Monday, April 15, 2024

Rupert Murdoch flies in


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News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch has said Rebekah Brooks is his first priority, after arriving in the UK to handle the News of the World phone-hacking crisis.
He flew into London today and went to News International (NI), which News Corp owns, for talks with executives.
He appeared later with Mrs Brooks, NI chief executive. Asked what his priority was, he said “this one” gesturing at her and smiling.
She had been under pressure about her former editorship of News of the World.
It was announced just last week that the paper would close, with its final edition printed today and about 200 people losing their jobs.
Mrs Brooks was the News of the World editor in 2002 when voicemails on murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s mobile phone were allegedly intercepted.
Milly’s relatives will meet Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg tomorrow to discuss the independent inquiries related to the phone-hacking scandal, before meeting Labour leader Ed Miliband and Prime Minister David Cameron later in the week.
Home Office Minister Damian Green said their views on how the media should now be regulated will be carefully listened to.
Meanwhile, the BBC understands News International found e-mails in 2007 that appeared to show payments were made to police for information for stories.
The evidence of alleged criminal behaviour was not handed to the Metropolitan Police for investigation until June 20 of this year, BBC Business Editor Robert Peston reported.
News International said it was “co-operating fully with the police”.
Sources told our correspondent that the emails were in the possession of the firm of solicitors, Harbottle & Lewis, before being passed to detectives.
The emails appear to show Andy Coulson, editor of the News of the World from 2003-2007, authorising payments to the police for help with stories, Peston reported.
And they also appear to show that phone hacking went wider than the activities of a single rogue reporter, which News of the World claimed at the time.
News International said James Murdoch had no knowledge of the e-mails that Harbottle & Lewis were asked to review.
Former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Met Police Brian Paddick is among those who will meet political leaders about the hacking this week. He said he did not find the revelations about police payments that surprising.
“Newspapers go to extraordinary lengths to protect their informants, whether they are police officers or not.
“So it shouldn’t be any surprise that although they had evidence police officers were being paid for information, that they actually filed that information away four years ago, and it is only because of the pressure over the phone hacking they’ve actually produced this evidence so that the police can investigate.” (BBC)


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