News / Europe

Murdoch Staff Turned to Hacking in Cutthroat Journalism World, Court Hears

FILE - This combination of file pictures shows (L) former News of the World editor, Andy Coulson, and (R) former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.
FILE - This combination of file pictures shows (L) former News of the World editor, Andy Coulson, and (R) former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Reporters on Rupert Murdoch's News of the World repeatedly hacked the phones of senior politicians and even rival journalists in a desperate bid to get ahead on salacious front-page stories, a London court heard on Thursday.
 
Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, two of Britain's most high profile former newspaper editors, are on trial with six others accused of conspiring to intercept voicemail messages and make illegal payments to find exclusives when they ran the now defunct Sunday tabloid and its daily sister tabloid, the Sun.
 
“In the dog-eat-dog world of journalism, in this frenzy to get this huge story, and to try and get something better or at least as good as what everyone else has got, that is what you do if you're Ian Edmondson,” said prosecutor Andrew Edis.
 
“You hack the competition.”
 
Edmondson, one of those on trial, ran the news gathering desk at the tabloid when Coulson, later Prime Minister David Cameron's media chief, was the editor.
 
FILE - Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp.FILE - Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp.
x
FILE - Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp.
FILE - Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp.
​Edis said it was three emails sent to Edmondson in 2006 which ignited the phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and ultimately led to the paper's closure.
 
Following legal action from hacking victims, the firm handed over the three internal emails to police, which revealed how to tap into the phones of senior politicians and royalty, the jury of nine women and three men were told.
 
Edis told the court at London's Old Bailey the discovery prompted detectives to look again at Murdoch's tabloids.
 
“They have had quite an effect,” he said.
 
The emails were from Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator and accomplished phone hacker who was highly paid by the paper, giving details of the mobile phone PIN numbers that were required to intercept voicemail messages.
 
The phones belonged to then deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, ex-Labor minister Tessa Jowell and Frederick Windsor, the son of Queen Elizabeth's cousin.
 
The jury were told how the paper responded to news that Prescott was having an affair in April 2006 and its frantic attempts to match one its rivals, the Mail on Sunday.
 
The court heard the story was so big that Coulson authorized senior editors to offer large sums of cash to Prescott's lover.
 
“Start at 100,000 pounds [$161,000],” Coulson wrote in a quickly fired-off email to Edmondson, while Mulcaire, who has already pleaded guilty to phone-hacking charges, began to tap into the voicemail messages of her phone and that of the minister's aides.
 
To ensure that they knew what the Mail on Sunday were planning to write, he hacked the phones of two of its journalists, Edis said.
 
On Wednesday, Edis said Brooks and Coulson must have known about phone-hacking due to their senior positions on the paper and the fact they held its purse strings.
 
The jury was told three senior former journalists on the paper Neville Thurlbeck, James Weatherup and Greg Miskiw, had already admitted conspiracy to hack phones.
 
Brooks and Coulson and the six others, who include senior figures from Murdoch's British newspaper arm and Brooks's husband Charlie, all deny the charges.
 
The trial continues.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid