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Murdoch denies prior knowledge of hacking

CNN-IBN
Jul 20, 2011 at 09:05am IST

New Delhi: A lot of questions and lot of explanations were presented by Rupert Murdoch and his team at the hearing of the hacking scandal surrounding his media empire in front of the House of Commons on Tuesday. However not all of the explanations were convincing enough.

Murdoch on Tuesday told the House that sitting in front of them explaining the entire hacking scandal was the most humble day of his life.

ALSO SEE Rupert Murdoch attacked in UK Parliament

Murdoch also said that he was unaware of the hacking and that he was misled.

When asked if he were aware that in 2003 Rebekah Brooks gave evidence to the parliamentary committee and admitted to paying the police, he said he was not aware at the time.

ALSO SEE Text of Rupert Murdoch's statement to UK panel

"I am now aware of that, I was not aware at the time, I am also aware that she amended that fairly quickly after that," Murdoch said.

Murdoch admitted that it was not the job of his News Corp to get in the course of justice and that providing justice was the job of the police.

Murdoch said, "It was not our job to get in the course of justice it was up to the police to bring those charges and to carry out their investigation which we were 100 per cent cooperative with."

On being asked for the reason of his calling it the end for the the 168-year-old British tabloid News of the World, Murdoch said he closed down the newspaper because he felt ashamed of how it functioned.

"Yes we felt ashamed of what had happened, we though we would bring it to a close," said Murdoch.

"I am not responsible for the whole fiasco. The police should hold those people whom I trusted and in turn they trusted others who may be responsible for the fiasco," he added.

Apart from Murdoch, his son James Murdoch and former Chief Executive of News International Rebekah Brooks were also present at the hearing. Brooks gave blank denials to all question thrown at her, raising the question of her credibility.

While she did admit to mistakes like the use of a listening devices, she also claimed that quick remedial action was taken.

"Ofcourse we made a mistake but I think we acted quickly after we got new information," Brooks said.

Brooks accepted the fact that payments were made to certain police officials to keep the entire scandal under wraps but she denied knowing any specific names of the personnel involved.

She added that private detectives were hired and their payments were made through managing directors.

"Payments for private detectives would have gone to the Managing Editors office," she said.

While the five hour hearing went on, British Prime Minister David Cameron urged the media to not gloss over the matter and asked authorities to get to the bottom of the case.

"I don't underestimate the problem. Parts of the media committee committed dreadful and illegal acts. The police have serious questions to answer about potential corruption, and about a failed investigation. Politicians have been too close to media owners. These are big problems but we are a big country and we're going to sort them out. We're going to get to the bottom of them by a judicial inquiry and we're going to make sure they cannot happen again," Cameron said.

Many believe that as an Editor it is not possible that she did not know of what all was happening in the company.

In the face of evidence, the enquiry cannot proceed further in terms of action taken now that it falls in the realm of police enquiry and even more than that the judicial investigation that is going to commence.

There will be many people from the staff who will give evidence and will provide credible cases - that the Editors did know about these practices and nobody denied that these practices continued systematically and at length. So, the focus now is the police part of it, the enquiry by the House of Commons was something by way of public questioning, now its on to the criminal matters and criminal investigations aimed at Rupert Murdoch.

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