James Murdoch says news organizations need to put a stronger emphasis on ethics in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, telling lawmakers that “we do need to think in this country more forcefully and thoughtfully about our journalistic ethics.”
The value of the Murdochs’ News Corp. added around $1.5 billion while they were being grilled, trading 3.8 percent higher at $15.54. The stock has taken a battering over the past couple of weeks, shedding around 17 percent of its value, or around $8 billion.
There has been speculation that Murdoch wanted to close the Sunday newspaper in order to merge its operations with the six-days-a-week Sun, which some have said will relaunch as a seven-day publication.
Asked by a Tuesday whether there was a financial motive for closing the paper, Rupert Murdoch said: “Far from it.”
Politicians also pushed for details about the Murdochs’ ties to Prime Minister David Cameron and other members of the British political establishment.
In a separate hearing, lawmakers questioned London police about reports that officers took bribes from journalists to provide inside information for tabloid scoops and to ask why the force decided to shut down an earlier phone hacking probe after charging only two people.
Detectives reopened the case earlier this year and are looking at a potential 3,700 victims.
The scandal has prompted the resignation and subsequent arrest of Brooks and the resignation of Wall Street Journal publisher Les Hinton, sunk the Murdochs’ dream of taking full control of lucrative satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting and raised questions about his ability to keep control of his global media empire.
Rupert Murdoch is eager to stop the crisis from spreading to the United States, where many of his most lucrative assets _ including the Fox TV network, 20th Century Fox film studio, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post _ are based.
London’s departing police chief revealed that 10 of the 45 press officers in his department used to work for News International, but he denied there are any improper links between the force and Murdoch’s media empire.
“I understand that there are 10 members of the (Department of Public Affairs) staff who have worked in News International in the past, in some cases journalists, in some cases undertaking work experience with the organization,” Paul Stephenson said.
Stephenson denied wrongdoing, or knowing the News of the World was engaged in phone hacking _ but acknowledged that in retrospect he was embarrassed the force had hired Neil Wallis, a former executive of the paper, as a PR consultant,