Entries in Phone (3)


Investigation of Britain's Phone Hacking Scandal Begins

Warren Little/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The inquiry into Britain's phone hacking scandal, which will determine whether the country needs to ramp up its media regulation, officially kicked off on Thursday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron called for the investigation earlier this month in response to allegations that the country's highest circulated newspaper, News of the World, hacked into the cellphones of a missing schoolgirl and grieving families of terror victims, among others, in an effort to produce and break stories.

The panel, led by senior judge Brian Leveson, will start by examining whether the current self-regulation in the British press industry needs any modifications.

"My goal must be to consider what lessons if any may be learned from past events, and what recommendations if any should be made for the future," Leveson said.

Later on, the panel will also look at relations among the press, police, and politicians. Scotland Yard suffered a black eye in the scandal as well, as police officers have been accused of taking bribes in exchange for leaking details to former News of the World reporters. 

It will have the power to compel witnesses to appear.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Piers Morgan Defends Phone Hacking Denials

Turner Broadcasting(NEW YORK) -- Former Fleet Street editor and current CNN host Piers Morgan says he in no way has admitted to knowledge of phone hacking by his staff when he was editor of two of Rupert Murdoch's British tabloids.

Morgan was responding to British political blogger Paul Staines who blogs under the name Guido Fawkes and who claimed to have discovered a 2009 recording where some interpret Morgan as admitting knowledge of the hacking and other unsavory activities by Murdoch journalists.

Morgan says "there is no contradiction" between his 2009 comments to BBC radio host Kirsty Young and his "unequivocal statements with regard to phone-hacking."

"Millions of people heard these comments when I first made them in 2009 on one of the BBC's longest-running radio shows, and none deduced that I was admitting to, or condoning illegal reporting activity," Morgan said in a statement Wednesday to ABC News. "Kirsty asked me a fairly lengthy question about how I felt dealing with people operating at the sharp end of investigative journalism. My answer was not specific to any of the numerous examples she gave, but a general observation about tabloid newspaper reporters and private investigators."

Morgan spent last week denying that he was involved in phone hacking while editor of News of the World and the Daily Mirror after a member of Parliament accused him of publishing an article obtained by phone hacking.

"For the record, in my time at the News of the World and the Mirror, I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, or published any stories based on the hacking of a phone," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room.

"As I have said before, I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone," Morgan concluded in his statement.

In the June 2009 interview, Morgan was asked how he felt about so-called "gutter" journalistic practices, such as digging through trash cans and tapping people's phones to get information and taking secret photographs. "To be honest, let's put that in perspective as well. Not a lot of that went on. A lot of it was done by third parties rather than the staff themselves. That's not to defend it, because obviously you were running the results of their work," he said. "I'm quite happy to be parked in the corner of tabloid beast and to have to sit here defending all these things I used to get up to, and I make no pretence about the stuff we used to do."

"I simply say the net of people doing it was very wide, and certainly encompassed the high and low end of the supposed newspaper market," Morgan told the BBC interviewer.

Morgan, who's also a judge on America's Got Talent, served as editor at News of the World in 1994 and 1995, before helming the Mirror, where he stayed until 2004.

Last week, during a Parliamentary hearing with Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch, whose now closed News of the World is at the center of the scandal, committee member Louise Mensch accused Morgan of publishing an article in 2002 that had been obtained via phone hacking.

Morgan denied the accusation and demanded an apology from Mensch.

He's also fighting off accusations from James Hipwell, a former Daily Mirror financial columnist who called illegal phone hacking "endemic" during Morgan's tenure.

"Piers was extremely hands-on as an editor," Hipwell told British newspaper The Independent Saturday. "I can't say 100 percent that he knew about it. But it was inconceivable he didn't."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hacking Scandal: Cameron Keeps Parliament in Session, Top Cop Resigns

Peter Macdiarmid/WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron will cut short an overseas trip to address a special session of Parliament on the phone hacking scandal that has rocked the country's media, political, and law enforcement circles.

Cameron announced Monday from South Africa, where he is in the midst of a two-day visit, that he would return to Britain in time to address a special session of Parliament on Wednesday. Parliament had been scheduled to recess for the summer on Tuesday.

The latest attempt at damage control from Cameron comes just one day after the resignation of Britain's top law enforcement official, Sir Paul Stephenson, and the arrest of Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's News International and Cameron's close friend, for suspicion of illegally intercepting phone calls, snooping into voicemail accounts, and bribing the police in exchange for tips and other information.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reported Monday that Sean Hoare, a former News of the World reporter who first came forward about the hacking of phones by the Murdoch-owned newspaper to get stories, was found dead in his home. The paper quoted police as saying the death was unexplained, but not suspicious.

Hoare, who was fired from the paper in 2005, told The New York Times about the phone-hacking allegations at the News of the World, alleging that editor Andy Coulson encouraged his staff to intercept the phone calls of celebrities and others to get scoops.

Cameron's decision to delay Parliament's recess also came just hours before the resignation of Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner John Yates was announced as well.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) said Monday, "Assistant Commissioner John Yates has this afternoon indicated his intention to resign to the Chair of the MPA. This has been accepted."

Yates was one of the Scotland Yard's highest-ranking officials who, in recent days, came under intense pressure to explain why, in July 2009, after UK newspaper The Guardian alleged there were thousands more victims of the News of the World's illegal phone hacking practice, he did not order a fresh investigation after being asked to review the case.

Brooks, 43, a protégé of media mogul Murdoch who was once the editor of the News of the World, the tabloid that is accused of hacking into the phones of celebrities and victims of murder and terrorism, was arrested and held for 12 hours on Sunday before being released on bail.

The questions remain, however, as to if and when this scandal that is rocking the U.K. media landscape will cross the Atlantic: Murdoch's multi-billion dollar empire in the U.S. includes The New York Post, Fox News, and the Wall Street Journal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio