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James Murdoch quizzed in UK inquiry

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 02:45

April 24 - Appearing before a judicial inquiry into press ethics, former News International chairman James Murdoch denies trying to use political influence of newspapers to boost support for New's Corp.'s ill-fated BSkyB bid. Matt Cowan reports.

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James Murdoch is sticking to his story. SOUNDBITE: Robert Jay, Lawyer, saying (English): "The point put very bluntly is that Mr. Goodman is alleging that others at News International were involved. You can see that?" SOUNDBITE: James Murdoch, former News Intenational Chairman saying (English): "Yes, and I was not aware of that at the time." Appearing before a judicial inquiry into press standards set up in the wake of the phone hacking scandal at the now defunct News of the World, the former chariman of News International reiterated his position that he'd been kept in the dark about the extent of wrongdoing at its top-selling tabloid. Presented with conflicting testimony from the paper's ex-editor and former lawyer, he was resolute. SOUNDBITE: James Murdoch, former News Intenational Chairman saying (English): "Their assurances to me were consistently as I said - the newspaper had been investigated thoroughly. That outside people had come in to investigate it. That no evidence was found and that the police had asserted that in their evidence, that in the evidence that they had had their was no additional evidence and that was entirely consistent from Mr. Crone and Mr. Myler all the way through." Murdoch stepped down from his job as chairman of News International in February. Once the clear (air) apparent to succeed his father at the helm of News Corp, he's faced criticism for being slow to uncover the scale of the wrongdoing at its UK newspaper arm. The inquiry - ordered by British Prime Minister David Cameron - is also probing the nature of the relationship between media proprietors and politicians. SOUNDBITE: James Murdoch, former News Intenational Chairman saying (English): "I haven't actually spent that much time with politicians personally and certainly most of my interaction with politicians has been around British Sky Broadcasting where the politics of news and things like that don't fit in and most of my career has been about making television here." SOUNDBITE: Lord Justice Brian Leveson saying (English) "Do you think it might be an advantage...that actually News International have other interests that might be capable of at least potentially making a difference?" SOUNDBITE: James Murdoch, former News Intenational Chairman saying (English): "I don't think there's any interest of an advantage with respect to the way we've operated our business and the way the business has been regulated and governed in the country. I really just don't think that's there." Murdoch conceded that he is friendly with the British finance minister, discussed plans for a full takeover of BSkyB with the Prime Minister during a private dinner and had been in contact with UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt during the period when the Murdoch's was being considered. But, he says, the view that big media proprietors exert outsize influence is outdated. Matt Cowan, Reuters

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James Murdoch quizzed in UK inquiry

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 02:45