News / Europe

Amid Phone Hacking Scandal, Murdoch Withdraws Bid for BSkyB

News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch holds a copy of The Sun and The Times as he is driven away from his flat in central London July 11, 2011.
News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch holds a copy of The Sun and The Times as he is driven away from his flat in central London July 11, 2011.

Media baron Rupert Murdoch has withdrawn his bid for control of British Sky Broadcasting amid Britain's phone-hacking scandal and allegations against his journalists.

Parliament was poised Wednesday to vote overwhelmingly for a non-binding resolution calling on Murdoch to end his $12 billion bid for control of the satellite television company. But before the vote, a Murdoch deputy, News Corporation president Chase Carey, said it had "become clear" it would be "too difficult" for the company to try to win approval for the acquisition "in this climate."

The company's retreat is a blow to Murdoch's efforts to consolidate and expand his British media operations.

News of the World

It came as British officials and much of its population have recoiled at allegations that journalists at the News of the World tabloid that Murdoch closed last weekend, and at his other publications, hacked into phones of ordinary citizens and paid police for information for stories they were working on. News of the World reporters allegedly hacked into the phones of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and relatives of British soldiers who had been killed in combat.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament he will look into whether victims of the 2001 terrorism attacks in the United States were targeted in the phone-hacking.

Were 9/11 victims hacked?

Cameron said a new police investigation should be able to resolve whether journalists at the Murdoch publications sought to access information about the 9/11 victims. A non-Murdoch newspaper, The Daily Mirror, claimed that some journalists had approached a private investigator in the United States to try to access the phone data of some of the victims of 9/11.

Cameron told lawmakers that the phone-hacking and police bribery scandal is a "firestorm" that is consuming parts of the media and police, and "indeed our political system's ability to respond." But he said the focus now must be on the victims and to "make sure the guilty are prosecuted."

Cameron, like other British politicians, has often sought Murdoch's approval and support from his British publications, including the News of the World. But with the burgeoning scandal, he has sought to distance himself from Murdoch, telling lawmakers that a wide-ranging investigation must be "as robust as possible."

He said the media's relationship with police must be investigated, and questioned why earlier warnings about press misconduct "were not heeded."

Cameron later met with Dowler's family at 10 Downing Street, the prime minister's residence.

Murdoch fights back

Even as the 80-year-old Murdoch withdrew the BSkyB bid, one of his publications, The Sun tabloid, struck back at one allegation against its reporting. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown had claimed earlier in the week that the newspaper's reporters had accessed confidential medical records that showed his infant son had contracted cystic fibrosis, leaving him and his wife Sarah in tears as they learned that a story was being published about their son Fraser.

But the newspaper posted a headline "Brown Wrong" on its latest edition, saying that it first learned about the boy's diagnosis from the father of another child who has cystic fibrosis.

The Sun said it was "not aware" that Brown or any of his associates complained about the story.

Concerns about News Corp

In the United States, Senator John Rockefeller has called for an investigation into the allegations to determine whether News Corporation has broken any American laws.

Senator Rockefeller said he is concerned that Murdoch's News Corporation, which owns The Wall Street Journal, Fox Broadcasting and other U.S. media companies, might have targeted the 9/11 victims and their families.  He warned the consequences could be "severe."

British lawmakers have summoned Murdoch, his son, James, and other company executives to answers questions next week about the various allegations.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs