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

TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid