Murdochs to Face British Parliament

Posted July 19th, 2011 at 6:50 am (UTC-5)
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Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, his son James, and former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks face questions from British Parliament Tuesday in a growing phone-hacking scandal. The questioning is expected to last several hours.

British Prime Minister David Cameron cut short a trip to Africa to attend the emergency session of Parliament and contain the crisis.

News of the World reporters have been accused of illegally accessing thousands of cellphone voice mails of celebrities, politicians, rival journalists and even murder victims.

Legislators will question James Murdoch about why he allegedly authorized payments to phone-hacking victims.

Rupert Murdoch shut down the paper last week after 168 years of publication.

The scandal has led to the resignations of London's top two police officers. Brooks and Prime Minister Cameron's former communications chief, Andy Coulson – a former News of the World Editor – have been arrested.

British reporter Sean Hoare, who first revealed the phone-hacking scandal, was found dead Monday. Britain's Press Association news agency reports police say the death is not considered suspicious.

The New York Times had quoted Hoare as saying phone hacking was widely used and encouraged at the tabloid under Coulson.

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

Murdoch's company owns several U.S. news and entertainment outlets, including the country's top business newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, and a major television outlet, Fox News Channel.