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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office 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.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs