Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Murdoch apology as Brooks quits

Rebekah Brooks

Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks has became the most high-profile casualty of the phone-hacking scandal, quitting as chief executive of News International.

Her departure came as Rupert Murdoch put his name to a public apology - to be published in Saturday's press - for "serious wrong-doing" at the Sunday tabloid which he closed last week.

Later, another top executive quit as the phone hacking scandal claimed another victim. Les Hinton, chief executive officer of Dow Jones and Co, and publisher of The Wall Street Journal, was a veteran of News Corporation.

He was head of News International from 1995 to 2007, a period in which the News of the World was hacking phones.

It also emerged that Ms Brooks's successor as NoW editor, Andy Coulson, was entertained by David Cameron at Chequers in March, two months after quitting as Downing Street director of communications because of pressure over the phone-hacking scandal.

Mr Coulson - described as recently as last week by the Prime Minister as "a friend" - was arrested and bailed last Friday over alleged corruption and hacking offences relating to his time at the newspaper.

A list of Mr Cameron's guests at his country retreat showed that he was visited there twice by Ms Brooks, in June and August last year, as well as once in November by News International chairman James Murdoch and his wife Kathryn.

In the adverts, Rupert Murdoch will say that he is "deeply sorry" for the hurt caused to those affected by phone hacking and will admit shortcomings in the response from the NoW's publisher News International, which still publishes the Sun, Times and Sunday Times.

The apology comes hours after an interview with the News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal in which Mr Murdoch said the company had handled the crisis "extremely well in every possible way", making just "minor mistakes".

A second advert will appear in newspapers on Sunday and Monday, outlining the steps that News International and parent company News Corp have taken to investigate and address previous wrongdoing and prevent it from happening again.

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