Cameron announces broad, deep enquiry into hacking

Cameron has asked Rupert Murdoch to drop the expansion plan for his media empire while police probe possible crimes by his journalists.

Kevin Anderson July 13, 2011 18:31:28 IST
Cameron announces broad, deep enquiry into hacking

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced a broad, multi-pronged enquiry into the growing scandal around Rupert Murdoch's newspapers, press regulation and allegations of police corruption relating to the scandal.

Pressure is increasing daily on embattled News International executive Rebekah Brooks and on News Corps' bid for the satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

Opposition leader Ed Miliband said it was an insult to the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler that Brooks remained in her job.

Cameron announces broad deep enquiry into hacking

Hours before the vote, Cameron urged News Corp to shelve the takeover plans. AFP

Brooks was editor at the News of the World when the schoolgirl's phone was hacked on behalf of the paper and messages were deleted. Those deleted messages gave hope to the police and her family that she still might be alive, and these revelations ignited public outrage and set off the flood of revelations in the last week.

Brooks is said to have offered her resignation, but it is being reported that her offer was not accepted. Cameron said, "She was right to resign, that resignation should have been accepted."

The British Parliament will vote to approve a non-binding motion urging Murdoch to abandon his bid for the 61 percent of BSkyB that he doesn't already own.

Hours before the vote, Cameron urged News Corp to shelve the takeover plans.

"What has happened at the company is disgraceful, it's got to be addressed at every level and they should stop thinking about mergers when they've got to sort out the mess they've created,” he said, calling for "root-and-branch change" at the company.

Analysts now say that the only way  News Corp could possibly buy the remaining share of the satellite broadcaster would be by selling all of its papers in the UK, The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times.

He put executives not only at News Corps' News International but also at other papers on notice.

"Not only should those responsible be brought to justice, but they should play no future role in running a media company in this country," he said.

In addition to investigating illegal activities by the press, the enquiry will also look into corruption at the police as allegations surfaced that officers sold contact details for the Queen and other members of the royal family. The police had launched a new investigation with a team independent of the original one that investigated the claims of phone hacking.

The last element of the enquiry would look into a new scheme of press regulation to replace the system of self-regulation in place at the time the scandal broke. Cameron called for a system of independent regulation to be put in place.

"Too much time has been spent courting the media rather than confronting its problems," Cameron said.

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