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.
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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs