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 British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid