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Spreading phone hacking scandal touches UK nerves
LONDON (AP) - Britain’s phone hacking scandal intensified Wednesday as the scope of tabloid intrusion into private voice mails became clearer: Murder victims. Terror victims. Film stars. Sports figures. Politicians. The royal family’s entourage.
Almost no one, it seems, was safe from a tabloid determined to beat its rivals, whatever it takes.
The focal point is the News of the World _ now facing a spreading advertising boycott _ and the top executives of its parent companies: Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International, and her boss, media potentate Rupert Murdoch.
The scandal, which has already touched the office of Prime Minister David Cameron, widened as the Metropolitan Police confirmed they were investigating evidence from News International that the tabloid made illegal payments to police officers in its quest for information.
The list of potential victims also grew. Revelations emerged Wednesday that the phones of relatives of people killed in the July 7, 2005, terrorist attacks on London’s transit system, as well as those tied to two more slain schoolgirls, may also have been targeted.
The true extent of the hacking is not yet clear _ and may not be known for months as inquiries unfold.
“I just felt stunned and horrified,” Foulkes told The Associated Press. “I find it hard to believe someone could be so wicked and so evil, and that someone could work for an organization that even today is trying to defend what they see as normal practices.”
Foulkes, who plans to mourn his son on Thursday’s sixth anniversary of the attack, said an independent investigation is needed because the police were compromised by accepting payoffs from the tabloid.
“The police are now implicated,” he said. “The prime minister must have an independent inquiry and all concerned should be prosecuted.”
Foulkes also demanded the resignation of Brooks, the former News of the World editor who is now chief executive of News International, the U.K. newspaper division of Murdoch’s News Corp. media empire. News Corp. owns a swath of newspapers, including News of the World, the Sun, and the Wall Street Journal.
“She’s gotta go,” Foulkes said. “She cannot say, oops, sorry, we’ve been caught out. Of course she’s responsible for the ethos and practices of her department. Her position is untenable.”
Brooks, one of the most powerful women in British journalism, maintains she did not know about the phone hacking. She said she will continue to direct the company.
Foulkes also challenged Murdoch _ a global media titan with newspaper, television, movie and book publishing interests in the United States, Britain, Australia and elsewhere _ to meet with him to discuss the intrusion into his privacy.
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