News / Europe

Murdochs Face Questioning in Britain About Phone Hacking

European head of News Corporation James Murdoch and News Corp Chief Executive and Chairman Rupert Murdoch (R) appear before a parliamentary committee on phone hacking at Portcullis House in London, July 19, 2011
European head of News Corporation James Murdoch and News Corp Chief Executive and Chairman Rupert Murdoch (R) appear before a parliamentary committee on phone hacking at Portcullis House in London, July 19, 2011

Multimedia

British parliament members questioned media mogul Rupert Murdoch about a phone-hacking scandal that has led to resignations or arrests of journalists and police officials in Britain, and the closure of the largest-selling English-language newspaper.  The inquiry was interrupted after a man attempted to assault Rupert Murdoch.

News Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch was hit on the shoulder with a foam pie.  A man was quickly taken away and handcuffed by police.

It was a dramatic episode near the close of a parliamentary session in which Murdoch spoke to British parliament members at a hearing in London.

"I would just like to say one sentence: This is the most humble day of my life," he said.

He said he was "shocked, appalled and ashamed" by the accusations against his company.

VOA's Steve Norman spoke with Stephen Ward, director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who says behavior like the phone hacking scandal occurs because of heavy competition between media outlets and the need to keep earnings up.

One of Murdoch’s British papers, News of the World, is alleged to have hacked into the voicemail of thousands of people, including celebrities and a teenage murder victim.  The tabloid, once Britain’s top-selling Sunday paper, was closed earlier this month.

Murdoch testified he does not consider himself personally responsible for the fiasco.  He said he blamed the people he had trusted to run the company, one of the world's largest media conglomerates.

A number of top executives have resigned, including Rebekah Brooks as chief executive of News International, the British publishing wing of News Corporation.  Brooks also appeared at the hearing and apologized for the phone hacking.  She described the allegations as horrific and abhorrent.

Murdoch sat beside his son James, European head of News Corporation.

"I have no knowledge and there is no evidence that I am aware of that Mrs. Brooks or Mr. Hinton or any of those executives had knowledge of that and their assertions, certainly Mrs. Brooks' assertion to me, of her knowledge of those things has been clear.  Nonetheless those resignations have been accepted on the basis that there is no evidence today that I have seen or that I have any knowledge of, that there was any impropriety by them," he said.

James Murdoch said he, his father, and the company are sorry for the illegal voicemail interceptions.

The scandal has unveiled links between the media in Britain, politicians, and the police.

Two senior police officers have been forced to resign and Prime Minister David Cameron has been brought under criticism for hiring a former News of the World editor as his press secretary.

Tony Travers is a politics expert at the London School of Economics. "What it reveals is something about the proximity of politicians to this particular media organization, but also to the police who were investigating allegations about News International, clearly, also now seem to have been much too close to one particular media outlet," said Travers.

Travers says the fiasco has undermined Murdoch in Britain and may do so in the United States as well.

"It is hard to see how it will end in Britain, but what appears to be the case is that it will weaken Rupert Murdoch’s grip on his company in Britain and beyond, and possibly have implications for other titles owned by him here," he said.

There have been allegation that News International journalists hacked the phones of 9/11 victims.  Rupert Murdoch said those claims are untrue, but that he would investigate if evidence emerges.

The Murdochs were questioned by a House of Commons committee on Culture, Media, and Sport.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs