British Deputy PM says Probe May Clean Up Press-Government Ties

Posted July 21st, 2011 at 9:10 am (UTC-5)
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British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says Britain's phone hacking scandal has created a once-in-a-generation chance to clean up murky relations among media, police, and politicians.

At a news conference Thursday in London, he said he hopes a wide-ranging judicial inquiry will help “clean up the murky practices and dodgy relationships which have taken root at the very heart of the British establishment.”

Clegg also defended Prime Minister David Cameron, who told Parliament Wednesday he had no “inappropriate” discussions with executives of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation about their bid, now dropped, to take full control of British Sky Broadcasting.

Mr. Cameron is fighting for his political reputation after being criticized for being too close to former editors of the now closed British tabloid News of the World. Allegations have been made that journalists at News of the World illegally hacked into the voicemail of thousands of people.

Meanwhile, Australia is considering toughening its privacy laws in the wake of the British phone-hacking scandal. Proposed changes include allowing Australians the right to sue over serious breaches of privacy.

Past proposals to strengthen privacy laws in Australia have been strongly opposed by media companies, which say such legislation would restrict free speech.