19/07/2011 World News Today


19/07/2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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former chief executive of News International. She tells MPs she

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

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

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

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

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

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

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that has engulfed his empire. The proceedings were momentarily

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

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

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

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

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

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She denied any personal knowledge of paying police officers and said

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

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

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

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

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

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

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World systematically invaded the privacy of individuals. So, after

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

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

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

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Fleet Street reporting on rottenness at the heart of Fleet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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alleged phone hacking and illegal bribing a police happened between

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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clean this up. Many questions are still unanswered about who

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

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

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

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investigations by the judge and the police.

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

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political spinning machine when it comes to dealing with media

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

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still giving evidence to this committee and she has been talking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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George Eustice is a Conservative Member of Parliament and former

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

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

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

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

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

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

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International is in a serious position, and we had protesters

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outside talking about the evil Murdoch empire, this shadowy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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questions about how News Corporation is run. What struck me

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

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

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

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

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

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is no surprise that any company would have subsidiary companies

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

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Murdoch was probed about these confidentiality clauses in some of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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were employee in top lawyers, clearly no individual could have

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

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

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

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

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

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avoid photographers. Also interesting was the very close

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

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viciously in the Commons last week, describing his News International

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business like the rats departing the sewers. I thought Gordon

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

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

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to achieve some proper media standards, some new regulation for

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

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information commissioner a few years ago identified problems with

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

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

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intervention was not well judged but his speech shows how personal

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it becomes. Prime Ministers take it personally when Rupert Murdoch

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

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

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

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

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

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hearing at Westminster today. Earlier, two senior former

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policeman appeared before the Home Affairs Select Committee. Sir Paul

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Stevenson and John Yates, Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan

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

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

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phone hacking investigation and also of their role and

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responsibility in checking the facts that the time. Sir Paul

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

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

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interrogation but this time it was senior officers required to answer

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questions. The centrepiece of the cross-examination was the

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relationship between two institutions, Scotland Yard and

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News International. It emerged there have been close links with

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senior officers being wined and dined by Murdoch executives and

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

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lunches and dinners with News International figures in five years,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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after detectives decided not to pursue press claims of widespread

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

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

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

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conducted due diligence of Mr Wallace and he can explain better

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

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

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

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inquiry following revelations by Guardian journalists. Back in the

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

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

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

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

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

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received assurances that was not the case. Paul Stephenson hinting

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

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

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illustrated his it has been a too cosy relationship between police

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and press, particularly between the Met and Murdoch.

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

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headlines across the world. Including in countries where Rupert

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Murdoch's News Corporation plays a significant role.

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

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networks and the Wall Street journal, there are growing

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

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

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broadcasting licences there. In Australia there's intense

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

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

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but of the birth of News Corporation too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:20:29.:20:35.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:22:11.:22:17.

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

:22:17.:22:22.

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

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

:22:29.:22:34.

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

:22:34.:22:39.

not always absolutely appeared to be doing so unless you listened

:22:39.:22:45.

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

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

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

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

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

:23:17.:23:22.

towards his father, Rupert Murdoch younger Chinese wife stepping in

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

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

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

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police are investigating and we are helping. You acknowledge your

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

:23:52.:24:01.

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

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

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

:24:17.:24:22.

mail interceptions and families. What happened at denise macro was

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

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

:24:38.:24:48.
:24:48.:24:49.

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

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

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

:24:59.:25:04.

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

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

:25:09.:25:14.

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

:25:14.:25:20.

Easter leader headlines for the right reasons, the cricket scandal

:25:20.:25:25.

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

:25:25.:25:28.

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

:25:28.:25:33.

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

:25:33.:25:39.

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

:25:39.:25:49.
:25:49.:25:56.

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

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

:26:00.:26:07.

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

:26:07.:26:11.

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

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

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open or contrite enough. This scandal has dragged on and

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

:26:24.:26:29.

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

:26:29.:26:33.

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

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

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

:26:44.:26:48.

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

:26:48.:26:53.

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

:26:53.:26:57.

blocking many anticipated, because there is a criminal investigation

:26:57.:27:02.

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

:27:02.:27:08.

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

:27:08.:27:15.

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

:27:15.:27:19.

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

:27:19.:27:23.

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

:27:23.:27:28.

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

:27:28.:27:35.

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

:27:35.:27:39.

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

:27:39.:27:44.

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

:27:44.:27:48.

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

:27:48.:27:52.

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

:27:52.:28:00.

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

:28:00.:28:04.

be disingenuous about that, the Murdoch relationship with all sorts

:28:04.:28:09.

of readers for decades has been powerful. Underestimate that actual

:28:09.:28:17.

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

:28:17.:28:24.

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

:28:24.:28:34.
:28:34.:28:34.

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

:28:34.:28:38.

occasional sunshine. Through tomorrow the unsettled weather

:28:38.:28:44.

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

:28:44.:28:48.

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

:28:48.:28:52.

tonight and Wednesday and a weather front across southern Scotland and

:28:53.:28:57.

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

:28:57.:29:02.

afternoon. Some will be heavy and possibly thundery with temperatures

:29:02.:29:07.

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

:29:07.:29:10.

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

:29:10.:29:18.

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

:29:18.:29:23.

brightness. Quite overcast skies. Glimmers of sunshine of fruit

:29:23.:29:27.

Cardigan Bay, temperatures in Holyhead at 16. For Northern

:29:27.:29:33.

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

:29:33.:29:39.

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