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March 23, 2023

Phone hacking: Rupert Murdoch ‘ashamed’ by hacking

Ex-News of the World journalist Sean Hoare, who made allegations of phone hacking by the newspaper, was found dead.

LONDON – British PM David Cameron is cutting short a trip to Africa to address MPs on the phone-hacking scandal on Wednesday, as Parliament is reconvened, the BBC informs.

On Tuesday, Rupert and James Murdoch as well as ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks faced questions from the Commons culture committee on News International’s role in the phone-hacking scandal. The trio was questioned over what they knew about phone-hacking at the News of the World and whether there was a cover-up. It is the first time Rupert Murdoch has faced MPs in over 40 years of media ownership in the UK.

Rupert Murdoch has said he was “appalled and ashamed” to learn that the phone of Milly Dowler had been hacked by the News of the World.

He told MPs he was not aware hacking was more widespread than originally claimed and he had “clearly” been misled by some of his staff. His son James apologised to victims, saying he had great regrets.

Rupert Murdoch said his appearance was the “most humble day of my life”.

He said he was not aware of the extent of phone hacking at the company until earlier this year when it handed over new information to the police – triggering a new inquiry. He said the News of the World was “just 1 percent” of his worldwide business and that he employed “people I trust to run these divisions”.

James Murdoch, chairman of News International, said the firm failed to live up to “the standards they aspired to” and was “determined to put things right and make sure they do not happen again”.

He added: “I would like to say just how sorry I am and how sorry we are to particularly the victims of illegal voicemail interceptions and to their families.”

Opening the hearing, culture, media and sport committee chairman John Whittingdale said abuses had been uncovered “which had shocked and angered the country” and it was clear Parliament had been misled.

Facing questions from MPs earlier, Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson denied any impropriety in the hiring of former News of the World journalist Neil Wallis to provide media support to the police force but said he now regretted the appointment. Wallis was recently arrested as part of the phone-hacking inquiry.

Sir Paul, who quit on Sunday amid criticism of his force’s handling of the phone-hacking saga, also denied “taking a swipe” in his resignation letter at David Cameron’s decision to employ Andy Coulson – Mr Wallis’ ex-boss – as an aide.
Ex-Assistant Commissioner John Yates and head of press at the Met, Dick Fedorcio, also faced questions.

At the start of the hearing, Sir Paul said his resignation was “regrettable” but he had to do it because of “distracting” stories about his links to the phone-hacking scandal.

Sir Paul and Yates spent the morning at New Scotland Yard preparing for their appearance. Earlier, Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, praised the two men’s “honourable” resignations.

Meanwhile, investigations are continuing into the death of former NoW journalist Sean Hoare, who made allegations of phone hacking at the paper, after his body was found on Monday in his home.

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