Your Week in Murdoch (It’s Only Just Beginning)
Photo: James Murdoch (left) and Rupert Murdoch giving evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in the House of Commons in central London on the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. James Murdoch is to step down as executive chairman of News International to focus on expanding international TV businesses, the company announced today. (Press Association via AP Images)
This week, both James and Rupert Murdoch are scheduled to testify in front of the Leveson inquiry, a special committee investigating phone hacking by News of the World journalists and private investigators. It’s the first public testimony by the elder Murdoch since a parliamentary inquiry last July, during which he denied knowledge of the hacking and called the experience humbling; and the first for James since he stepped down as CEO of BSkyB.
James is testifying tomorrow; Rupert on Wednesday and Thursday. They’ll be questioned about the hacking scandal as part of an inquiry into British press standards. Media lawyer Duncan Lamont predicts that the Leveson hearing “will not be so generous in allowing the Murdochs to obfuscate or not have recollections and just say ‘sorry.'”
You can watch the proceedings live on the Leveson inquiry website. But that’s not all for the troubled newspaper wing of the elder Murdoch’s media empire.
Allegations of email hacking at Sky News are being investigated by British media regulators; new lawsuits have been filed by hacking victims in relation to the News of the World phone-hacking scandal; The Sun’s royal editor was among three new arrests last week as part of a bribery investigation; and it’s likely that Rebekah Brooks, former CEO of News International, is among the 11 names turned over to prosecutors last week by investigators to face charges. Brooks has been questioned by police twice.
So far, 45 people have been arrested in connection with the hacking, and the scandal has already lost News Corp. at least $195 million in settlements and other costs. The number of likely phone hacking victims has topped 1,000.
Bonus: A profile of former News of the World editor Colin Myler, who forwarded the now-famous “For Neville” email to James Murdoch, in New York magazine. The email raised questions News Corp.’s insistence that phone hacking was the work of one “rogue reporter,” Clive Goodman, who was jailed in 2007. Myler, who was editor when the News of the World shut down in the wake of the Milly Dowler phone hacking revelations, is now editor at the New York Daily News, a competitor to the Murdoch-owned New York Post.