Murdoch faces backlash over recordings

Bec Fary / July 10, 2013 09:51 AM

Two years after media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s “most humble day”, he has been recalled to a parliamentary committee. 

Murdoch Parliamentary Committee - Credit Guardian

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch in front of a parliamentary committe in 2011. Photo credit: The Guardian.

British MPs are set to grill Murdoch after a secret recording of him criticising the police investigation into the phone hacking scandal aired last week.

Contradicting his public denials of bribery and phone hacking, Murdoch told journalists at his London newspaper The Sun that it had been common practice for decades.

To read more about the phone recording, in which he suggests he will continue to support journalists even if they are convicted, read our story from last week

The Australian-born newspaper tycoon appeared before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of Britain’s lower house of parliament two years ago at the height of the phone hacking scandal that closed the News of the World tabloid.

Murdoch is a US citizen and isn’t legally obliged to return to the UK to face parliament, but News Corp issued a statement saying he “welcomes the opportunity to return”.

“He looks forward to clearing up any misconceptions as soon as possible,” News Corp said.

When the secret recordings aired last week, fresh questions arose about Murdoch’s feelings about the phone hacking scandal.

When he first appeared before the parliamentary committee in July 2011, an apologetic Murdoch explained what he knew of allegations against News of the World.

“This is the most humble day of my life,” he said.

British Labour MP Tom Watson says the committee will question Murdoch’s integrity.

"It's pretty clear to me now that it wasn't really the most humble day of his life," Watson told the ABC.

"He was very defiant, he was resentful, he criticises the police inquiry. This is a man who says one thing in public and something else in private and I'm sure that the committee will want to explore that.

"Mock humility is not a crime, no, but I think it does reveal something of the character of the man that is responsible for corporate culture in what is one of the biggest media empires on the planet.

Watson says the secret recording is a huge embarrassment for Murdoch.

Police investigations into the hacking scandal are ongoing, and now indicate up to 5,500 people had their phones hacked. 

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