony (Reuters)

An internet video campaign, calling for the arrest of Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony, leader of the Lords Resistance Army, was watched more than 95 million times in 2012.

However, as Channel 4 News reported, there were concerns that the video was damaging to the country. Mareike Schomerus of the London School of Economics raised concerns that the video was simplifying Ugandan politics, and that “the notion that if you get rid of the linchpin you will see an end to the violence defies common sense”.

Kony’s rebel army is believed to have killed and mutilated tens of thousands of people across east and central Africa over 25 years.

Read 'Kony 2012 video could be damaging for Uganda’

6. CCTV casts doubt on account of Andrew Mitchell exchange

Former chief whip Andrew Mitchell (Reuters)

The idea of a privately-educated, senior member of government calling police officers “plebs” fits well with some perceptions of the Conservative Party. However, CCTV footage uncovered by Channel 4 News and Dispatches cast doubt on the police log version of events.

Our story showing the CCTV footage is the sixth most read of the year since being published 11 days ago. Two officers have been arrested in relation to the incident, Metropolitan Police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe cut his Christmas holiday short, and Downing Street has been forced to defend David Cameron over his handling of the affair.

Read the story and watch the footage: CCTV casts doubt on account of Andrew Mitchell exchange

5. Where is the best place to live in England and Wales?

Village scene (Reuters)

Every Englishman’s home is his castle – but if that castle is located in a certain village in Devon, then you’re likely to be happier than most. At least that is what a report produced towards the end of 2011 said.

The report looked at 2,400 postcodes based on factors such as crime levels, education standards and house prices. Despite being published last year, the story has remained a top hit on the Channel 4 News website – proving the old adage on the importance of “location, location, location”.

Find out which village came top, and see the top 20 list: Where is the best place to live in England and Wales?

4. Sri Lanka war crimes video: woman’s body identified

Journalist Shoba, who was identified as a victim of an execution in Sri Lanka

The bloody legacy of Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war remained in the news over 2012. Stories that emerged included the UN’s damning internal report on how it handled the final stages of the tragedy, evidence of war crimes being revealed and deportations of Tamils from the UK back to the country.

The most read story was the investigation by Channel 4 News, from 2010, which named one of the victims of an execution of Tamils, as a woman journalist, Shoba, who was a member of the Tamil Tigers press and communications wing.

Read Sri Lanka 'war crimes' video: woman's body identified. Warning - page contains disturbing images.

3. Black boxes to monitor all internet and phone data

A magnifying glass held over a Facebook page (Reuters)

Concerns rose that Britain would develop the “most intrusive surveillance regime in the West” as details of government plans to force internet and phone firms to collect communications data emerged.

The government told mobile phone operators and internet service providers that they would need to install the “black boxes” to capture data, including Facebook and Gmail messages. The changes are a part of the government’s controversial Communications Bill.

In December, the government announced it would redraft the bill after it was criticised for providing the Home Office with “sweeping powers” over personal data.

Read 'Black boxes' to monitor all internet and phone data.

2. Exclusive: Syrian doctors torturing patients

A Syrian whistleblower revealed torture taking place in state-run hopsitals

In the UK we take for granted that if you are injured and go to hospital, the medical staff will try and heal you. In Syria, however, protestors against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, found state-run hospitals turned into torture chambers.

A whistleblower revealed to Channel 4 News, via secretly filmed video evidence, that those shot or injured in Homs were being taken to in the area’s Military Hospital – where they were shackled to beds, blindfolded, beaten and tortured.

The footage shows typical implements of torture, a rubber whip and an electrical cable, lying on a table in a ward.

Watch the video and read the investigation: Exclusive: Syrian doctors torturing patients.

1. Should you let your child play in Habbo hotel?

One of the rooms in Habbo Hotel

A recurrent theme of 2012 has been the corruption of child innocence, and the goings on at Habbo Hotel, an online game for teenagers, was an example of this.

A Channel 4 News investigation uncovered that the site was full of pornographic sexual chat, despite it being aimed at children as young as 13 years old. Since the investigation Sulake, the owner of the site, has put more stringent security in place – including forcing users to “earn” the right to chat with others.

Read Should you let you child play in Habbo Hotel?