BBC World Service

How James Murdoch’s resignation affects British media

Adriene Hill Feb 29, 2012

Adriene Hill: James Murdoch, son of media giant Rupert Murdoch, has stepped down as the head of News International. That’s the British newspaper publisher which has been tainted by a phone hacking scandal. James will instead focus on the international television business at News Corp.

The BBC’s political correspondent Rob Watson has been covering the story. He joins us now from London.

Rob Watson: Good morning.

Hill: So is this news surprising?

Watson: I don’t think it’s entirely surprising. In a way, James Murdoch had already started to distance himself from the U.K. newspaper part of Rupert Murdoch’s broader News Corporation empire. So not entirely surprising, although that’s not of course to say that it isn’t being made a huge fuss of here in the U.K.

Hill: And why the fuss?

Watson: Well why the fuss — because of course, Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers are front-and-center of all sorts of attention, inquiries, police activities, and a general bit of soul searching in Britain about the nature of the press and its relationship with its readers — and of course with the police and all aspects of society. So it’s a hugely hot topic, and right-bang-smack at the central of it are the Murdoch newspapers.

Hill: So where do you expect this will move from here?

Watson: What we’re already seeing is lots of speculation in the British media as to whether, although James has stepped down as head of the U.K. newspaper part of the business, that doesn’t mean of course that he won’t necessarily be summoned perhaps to some of the various parliamentary and other committees who are looking into the whole hacking scandal. So it’s over in terms of James’ role in the newspaper business here, but I don’t think his role is over in terms of all these inquiries that are going on into what went wrong.

Hill: The BBC’s Rob Watson. Thanks.

Watson: Thank you.

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