James Murdoch, heir apparent to the Murdoch media empire, is being accused of misleading Parliament's Culture, Media, and Sport Committee in his Jul. 19 testimony. -- "James Murdoch said that when authorizing an out-of-court settlement to a voicemail hacking victim, he was unaware of an email that could suggest knowledge of hacking at the now-shuttered NotW went wider than one rogue reporter," AFP reported. -- "But Colin Myler, the last editor of the News of the World, and Tom Crone, the former News International legal manager, broke ranks on Thursday to say James Murdoch's recollection of events in 2008 was 'mistaken.'" -- A member of Parliament has "referred James Murdoch's testimony to the police." -- "Opposition Labor Party leader Ed Miliband told The Times that the newspaper's owners News International needed to do more to break with the past. 'There are just too many unanswered questions. The ignorance defense is being used too often in this saga, at the top of News International and by politicians,' he said." -- In the U.S., the Los Angeles Times reported that the FBI has been asked by a member of the House of Representatives to "look into allegations that News of the World may have tried to hack into the voicemails of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. . . . the Justice Department is putting the wheels in motion for its own probe . . . Some members of Congress and watchdog groups also have called for hearings to explore whether News Corp. has engaged in any illegal activity." -- "On Friday, the activist group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics asked for congressional hearings to determine if News Corp. had violated the character requirements mandated by the Federal Communications Commission to operate television stations," Joe Flint said....
JAMES MURDOCH UNDER FIRE AS HACKING CLAIMS WIDEN
July 23, 2011
LONDON -- James Murdoch was under pressure Saturday over the extent of his knowledge of Britain's phone-hacking scandal as accusations of tabloid wrongdoing spread beyond the felled News of the World.
Prime Minister David Cameron, facing a rough ride over his appointment of former NotW editor Andy Coulson as his media chief, said Murdoch had "questions to answer" over claims of misleading parliament on the affair.
James Murdoch, the chairman of News International, the British newspaper division of his father Rupert's News Corporation global media empire, has been challenged over evidence he gave before parliament's media scrutiny committee on Tuesday.
A lawmaker has referred James Murdoch's testimony to the police. He is standing by his evidence.
During a tense appearance with his father before the committee, James Murdoch said that when authorizing an out-of-court settlement to a voicemail hacking victim, he was unaware of an email that could suggest knowledge of hacking at the now-shuttered NotW went wider than one rogue reporter.
But Colin Myler, the last editor of the News of the World, and Tom Crone, the former News International legal manager, broke ranks on Thursday to say James Murdoch's recollection of events in 2008 was "mistaken."
The scandal, which erupted earlier this month, has already engulfed News International, the police, and senior politicians, including Cameron.
So far the allegations of wrongdoing have largely been restricted to News of the World.
However, a former journalist at the Daily Mirror tabloid -- the main competitor to News International's The Sun, Britain's biggest-selling newspaper -- claimed that voicemail hacking was widespread at his old paper.
James Hipwell, 45, worked for two years until 2000 on the tabloid's business desk, which he said was next to the showbusiness desk.
"You know what people around you are doing," he told The Independent newspaper.
"They would call a celebrity with one phone and when it was answered they would then hang up. By that stage the other phone would be into their (the celebrity's) voicemail and they would key in the code.
"At the time it wasn't illegal . . . It was seen as a bit of a wheeze, slightly underhand but something many of them did -- what a laugh.
"After they'd hacked into someone's mobile they'd delete the message so another paper couldn't get the story. There was a great hilarity about it."
Hipwell was sacked by the Mirror over the so-called "City Slickers" scandal. He was accused of buying shares before tipping them in the paper. He was convicted of market manipulation and jailed.
A spokesman for the tabloid's publishers Trinity Mirror insisted: "Our journalists work within the criminal law and the Press Complaints Commission code of conduct."
Meanwhile police are to investigate claims of phone hacking in Scotland, which has its own legal system.
They are also investigating whether witnesses lied during a perjury trial last year.
Coulson, the Scottish News of the World editor and a reporter were among those who gave evidence.
Opposition Labor Party leader Ed Miliband told The Times that the newspaper's owners News International needed to do more to break with the past.
"There are just too many unanswered questions. The ignorance defense is being used too often in this saga, at the top of News International and by politicians," he said.
"It gets to a point where the sin of not finding out is as bad as finding out."
He said it was down to News International and its investors to decide whether James and Rupert Murdoch should resign, but added: "this happened on someone's watch."
News Corp. was forced to abandon a bid for full control of the lucrative pay-TV satellite broadcaster BSkyB giant earlier this month because of the scandal.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper said Saturday that British finance minister George Osborne had dinner with Rupert Murdoch in New York in December, two weeks before the media regulator was originally due to decide on whether to approve the his BSkyB takeover bid.
The Treasury refused to discuss who attended, but insisted that BSkyB was not discussed.
It also said the judge in charge of the phone hacking inquiry, Lord Brian Leveson, went to two parties in the last year at the home of Matthew Freud, a public relations executive married to Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth.
PRESSURE INCREASES ON JAMES MURDOCH TO CLARIFY HIS STATEMENTS TO THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT
By Joe Flint
** New questions arise about what he knew about the extent of the phone-hacking scandal that is engulfing the News Corp. and when he knew it. **
Los Angeles Times
July 23, 2011 (posted Jul. 22)
News Corp. was hoping that having its chairman, Rupert Murdoch, and his deputy chief operating officer, his son James, apologize to the British Parliament for phone hacking at its News of the World tabloid would mark the beginning of the end of intense scrutiny the media giant has endured for the last two weeks.
But it may be only the end of the beginning.
New questions have arisen about James Murdoch's statements to Parliament's Culture, Media, and Sport [Committee] on Tuesday with regard to what he knew about the extent of the phone hacking and when he knew it. News of the World operatives have been accused of not only hacking into voicemails of celebrities and members of the royal family, but also victims of crime and terrorism and their families.
Since James Murdoch's remarks to Parliament, Colin Myler, a former News of the World editor, and Tom Crone, a former executive at News International, the News Corp. unit that housed the paper, have gone public to say they had alerted him to how prevalent phone hacking was at the tabloid.
On Friday, John Whittingdale, head of the parliamentary committee that questioned the Murdochs, said James Murdoch has been asked to clarify his comments -- a sentiment echoed by British Prime Minister David Cameron. James Murdoch issued a statement Thursday saying he stood by his remarks to Parliament.
The revelations of the phone hacking have torn through News Corp. Not only has it led to the shutdown of the 168-year-old News of the World, but it also derailed News Corp.'s plans to buy powerful British Broadcaster BSkyB outright, and two top executives -- Les Hinton and Rebekah Brooks -- were forced to resign. Brooks was subsequently arrested.
News Corp.'s headaches in Britain are beginning to spread to the United States. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has requested that the FBI look into allegations that News of the World may have tried to hack into the voicemails of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Asked about that during the Parliament hearing, Rupert Murdoch said there was no evidence to support those claims.
Still, the Justice Department is putting the wheels in motion for its own probe into the matter as well as to whether News of the World's actions put News Corp. in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The Justice Department declined to comment.
Some members of Congress and watchdog groups also have called for hearings to explore whether News Corp. has engaged in any illegal activity.
On Friday, the activist group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics asked for congressional hearings to determine if News Corp. had violated the character requirements mandated by the Federal Communications Commission to operate television stations.
News Corp. owns 27 television stations in the United States. A News Corp. spokeswoman declined to comment.