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UK MPs Seek to Question Murdoch on Hacking Scandal

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TEHRAN, July 13 (ICNA) – Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch was asked Tuesday to appear before the parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Committee next week to answer questions about the phone hacking scandal embroiling his News International empire.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 1:52:18 PM
UK MPs Seek to Question Murdoch on Hacking Scandal

The 80-year old Australian-American press baron was called to give evidence next Tuesday along with his son James Murdoch, chairman of News International, and Rebekah Brooks, its chief executive.

News International said it was aware of the request to interview senior executives and will 'cooperate' with the committee of MPs, but it was unclear if any will appear in person.

Parliamentary Select Committees have no powers to enforce an unwilling witness to attend and answer questions and likewise there is no compunction to accept its recommendations.

In a separate development, MPs are also due to vote on Wednesday on a resolution calling on Murdoch to drop his controversial bid to takeover BSkyB, Britain's largest satellite broadcaster “in the public interest” following the deepening phone hacking scandal.

But again, even if MPs pass the motion, there will be no obligation on Murdoch, who is not a British citizen, to comply although it will add to pressure on the government to reject the bid which it has decided to pass to a Competition Commission inquiry.

Further damning evidence against News International emerged from senior police officers when giving evidence to the Home Affairs Committee Tuesday, when they accused Murdoch's company of trying to obstruct the original investigation into phone hacking.

Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke spoke of Murdoch's media empire being a global company with access to the best legal advice when asked why the full extent of hacking at the News of the World was not uncovered.

The hacking scandal began with the jailing of a News of the World editor and private investigator in 2007 for intercepting voicemail messages left for members of the royal household.

But allegations have since continued, regarding hundreds of public figures targeted by interceptions over the years, and have extended to relatives of UK soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and even voicemails left on a phone belonging to schoolgirl Milly Dowler murdered in 2002.

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