Secret recordings a headache for Murdoch
News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch has been secretly recorded complaining about the police investigation into his company's alleged involvement in phone hacking a bribery.PT2M35S http://www.dailylife.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2pdvg 620 349 July 4, 2013
Rupert Murdoch has vented his anger at the continuing police investigation into alleged phone-hacking and illegal payments to officials by journalists working for his media empire, according to a secret recording.
The News Corp boss was heard describing the treatment of journalists who had been arrested as a "disgrace" and suggesting that he regretted the extent to which the company had co-operated with the investigation.
The recording, obtained by the Exaro investigative website and broadcast by Channel 4 News, was said to have been made during a meeting with journalists from The Sun at his British newspapers' headquarters in Wapping, east London, in March.
Rupert Murdoch. Photo: Bloomberg
Mr Murdoch also indicated that he had known for years that journalists at his UK newspapers were paying public officials for tips.
‘‘We’re talking about payments for news tips from cops: That’s been going on a hundred years, absolutely,’’ Mr Murdoch told staff at the newspaper.
Railing at the police
Mr Murdoch is heard railing at the the way the police behaved.
"Still, I mean, it's a disgrace. Here we are, two years later, and the cops are totally incompetent," he said.
When one of the journalists present questioned why so much material had been handed over to the police by News Corp's management and standards committee, Mr Murdoch indicated that he believed they had gone too far.
"Because - it was a mistake, I think. But, in that atmosphere, at that time, we said, 'Look, we are an open book, we will show you everything.' And the lawyers just got rich going through millions of emails," he said.
Mr Murdoch also appeared to suggest that any journalists who were convicted and jailed in connection with the inquiry could get their jobs back.
"I will do everything in my power to give you total support, even if you're convicted and get six months or whatever," he said.
"You're all innocent until proven guilty. What you're asking is: what happens if some of you are proven guilty? What afterwards? I'm not allowed to promise you - I will promise you continued health support - but your jobs. I've got to be careful what comes out - but, frankly, I won't say it, but just trust me."
Labour MP Tom Watson said Mr Murdoch's comments contrasted with his contrite appearance before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee two years ago.
News Corp continues to deal with fall-out from the hacking scandal at its UK newspapers.
Last month the company won approval of a $US139 million ($153 million) settlement of investor litigation over the matter.
British prosecutors said last month that a Sun journalist and corrections officer face criminal charges over bribes paid for information about UK. prisons.
The company, though, denied Mr Murdoch had prior knowledge of payments to police.
‘‘Mr Murdoch never knew of payments made by Sun staff to police before News Corp disclosed that to UK authorities,’’ the company said Wednesday in a statement.
‘‘Furthermore, he never said he knew of payments.It’s absolutely false to suggest otherwise.’’
News Corp said no other company ‘‘has done as much to identify what went wrong, compensate the victims, and ensure the same mistakes do not happen again.’’
The company also cited cooperation with courts by its management standards committee.