Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MURDOCH: HACKING SCANDAL WAS KEPT FROM ME; MEDIA TYCOON ACCUSES EXECUTIVES OF PROTECTING THEIR 'DRINKING PALS'; Scandal Will Be Blot on My Reputation for Rest of My Life Says Murdoch

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MURDOCH: HACKING SCANDAL WAS KEPT FROM ME; MEDIA TYCOON ACCUSES EXECUTIVES OF PROTECTING THEIR 'DRINKING PALS'; Scandal Will Be Blot on My Reputation for Rest of My Life Says Murdoch

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicholas Cecil and Tom Harper

RUPERT MURDOCH claimed today that he was a victim of a "cover-up" over the News of the World hacking scandal.

The News Corps tycoon told the Leveson inquiry that phone hacking had been kept secret from people at the top of his media empire -- including his son James and his protege Rebekah Brooks. He blamed two senior executives and claimed that one was trying to protect "drinking pals".

Admitting the culture of cover-up for the first time, Mr Murdoch, 81, said: "I do blame one or two people for that who perhaps I shouldn't name, for all I know they may be arrested. There is no question in my mind that maybe even the editor, but certainly beyond that, someone took charge of a cover-up which we were victim to and I regret," he said.

He told the hearing that senior executives were "misinformed and shielded" from the work methods of journalists on the now defunct Sunday tabloid. Counsel to the inquiry Robert Jay asked "from where the cover-up emanated?"

Mr Murdoch replied: "I think from within the News of the World, there were one or two very strong characters there who I think had been there many, many years and were friends of the journalists, or the person I'm thinking of was a friend of the journalists and a drinking pal and a clever lawyer, and forbade them ... this person forbade people to go and report to Mrs Brooks or to James."

In another day of dramatic evidence, Mr Murdoch also admitted he had "failed" to take charge of the scandal, adding: "I'm very sorry about it."

He added: "It's going to be a blot on my reputation for the rest of my life. The News of the World, to be quite honest, was an aberration and it's my fault." He told of his "panic" over the revelations that the phone of murdered 13-year-old Milly Dowler had been hacked and the NoW was shut soon afterwards. Mr Murdoch was asked about comments he had made when he flew into London to take charge of the growing crisis engulfing his papers last July.

Asked what his priority was, he gestured at the time to then News International chief executive Ms Brooks and said: "This one."

The tycoon suggested today that he was "under duress" after being "mobbed" by journalists and photographers.He said: "I was concerned for Rebekah Brooks, who was seeking to resign under great pressure. And I was seeking to keep her confidence -- I mean her self-confidence." Mrs Brooks and James Murdoch have both quit their posts at the helm of News International since the hacking furore became a national scandal.

Mr Murdoch admitted that it had cost him the [pounds sterling]8 billion BSkyB deal. He said: "I don't know whether we can put it down to the Milly Dowler misfortune but the hacking scandal? Yes."

He told how a new editor, Colin Myler, had been appointed "with specific instructions to find out what was going on". …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.