Friday, 8 April 2011

Phone hacking: News International is to apologies

News International is to apologie and offer to pay compensation to eight News of the World phone hacking dead who are at present suing the paper, including actor Sienna Miller, former culture secretary Tessa Jowell and former Sky Sports commentator Andy Gray.

In one of the most dramatic apologies in the history of Fleet Street, Rupert Murdoch's News International said its previous inquiries into phone hacking were not sufficiently robust and issued an unreserved apology for the fact hacking took place at the News of the World.

The others who will be offered apologies and damages are Jowell's former husband David Mills, football agent Sky Andrew, publicist Nicola Phillips, Joan Hammell, an former aide to former deputy prime minister John Prescott, and interior designer Kelly Hoppen. News International will offer to pay damages and legal fees.

News International is likely to offer to settle more cases. A total of 24 people have begun legal actions but the company believes that in many of the cases too little evidence has so far been produced to judge whether or not it was culpable. Others are taking legal action including actors Steve Coogan and Leslie Ash.

News International claimed hacking at the paper was carried out by a rogue reporter, former royal editor Clive Goodman. He was jailed in January 2007 along with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire for illegally intercepting voicemail messages left on mobile phones belonging to members of the royal household.
He said Murdoch should apologies for the manner in which the News of the World obtained their stories and root out the executives and reporters who were responsible for phone hacking."

Referring to the new police inquiry which began in January, Watson added: "The new investigation team is clearly doing a more thorough job but there are still lots of loose ends in this.

He said: "News International won newspaper on the year in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, when we know that phone hacking was going on. They subverted journalist. They undermined out democracy."

Keith Vaz MP said: "This is a step forward by those who don't want to spend entire days and months of their lives in court.”


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