Murdoch Regrets 'Cover-Up' of Voicemail Hacking Scandal - Broadcasting & Cable

Murdoch Regrets 'Cover-Up' of Voicemail Hacking Scandal

"Someone took charge of a cover-up" and "I regret" that, Rupert Murdoch tells the Leveson inquiry
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In his second day of testimony before the Leveson inquiry looking into the voicemail hacking scandal and the larger issue of media ethics, News Corp. chairman and CEO admitted that there had been a cover-up of the hacking scandal but denied knowing about the cover-up and apologized for not being more involved in the operations of the tabloid News of the World, where widespread hacking occurred.

Murdoch also noted that the scandal has cost his company significant sums of money, with "hundreds of millions" of dollars being on the low side.

During the testimony Murdoch noted that he and other senior executives were not informed about the extent of the problems. "I do blame one or two people for that...someone took charge of a cover-up and we were victim to [that] and I regret [it]," he said, according to lengthy quotes of the testimony supplied by the BBC.

Throughout the questioning, Murdoch repeatedly apologized both for the harm that the hacking scandal caused victims and the company's failure to respond quickly enough to it. "I am guilty of having not paid enough attention to the News of the World," Murdoch said.

But he stressed "there was no attempt either at my level or several levels below me to cover it up."

He also regretted not closing the News of the World "years earlier."

Murdoch also responded to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown's reaction to his testimony on Wednesday, when Murdoch said Brown had said he would "make war" on News Corp. after the company's paper The Sun endorsed the Conservatives.

Brown denied the comment but when asked about the denial, Murdoch replied "I stand by every word of it."

The Leveson commission is looking at the larger issue of media ethics and the relationship between the media, politicians and the police. At the end of its inquiry it is expected to make recommendations on how the current system of regulating the press might be improved.

At the end of his testimony, Murdoch urged the inquiry not to recommend regulations that add burdensome new rules. "I think you have a danger of putting regulations in place which will mean there will be no press in 10 years to regulate," he said, according to the BBC. "And I honestly believe that newspapers and all they mean, mistakes and qualities are a huge benefit to society."

He also added according to the BBC that "a varied press guarantees democracy. We want democracy rather than autocracy."

Earlier he had also noted that "the laws you've seen in force in the last few months are perfectly adequate. It has been a failure of enforcement of the laws."

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