Murdoch admits to hacking, rues NOTW cover-up

Media baron Rupert Murdoch, appearing before a judicial inquiry into phone-hacking allegations at the now-defunct News of the World, admitted on Thursday that people’s mobile phones were illegally hacked and even conceded there had been a cover-up at the newspaper, though he denied he had been a part of this. It was the second day that Murdoch – owner of Star TV in India and chairman of the $60 billion media conglomerate News Corporation – was giving evidence at London’s Royal Courts of Justice. Under a patient, polite, but piercing inquisition by the lead counsel, Robert Jay, the 81-year-old tycoon could no longer keep denying or not remembering.

Playing the victim, Murdoch said, “There was a cover-up. I think the senior executives were shielded from anything that was going on there. But there is no question in my mind that maybe even the editor, but certainly beyond that, someone took the charge of cover-up.” He came close to naming those he suspected, describing one as a “clever lawyer and a drinking pal of the Times when Murdoch bought it in 1981 – and sacked him within a year – was scathing in his criticism of Murdoch’s deposition.

Evans alleged that Murdoch had told the then news editor of the Times the promises of editorial independence given to avoid his bid for the paper being referred to the British Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC) “weren’t worth the paper they were written on”.

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