Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch are being questioned by Parliament today as hearing open into the phone hacking scandal at News Corp.
James Murdoch insisted that the time it took for the full facts to emerge remained a matter of “deep frustration”. But he also invoked his legal defence for the first time, evading some questions because of ongoing police investigations.
James Murdoch also claimed he has no evidence that any of the recently departed executives – Rebekah Brooks, Les Hinton or Tim Crone – knew about phone-hacking.
Rupert Murdoch said he was misled about the scope of phone hacking. When asked about Rebekah Brooks’ testimony, years earlier, that News of the World paid police officers for information, Rupert Murdoch claimed he did not know anything about them at the time, and didn’t launch an investigation into them. His reason was that News of the World was a small part of his media empire, perhaps as little as 1 per cent.
James Murdoch told the hearing, “how sorry I am and how sorry we are
to the victims of illegal voicemail interceptions and their families”.
But mid-statement, Rupert interjected to add: “This is the most humble
day of my life.” He then let James continue reading his statement.
Murdoch also made the claim that “critical new facts” about the phone
hacking investigation only became evident during civil trials at the
end of 2010.
“I need to say something and this is not an excuse. The News of the World is one per cent of our company. I employ 53,000 people around the world,” Rupert Murdoch said.
Proceedings were delayed by a group of protestors outside Parliament. Murdoch was mobbed by photographers.
At 2.38pm the chairman welcomed Rupert and James Murdoch and asked them to what extent the committee has been misled over phone hacking.
Murdoch and his son James are facing a special committee to answer questions about phone hacking at News of the World.
Rebecca Brooks will also face Parliament today.