NEWS Corporation chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch said last night he was not ultimately responsible for the hacking scandal that destroyed the News of the World.
Mr Murdoch also told the House of Commons media committee he didn’t believe the FBI had uncovered any evidence of hacking of September 11 victims in a recent inquiry.He said had lost sight of NOTW because it was such a small part of his global operations, and spoke to its editor about once a month, talking more often with the editor of the The Sunday Times and The Wall Street Journal.Labour MP Tom Watson asked Mr Murdoch when he became aware that criminality was “endemic” at the NOTW.”Endemic is a very hard, a very wide-ranging word,” he replied.Mr Murdoch acknowledged he did not investigate after former News International chief Rebekah Brooks, told parliament in 2003 that NOTW had paid police officers for information.
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Asked why there was no investigation, he said: “I didn’t know of it.”Mr Murdoch said he was not informed that his company had paid out big sums — pound stg. 700,000 in one case — to settle lawsuits by phone hacking victims. James Murdoch said his father became aware of the settlement “in 2009 after a newspaper report. It was a confidential settlement”.He said a civil case of that nature and size would be dealt with by the executives in the country involved — in this case himself.In response to a question about the concept of “legal blindness”, Rupert Murdoch said he had “heard the phrase before. And we were not ever guilty of that”.James Murdoch said news organisations needed to put a stronger emphasis on ethics in the wake of the scandal, saying that “we do need to think in this country more forcefully and thoughtfully about our journalistic ethics”.