In the most damning denunciation of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp to date following the recent telephone hacking revelations, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown accused the media conglomerate of engaging in "law-breaking on an industrial scale" and described News International, the umbrella group for Murdoch's British news operations, as "a criminal media nexus" that "claimed to be on the side of the law-abiding citizen" but was actually standing "side-by-side with criminals against our citizens." As the attacks on Murdoch's media empire in the U.K. escalated, a News Corp spokesperson announced today (Thursday) that Rupert Murdoch and his son James had agreed to appear before a committee of the House of Commons investigating the phone-hacking scandal. Committee chairman John Whittingdale told Sky News "I would Hope they would take it seriously and they will give us the answers that not just we want to hear but I think an awful lot of people will want to hear." What he particularly wants to know, he said, "is how far up the organization this went. Anyone who had any involvement or knowledge almost certainly shouldn't be in their job and possibly faces criminal charges." Indeed that fact may be cited by the News Corp executives to limit the scope of their responses to the committee. In a letter to the committee, Rebekah Brooks, CEO of News International, agreed to answer its questions but warned that the police investigation into the scandal "may prevent me from discussing these matters in details." Meanwhile, Scotland Yard announced today that it had arrested a ninth person on charges of "conspiring to intercept communications." The man is Neil Wallis, a former executive editor of News of the World.

14/07/2011