Murdoch admits 'cover-up' at News of the World

Rupert Murdoch admitted on Thursday there was a "cover-up" over phone hacking at Britain's News of the World tabloid but tried to shift the blame away from himself and senior executives at his media empire.

The tycoon told an official inquiry in Britain he had "failed" by not ordering an internal investigation sooner, but insisted that staff at the now-defunct paper kept top bosses at US-based News Corp. in the dark.

"There's no question in my mind that, maybe even the editor but certainly beyond that, someone took charge of a cover-up which we were victim to and I regret that," he said in his second day of evidence to the Leveson Inquiry.

"I think the senior executives were all... misinformed and all shielded from anything that was going on there and I do blame one or two people for that whom I shouldn't name because for all I know they may be arrested yet."

The News of the World's royal editor and a private investigator were jailed in 2007 for phone hacking but the industrial scale of the practice at the paper did not emerge until a new police probe was launched in January 2011.

Pressed by the senior judge leading the inquiry, Brian Leveson, about why he did not take further action over allegations against one of his biggest-selling newspapers, Murdoch added: "I also have to say that I failed."

The scandal fully erupted in July last year when it emerged the News of the World had hacked the mobile phone voicemail messages of Milly Dowler, a murdered British schoolgirl, sparking public outrage.

Murdoch shut the Sunday tabloid when advertisers boycotted it and Prime Minister David Cameron set up the Leveson Inquiry to probe the ethics of the press and its relations with politicians and police.

Asked on Thursday where the cover-up originated, the 81-year-old tycoon said it was "from within the News of the World."

"There were one or two very strong characters there who I think had been there many, many, many years and were friends of the journalists," he said.

"The person I'm thinking of was a friend of the journalists, a drinking pal and a clever lawyer... this person forbade people to go and report to Mrs Brooks or to James."

Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks resigned as chief executive of Murdoch's British newspaper wing when the hacking scandal erupted in July last year, while Murdoch's son James was chairman.

Murdoch further denied that he had ever discussed News Corp.'s bid for full control of British satellite broadcaster BSkyB with British culture minister Jeremy Hunt.

Hunt's special adviser, Adam Smith, resigned on Wednesday over claims that he leaked details to a News Corp. lobbyist about the government's view of its takeover attempt.

Murdoch abandoned the BSkyB bid when the hacking scandal blew up.

In the first day of his long-awaited testimony on Wednesday, the Australian-born Murdoch denied that he had exerted a decades-long stranglehold over British politics, saying: "I've never asked a prime minister for anything."

He also denied discussing the controversial BSkyB deal with Cameron.

Murdoch still owns The Sun -- Britain's biggest-selling newspaper -- The Times and Sunday Times in Britain and the Wall Street Journal and New York Post in the United States.

News Corp. has paid out millions of pounds in compensation to hacking victims and more than 40 people have been arrested over hacking and alleged bribery of public officials by staff at the News of the World and The Sun.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US missile cruiser docks at Subic
    US missile cruiser docks at Subic

    A US Navy missile cruiser has dropped anchor in Subic Bay as part of “routine port call,” amid rising tension in the West Philippine Sea stirred by China’s island building activities and other threatening moves by its forces. The arrival of the Ticonderoga-class missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67) at the Subic Bay Freeport in Olongapo City yesterday was “just a routine port visit for ship replenishment and routine maintenance of shipboard system,” said Philippine Navy Public Affairs Office …

  • Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño
    Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño

    The agriculture and power sectors, as well as the general public should brace for a prolonged El Niño phenomenon that could further reduce water supply for electricity and irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned yesterday. Flaviana Hilario, acting deputy administrator for research and development of PAGASA, said the El Niño condition is expected to intensify from weak to moderate by August this year. Anthony Lucero, …

  • China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row
    China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row

    The US should help “cool down” the Philippines and realize that its meddling in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute would only stir tensions, a Chinese newspaper reported. “Washington should know its meddling in the South China Sea has been destabilizing the region. The US has vowed not to take sides in the territorial dispute, which involves China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. …

  • No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests
    No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests

    K to 12 is the fruit of years of comprehensive consultations involving different sectors in education,” Aquino said during the launching of the program at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. Organized by the Department of Education (DepEd), the launch was attended by teachers, students and representatives from different stakeholders supportive of the K to 12 program. It was held two years after the signing of Republic Act 10533, or the Enhanced Basic Education …

  • MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t
    MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t

    The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) maintained its bid for completion of the tripartite review of the implementation of the peace agreement with the Philippine government in 1996. The MNLF’s desire to put consensual closure to the tripartite effort was relayed by its leaders to Sayed El-Masry, the special envoy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), during the annual foreign ministers conference in Kuwait last Thursday. The MNLF peace agreement with the government in Sept. 2, …

  • Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe
    Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe

    President Aquino is expected to raise the West Philippine Sea dispute during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan next week. However, there is no word yet if the Philippines will specifically ask Tokyo to join calls for China to stop its massive reclamation activities in disputed waters. Aquino will leave for Tokyo on June 2 for a state visit until June 5. …

  • CHED releases wrong data on tuition hike
    CHED releases wrong data on tuition hike

    The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) appears to have released erroneous data on the allowed tuition and other fee increases in Metro Manila for the incoming academic year. On the list of the 51 approved higher education institutions (HEI) allowed to impose hikes, CHED pegged the average increase in tuition at P32.34 per unit and the average increase in other fees at P34.79. However, a Philippine STAR re-computation showed that the actual average approved tuition increases in Metro Manila …

  • Leni Robredo may run for senator
    Leni Robredo may run for senator

    The widow of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo admitted that running for higher office in 2016 had crossed her mind. Camarines Sur Third District Rep. Leni Robredo said she is focused on her re-election, but there is always the possibility that she would seek higher office. “There is always that possibility… because the filing (of certificate of candidacy) is in October yet,” Robredo said in an interview after her speech during the 23rd Girl Scouts of the Philippines Council …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options