Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch — the boss of his British media group News International (NI) — and its chief executive Rebekah Brooks were on Tuesday summoned by MPs to appear before a high-power parliamentary committee to answer questions relating to the phone hacking scandal.
This followed new allegations of use of criminal newsgathering practices by journalists at the Murdoch papers — including gaining access to personal information about the former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown — and claim by a former senior Scotland Yard officer that NI attempted to “thwart” the original inquiry into to allegations of phone-hacking by News of the World (NoW).
“This is a major global organisation with access to the best legal advice, in my view deliberately trying to thwart a police investigation,” Peter Clarke, former Deputy Assistant Commissioner, who led an inquiry in 2006 told the Home Affairs Select Committee.
It has been alleged that NI withheld from the police and Parliament an internal inquiry report which found that criminal practices at NoW were far more widespread than the paper or its publishers had admitted.
Mr. Brown accused The Sunday Times and the Sun, both owned by Mr. Murdoch, of using “disgusting” methods to obtain his personal financial and legal files. He was particularly angry that medical information about his son who was born with cystic fibrosis was published by the Sun. “Sarah and I were incredibly upset about it,” he said. Prime Minister David Cameron said: “To have your children' privacy invaded in that way, and I know this myself, particularly when your child isn't well, is completely unacceptable.”