19/07/2011 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me, Tim Willcox. A media empire


brought to account. Rupert Murdoch and his son James face tough


questions from MPs. There's contrition but no admission of


responsibility for the alleged hacking at the News of the World.


This is the most humble day of my career. In all that has happened, I


know we needed to be here today. There is drama in the committee


room as a protester tries to attack Rupert Murdoch. His Chinese-born


wife retaliate. Proceedings are suspended. Next up, Rebekah Brooks,


former chief executive of News International. She tells MPs she


was repeatedly told at the News of the World that allegations of phone


hacking were untrue. As one of the world's largest media organisations,


we ask where now for Rupert Murdoch Hello and welcome to Westminster,


where it has been a dramatic day. Rupert Murdoch, one of the most


important and powerful media moguls in the world, said it was a


humbling day for him as he apologised to MPs for the scandal


that has engulfed his empire. The proceedings were momentarily


suspended almost at the end of the hearings, when a protester with a


custard pie of shaving foam tried to attack Mr Murdoch. His Chinese-


born wife, Wendi Deng, slapped the protests are down. After that,


Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, a


woman who was arrested by police on Sunday, was taking questions by MPs.


She denied any personal knowledge of paying police officers and said


she had not done so herself. She was also asked about the Milly


Dowler case, and said that although she was on holiday it was on her


watch and she took responsibility. Let's get an update on the


proceedings today. Moment when two of the world's most


powerful media moguls, Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch,


arrived to be held to account by MPs about the way the News of the


World systematically invaded the privacy of individuals. So, after


decades of wielding huge power at the top of the British UN global


media industry, how was it for Rupert Murdoch? I would just like


to say one sentence, this is the most humble day of my life. This is


Fleet Street reporting on rottenness at the heart of Fleet


Street, the media directing a lens at the UK's biggest UK newspaper


company. There has never been anything quite like it. So what did


the Murdochs know about the alleged abuses at the News of the World?


Watched by his wife Wendi Deng in the chair behind, not as much as


you might think, said Rupert Murdoch. Can I just say something?


This is not as an excuse, maybe explanation, the News of the World


did less than 1% of our company, I employee 50,000 people around the


world who are great and ethical and distinguished people, professionals,


and perhaps I am spread watching and appointing people whom I trust.


The revelation only 15 days ago of the alleged phone hacking of Milly


Dowler at the instigation of the News of the World is why the


Murdochs have to explain themselves. At what point did you find out


criminality was endemic at the News of the World? Endemic is a very


wide-ranging word, and I also have to be extremely careful not to


prejudice the course of justice which is taking place now. That


which has been disclosed, I became aware as apparent. I was absolutely


shocked, appalled and ashamed when I heard about the Milly Dowler case


only two weeks ago. But was there a cover-up? Given that most of the


alleged phone hacking and illegal bribing a police happened between


2002-2006. James Murdoch says he was not made aware of the contents


of News of the World females uncovered earlier that year. If I


knew then what we know now, with the benefit of hindsight we can


look at these things, but if I knew then what I knew now we would have


taken more action around that and move faster to get to the bottom of


these allegations. He said he replied -- relied on advice by


lawyer's Harbottle & Lewis. One of the things I went back and looked


at was that file and it was looked at again, opened up, and it was


rapidly brought to our attention that this was something week...


When did this happen? For again, between April, May, June, that


period. Was it given to police on June 20th? yes. Is it not time for


your organisation to say do your worst. You behaved disgracefully,


we are not going to pay any more of your cost? I would like to do that,


I don't know the status of what we are doing or indeed what his


contract was. What other friends in high places of Mr Murdoch, the long


seen breaker and maker of prime ministers? I was invited within


days to have a cup of tea in support of David Cameron. No other


conversation took place. The from high drama to the circus, a custard


pie in the face of the shaken tycoon. Have you considered


resigning? Know. Why not? Because I feel that people, I am not saying


who, have let me down, behaved disgracefully, betrayed the company


and me and it is for them to pay. Frankly, I am the best person to


clean this up. Many questions are still unanswered about who


committed the appalling that at the News of the World and who knew what


when. The Murdochs were probably seen to be bruised but not broken


by today's ordeal, now they will have to wait for the results of


investigations by the judge and the police.


Let's get the thought of two people intimately involved with the


political spinning machine when it comes to dealing with media


operations. We will go to them in a moment, but first Rebekah Brooks is


still giving evidence to this committee and she has been talking


in more detail about Milly Dowler. Let's see what she said. I don't


know anyone in their right mind who would authorise, no, sanction,


approve of anyone listening to the voice mails of Milly Dowler in


those circumstances. I don't know anyone who would think it was a


right and proper thing to do at this time or any time. I know we


know a lot more now, but that is all I can tell you. Rebekah Brooks


is still giving evidence to that committee, we expect that to go on


for another 15 minutes. Let's catch up with these two media specialists.


George Eustice is a Conservative Member of Parliament and former


press secretary to David Cameron. And Lance Price is former director


of communications for the Labour party. George, if I can start with


you. A lot of anticipation about what they would say today, we have


seen them in the flesh now, what did you make of their strategy in


terms of dealing with these allegations head-on? I don't think


their appearance today would have done them any harm at all. News


International is in a serious position, and we had protesters


outside talking about the evil Murdoch empire, this shadowy


organisation, but what most people would have felt is that here we had


a rather frail man, like any other eight year-old man you might expect


to meet, and his son. I don't think any remarkable came out of their


interviews but I think it was right for them to appear. They did not


want to appear originally and said the dates were not convenient. But


on that human level, there was a frailty, wasn't there? Do you get


the impression that father and son were trying to protect each other,


and actually Rupert Murdoch's handling of the empire now was very


much more hands-off than it would have been 15 years ago? Yes, he has


already handed over a lot of the power of European operations to his


son, James, and you got a sense from some of the MPs that they were


incredulous that the man of the top, Rupert Murdoch, actually didn't


know the answer to some of the questions they were asking. It


didn't help that he could not always hear the questions, because


of that frailty we have been discussing, but it was an


interesting dynamic between the two. It almost -- also left unanswered


questions about how News Corporation is run. What struck me


is that this empire is run in autonomous sections, very much left


to the chief executives running them. Is that a good enough excuse


for MPs and the wider public about him saying he didn't know what was


going on in terms of the alleged phone hacking? It is a huge company,


and News of the World accounts for maybe just 1% of their turnover. It


is no surprise that any company would have subsidiary companies


that are largely autonomous in the way they are on. Today when James


Murdoch was probed about these confidentiality clauses in some of


the payments that were made to Mr Taylor and Max Clifford, and some


quite good pro -- probing, that is where they have particular


questions to answer. It was very interesting the fact that the legal


fees of Clive Goodman, the royal editor, and Glenn Mulcaire the


private investigator, the two who went to jail a few years ago


because of this were being paid for by News International. What is your


reaction to that? Everybody suspected that was the case. They


were employee in top lawyers, clearly no individual could have


afforded to pay that. Some people got over the top when they describe


this as Britain's Watergate but it is what people do when they are


covering their tracks after the event that catches the mild. Rupert


Murdoch was talking about why he entered Number 10 by the back door,


quite amusing on that, saying the Prime Minister of the day wanted to


avoid photographers. Also interesting was the very close


friendship he had had with Gordon Brown, a man who attacked him so


viciously in the Commons last week, describing his News International


business like the rats departing the sewers. I thought Gordon


Brown's speech was partly aimed because this has uncovered a real


problem with our whole media, particularly print press. We need


to achieve some proper media standards, some new regulation for


the media, because it is not just confined to News International. The


information commissioner a few years ago identified problems with


other papers including the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror. We have


to emerge from this with a stronger print press. I agree Gordon Brown's


intervention was not well judged but his speech shows how personal


it becomes. Prime Ministers take it personally when Rupert Murdoch


takes his love away, if you like. Murdoch senior like Gordon Brown,


he was what a prime minister should be, what a man should be, Goa and


serious, and he was not impressed with David Cameron who he thought


was flash. But Gordon Brown looked which way the wind was blowing and


got behind the winner. Thank you. This was not the only committee


hearing at Westminster today. Earlier, two senior former


policeman appeared before the Home Affairs Select Committee. Sir Paul


Stevenson and John Yates, Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan


Police. He was Britain's top serving counter-terrorism officer.


Both men have resigned in the last 48 hours or so because of this


phone hacking investigation and also of their role and


responsibility in checking the facts that the time. Sir Paul


Stevenson said he regretted leaving but felt he had to, and John Yates


said it would be a distraction if It was a Scotland Yard


interrogation but this time it was senior officers required to answer


questions. The centrepiece of the cross-examination was the


relationship between two institutions, Scotland Yard and


News International. It emerged there have been close links with


senior officers being wined and dined by Murdoch executives and


restaurants like this one. The commission accepted he had had 18


lunches and dinners with News International figures in five years,


seven or eight with the news of the World journalist now accused of


phone hacking. News International represents 42% of press readership,


a fine maintain a relationship with the media it was not my decision to


allow News International to be so dominant in the market. Of the 45


Media staff at the met 10 are former News International employees.


It was another Murdoch man given a job at the yard the committee were


interested in. Neil Wallace, now arrested for alleged phone hacking,


the former deputy editor of the News Of The World was hired weeks


after detectives decided not to pursue press claims of widespread


hacking at the paper. The in the chair, the head of public affairs.


He insisted he never asked Mr Wallace if he knew about phone


hacking because a colleague, John Yates, about 4 in. John Yates


conducted due diligence of Mr Wallace and he can explain better


than I. Mr Yates, the Assistant Commissioner who resigned yesterday


confirmed Neil Wallis was a front for 10 years. He was also the


officer who decided there was no need to reopen at the phone hacking


inquiry following revelations by Guardian journalists. Back in the


chair he occupied a wicket, John Yates said he thought his role in


it Mr Wallace's appointment was over edge. I sought assurances of


Mr Wallace before the contract was let to the effects and a have a


note, is there anything in the matters he is reporting on that


could embarrass you, Mr Wallace, meet or the Commissioner? I


received assurances that was not the case. Paul Stephenson hinting


today would be his last as commissioner at the Met headed back


to the art pursued by media. There was an irony because what today is


illustrated his it has been a too cosy relationship between police


and press, particularly between the Met and Murdoch.


The appearance of Rupert and James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks has made


headlines across the world. Including in countries where Rupert


Murdoch's News Corporation plays a significant role.


In America, where Murdoch has his biggest assets, such as the Fox


networks and the Wall Street journal, there are growing


questions over his future as chief executive officer. If claims prove


true that there was also hacking on US soil, the company could lose its


broadcasting licences there. In Australia there's intense


interest in the effect the News of the World scandal will have on the


Murdoch empire. This is the country not only of Rupert Murdoch's birth,


but of the birth of News Corporation too.


And there's very close scrutiny in Asia where News Corp owns nine


cable channels under the Star name, and owns or hold significant shares


in eight others. In India, which has had a long and close


association with News Corp, there's been rolling news coverage of


today's hearings. Let's get the thoughts of John Burns and Paul


McMullen, a former features editor at the News Of The World. Sean, how


closely is is being followed in America and what impact is the


hearing having for investors? it is the best running soap opera


but has been seen on either side of the ocean in a long time. It is


more than that. It affects the world's in America and here,


doubtless -- regardless of whether there was phone hacking on 9/11, it


affects the press, politicians and it affects a Rupert Murdoch and


Wall Street. Will he investors have been impressed by Rupert Murdoch's


performance? Yes, this was the beginning of a fightback. If I was


the chief executive, those managing the public relations, I would take


a glass of champagne. It was a consummate performance. Not to say


it is behind them but they had an extraordinary stroke of good luck.


The attack on Mr Murdoch, you could not have designed weather for soap


opera or a gradual beginning of a process they hope will eventually


ring and redemption, and 80-year- old man being hit in the face with


a custard pie. And his young Questions about the breach of


security. You are a former features editor at News Of The World and no


Rebekah Brooks, how convincing was she? It did not convince me at all.


I had a call from colleagues saying I cannot believe what she is


staying. She is still denying it. That she had no knowledge,, the


same line she keeps bringing out. It is not fair. Still throwing her


reporters to the waltz, nothing to do with me. I never saw what was


going on, I never looked a my accounts to see who was paying, the


facts I was deputy features editor and noticed four grand a week to


private eyes, I wanted to know what for and why. My first question at


four reporter is where did you get the story from and what is the


evidence? She is the world's worst editor or has been walking around


with her fingers in her ears. MP said he would suspend his


incredulity. In terms of any punches that had been landed today,


what was the most significant thing you felt by these British MPs and


the questioning. I was impressed with how astute many of the


questions were, they had really done their homework. But is not


always true with these scrutiny committees. The answer lies in the


forensics. There were some tough and and answered questions, it was


a concert performance, it was in that they managed what is a very


bad case about as well as a kid. They dodged and weaved but they did


not always absolutely appeared to be doing so unless you listened


carefully. One of my favourite lines from Rupert Murdoch was this


country benefits from -- from its press which is inconvenient for


some people. I thought we would get a boss who would stand up for the


things we found out about the politicians. Thank you. A day off


theatre, James Murdoch looked very shocked and surprised as a man made


towards his father, Rupert Murdoch younger Chinese wife stepping in


his love. Let's look at the key moments of today. I would like to


say when sentence, this is the most humble day of my life. If you are


not line then, someone like to you, who? I don't know. That is what the


police are investigating and we are helping. You acknowledge your


misled? Clearly. Do you accept ultimately you are responsible for


this whole fiasco? No. Who is? people I trusted to run it and


maybe the people they trusted. would like to say how sorry I am,


and how sorry we are, particularly to the victims of illegal voice


mail interceptions and families. What happened at denise macro was


wrong. We and I have apologised profusely and unreservedly for that.


My father has as well. At it is your father who was responsible for


corporate governance. What did he Do you have any regrets? Well, of


course I have regrets. The idea that Milly Dowler's phone was


accessed by someone being paid by the News Of The World or even worse


authorised by someone at the News Of The World is as abhorrent to me


as everyone in this room. Once you have broken the trust with readers


there is not much going back and unfortunately the News Of The World


Easter leader headlines for the right reasons, the cricket scandal


recently, but unfortunately for the last few months and the last the


years, it's been leading the headlines for the wrong reasons. Of


course there were mistakes made in the past but I think and hope you


agree since who saw the evidence at the end of December we have clear


Let's see how well it did in terms of PR. The Danny Rogers, John Burns


set if he was a PR adviser who will be raising champagne, would he


think? The protest and the custard pie it took the pressure off the


Murdochs because it was a farce, briefly. I would not raise a glass


of champagne, they were not apologetic enough, they were not


open or contrite enough. This scandal has dragged on and


threatens to drag on further. wanted to make an opening statement


about contrition which was not allowed, it was put to the back of


proceedings. Rupert Murdoch said this was the most humble day of his


life. Did you feel that is something you would have told him


to say or something he felt? It was something his PR advisers told him


to say and he was a wise move. He needed to back it up with openness


and transparency and he failed to do that. There was an illegal


blocking many anticipated, because there is a criminal investigation


undergoing, it was used a couple of times but in terms of the day-to-


day handling of this empire, will investors have been reassured by


the answers? No, they will not be. I think they did well to engage to


that extent but this is a man who has lost its mystique, his


reputation, you compare News International a year ago with today,


shareholders are worried. When it comes to the money paid out, that


was illuminating, these parameters as you would expect but up to �1


million, Rupert Murdoch would he nothing about it. Yes, I'm sure he


knew about the money. If you are Chief Executive you know when large


amounts of money are paid to victims like that. And when it


comes to the relationship of senior politicians and prime ministers, he


was quite disarming saying that is why they ask me to come in. He may


be disingenuous about that, the Murdoch relationship with all sorts


of readers for decades has been powerful. Underestimate that actual


barrel. Thank you. A dramatic day today, lots of questions put to the


Murdochs and Rebekah Brooks are normally clear answers. -- not that


Hello, we have seen some torrential downpours today but also some


occasional sunshine. Through tomorrow the unsettled weather


continues, cool and cloudy. More showers around and the weather is


dominated by low pressure, cloud and rain moving into the south-west


tonight and Wednesday and a weather front across southern Scotland and


north-east England. Showers from the word go continuing through the


afternoon. Some will be heavy and possibly thundery with temperatures


around 16. East Anglia and the south-east, although some sunshine


in the morning it clouds over come up breaks of rain, top temperature


21. A July afternoon in the south- west, light showers but not much


brightness. Quite overcast skies. Glimmers of sunshine of fruit


Cardigan Bay, temperatures in Holyhead at 16. For Northern


Ireland, cool and cloudy conditions continuing, the breeze coming down


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