British PM Calls for Inquiries into Newspaper Phone Hacking Scandal

Posted July 6th, 2011 at 12:30 pm (UTC-5)
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British Prime Minister David Cameron has called for independent inquiries into new allegations that British tabloid newspaper News of the World hacked into the phones of multiple crime victims in recent years.

British media say police have expanded their investigation of the tabloid to include allegations that it hacked the phones of several schoolgirls murdered in 2002 and phones belonging to victims of the July 7, 2005 London transport bombings.

In remarks to the British parliament, Mr. Cameron described the revelations about News of the World as “absolutely disgusting.” He said there is a need for “independent ” and “public” inquiries into the behavior of individuals and media organizations and the failure of police to uncover the latest allegations in earlier investigations.

Mr. Cameron said the inquiries would have to wait for the police to conclude their investigation. British lawmakers were to hold an emergency debate on the scandal later in the day.

The scandal erupted earlier this week when British media said the News of the World is under police investigation for hacking into the phone of a 13-year-old girl who was abducted and murdered in 2002. British media say police are also investigating whether the newspaper hacked into the phones of two other schoolgirls murdered that year.

The father of one of the 52 people killed in the 2005 London bombings said police told him that his name was on a list of other potential phone hacking victims. Graham Foulkes said his son David's whereabouts were unknown for several days after the attack and family members left messages on David's phone in a frantic effort to reach him.

Foulkes said he was “horrified” to learn that the News of World may have eavesdropped on those messages.

The tabloid has faced accusations of phone hacking for several years. A News of the World editor and a private investigator hired by the newspaper were jailed in 2007 for intercepting the mobile phone messages of British royal officials.

The newspaper's publisher, News International, says that if the latest allegations turn out to be true, it will take action against those responsible. News International is owned by Australian tycoon Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

British Internet activists outraged by the scandal have called for a boycott of News of the World. Some companies have already have withdrawn their ads from the newspaper.