Blair Tells Inquiry He Strategically Courted Media

Posted May 28th, 2012 at 7:00 am (UTC-5)
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Former British prime minister Tony Blair told a parliamentary inquiry Monday that he made a political decision not to confront the media during his decade in office.

Mr. Blair testified at the inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press that it was inevitable that top politicians and senior media executives would have a close interaction. But, he said it was important to stop the relationship from becoming unhealthy.

Mr. Blair, who served as prime minister between 1997 and 2007, said he feared a battle with the media would be so intense that it would prevent his government from getting its work done.

Several senior politicians have appeared at the investigation set up last year after a phone hacking scandal when it emerged that reporters at The News of the World tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch had routinely hacked into the phones of public figures and crime victims.

The inquiry headed by Justice Brian Leveson is examining whether British politicians failed to curb the activities of the now defunct newspaper because they were too close to, or too intimidated by the media.