Murdoch apologizes over hacking scandal

Updated: 2011-07-16 15:24


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He met parents of Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old abducted in 2002 and found murdered six months later. Police are investigating whether someone engaged by the News of the World not only listened in to the missing teenager's cellphone mailbox but deleted some messages to make room for more.

That misled police hunting for her and gave her parents false hope that their daughter might still be alive. Brooks, now 43, was then editor of the News of the World and has denied knowing of any such practices at the time.

"He apologised many times," said Mark Lewis, the Dowler family lawyer. "I don't think somebody could have held their head in their hands so many times to say that they were sorry."

Newscorp shares closed up 1.33 percent at $15.64 on the Nasdaq.

British PM under fire

The resignation of Hinton, 67, was greeted by gasps and a stunned silence at the Wall Street Journal, where he served as publisher, despite mounting speculation that Hinton could be toppled by transgressions that occurred when he ran News International prior to Brooks.

"I have watched with sorrow from New York as the News of the World story has unfolded," Hinton wrote in his resignation letter.

"That I was ignorant of what apparently happened is irrelevant and in the circumstances I feel it is proper for me to resign from News Corp, and apologize to those hurt by the actions of the News of the World," he added.

Brooks had resisted pressure to quit, but finally resigned as chief executive of News International after a top News Corp shareholder, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, said she had to go.

The former editor of the News of the World and of flagship daily tabloid The Sun, was a favourite of Rupert Murdoch, who described her as his first priority just days ago.

In her place, he named News Corp veteran Tom Mockridge, who has spent the past eight years running Sky Italia.

Speaking before Friday's resignation Murdoch had defended the way his managers had handled the crisis in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

He spoke of "minor mistakes" and dismissed suggestions, floated by some shareholders, that he should sell off the troubled newspaper businesses on which his empire was founded but which bring in only limited profits.

Yet within a day of what sounded like an effort to play down the scandal, his abrupt change of tack into a hand-wringing mea culpa appeared aimed at shoring up the wider company.

The scandal has shaken Prime Minister Cameron, who is under fire for his personal relationship with Brooks and for hiring another ex-editor of the News of the World as his spokesman.

Cameron suffered another blow on Friday when an aide said he had hosted a visit from his former spokesman Andy Coulson in March this year - two months after Coulson quit his job.

Murdoch now faces a showdown with parliament on Tuesday when lawmakers on the media committee grill him, his son James and Brooks. During an angry debate this week, one legislator called him a "cancer on the body politic".

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