James Murdoch faces questions at media ethics hearing

Stephen Beard Apr 24, 2012

David Brancaccio: In London, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and his son James are facing tough questions at a government hearing into news media ethics. When they appeared together before parliament last year, the Murdochs did not get an easy ride. One lawmaker accused them of running their media empire like the mafia.

From London, Marketplace’s Stephen Beard reports.

Stephen Beard: James Murdoch got quite a grilling when he appeared before the enquiry this morning. He was asked repeatedly why was he not aware that phone-hacking was rife on one of the newspapers he was running.

James Murdoch: I was given repeated assurances, as I’ve said, that these practices — that the newsroom had been investigated, that there was no evidence. I was given the same assurances as they gave outside.

Tomorrow, his father Rupert will be challenged on the issue of political influence: whether he had a hold over successive British governments.

Tim Luckhurst is professor of journalism at Kent University. He says several British politicians will be shaking in their shoes when the elderly tycoon gives his evidence.

Tim Luckhurst: He’s privy to information which could do real damage to the reputations of serving and former prime ministers and cabinet ministers in this country.

Other analysts say that Rupert Murdoch is totally unrepentant over the phone-hacking scandal and is not happy with Prime Minister David Cameron for setting up the ethics enquiry.

In London, I’m Stephen for Marketplace.

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