Cameron Calls for Two Public Hacking Inquiries

Posted July 8th, 2011 at 5:35 am (UTC-5)
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Britain's prime minister has called for a full public inquiry, led by a judge, into the telephone hacking scandal at the British tabloid News of the World.

David Cameron on Friday described the hacking scandal as “disgusting,” “disgraceful,” and despicable.”

The prime minister said a second inquiry will be established to look at the “culture and ethics” of the British press. Mr. Cameron said it is important for the British press to be free, but not above the law.

The Times newspaper reported Friday that Andy Coulson, a former editor of the News of the World and Mr. Cameron's former chief of communications, was at a London police station for questioning about the phone hacking scandal.

On Thursday, the News International company said it is shutting down the News of the World, following the hacking revelations, with victims ranging from celebrities, politicians and murder victims.

News International is owned by Australian-American media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

The phone hacking scandal has intensified with reports that relatives of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan were among those targeted.

The reports also say investigators believe News of the World staff may have bribed police officers for information about those victims.

The latest allegations follow outrage over reports the tabloid also may have intercepted voicemails sent to the phones of murder victims and their families. Those suspected to have been targeted include several schoolgirls murdered in 2002 and relatives of victims of the 2005 London transport bombings.

The phone hacking allegations against News of the World trace back several years. In 2007, a News of the World reporter and a private investigator hired by the paper were jailed for intercepting the mobile phone messages of British royal officials.