New facts chip away at Murdoch`s UK media empire

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 22:36

London: Media baron Rupert Murdoch was
on Tuesday summoned to appear before British lawmakers as new
revelations about his UK-based group`s illegal news gathering
practices diminished his influence in the country.

The new revelations included the dismayed former prime
minister Gordon Brown going on television to state that
Murdoch`s News International used criminals and the `criminal
underworld` to access details about his tax, bank account and
also the health records of his son, Fraser.

Murdoch has now been asked to appear before the
Culture, Media & Sport committee of the House of Commons,
along with his son, James Murdoch, and chief executive of News
International, Rebekah Brooks.

"We have been made aware of the request from the CMS
select committee to interview senior executives and will
cooperate. We await the formal invitation," the News
International said.

Top officials of the Scotland Yard were grilled on
live television today by the Home Affairs Select Committee
chaired by Indian-origin Labour MP, Keith Vaz.

They were closely questioned why earlier police
inquiries on the issue did not look at related evidence, and
prevent the illegal practices.

It was revealed during the session that News
International did not cooperate during the earlier inquiries,
while Sue Akers, the deputy assistance commissioner currently
heading the police inquiry named Operating Weeting, guaranteed
a thorough inquiry into the scandal.

The phone-hacking scandal has thrown open a can of
worms across politics, media and the police with Murdoch`s
influence suffering serious knocks.

Brown expressed surprise in an interview to BBC at the
"level of criminality" allegedly indulged in Murdoch`s News
International, and said the group had links with the `known
criminals and the criminal underworld` in Britain.

Brown, whose tax and bank details were allegedly
secured illegally at the behest of Murdoch-owned newspaper
titles, accused The Sunday Times of trying to bring him down
as a government minister.

He said he was "in tears" when he was told by News
International journalists that The Sun had details of his son
Fraser`s medical condition (he has cystic fibrosis) because he
had wanted the information to be kept private.

"Sarah and I were incredibly upset about it, we were
thinking about his long term future, we were thinking about
our family," he said.

He said he did not know how the newspaper had got
access to the details, "The fact is, it did appear and it did
appear in the Sun newspaper."

James Murdoch, Chairman of News International who
owned the `News of the World` tabloid had shut down the
168-year-old paper last weekend in the face of the raging
phone hacking scandal, where money was swapped for scoops.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 22:36

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