Cameron Cuts Africa Trip Short Due to Phone Hacking Scandal

Posted July 18th, 2011 at 1:20 am (UTC-5)
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British Prime Minister David Cameron will cut short his visit to Africa in order to deal with an ongoing phone-hacking scandal that involves some people close to the British leader. Mr. Cameron is expected to return to London by Wednesday to deal with the crisis.

London's police chief quit Sunday over allegations about police failures in the scandal involving journalists at the now-defunct tabloid, News of the World.

Paul Stephenson told journalists that he did not do anything wrong. But he said he did not want criticism of his conduct to detract from the police department being able to do its job.

British police have been accused of accepting bribes from News of the World journalists and not doing enough to investigate phone-hacking allegations.

News of the World shut down a week ago following allegations that reporters illegally accessed the cellphone voice mails of hundreds of celebrities, politicians, rival journalists and even murder victims. The tabloid's reporters are also suspected of bribing police for information.

Stephenson also has been criticized for hiring a former News of the World executive editor, Neil Wallis, as a part-time media consultant. Wallis was arrested last week in connection with the scandal.

Stephenson said he did not make the decision to hire Wallis and did not know of his alleged links to phone hacking.

Earlier Sunday, British police arrested Rebekah Brooks, a former News of the World editor and a key executive of Rupert Murdoch's global media empire. She was freed on bail several hours later. Brooks was the 10th person arrested in connection with the scandal.

Murdoch published his second public apology in British newspapers Sunday. He said he is “deeply sorry for the hurt” caused by his journalists' “serious wrongdoing”.

The firestorm over the scandal also forced Murdoch to abandon efforts to push through a multi-billion-dollar bid for British Sky Broadcasting, a satellite television company.

In the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun a probe into whether employees of Murdoch's media conglomerate News Corporation tried to hack into the phones of victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and their families, or tried to bribe police for information.

Murdoch's company has several lucrative news and entertainment outlets in the United States, including the country's top business newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, and a major television outlet, Fox News Channel.