A year that has begun badly for Rupert Murdoch grew a little worse yesterday after the founder of WikLeaks, Julian Assange, claimed he had secret documents damaging to the media mogul and his News Corp empire.
Mr Assange said he had withheld a cache of confidential US government cables and files relating to Mr Murdoch's business as "insurance". He has claimed that his life would be in danger if he was extradited to Sweden on sexual assault charges.
WikiLeaks is thought to be in possession of 250,000 confidential US government cables, and those already published have exposed embarrassing diplomatic secrets.
Mr Assange indicated that he had paperwork that could be hurtful to News Corp. "There are 504 US embassy cables on one broadcasting organisation and there are cables on Murdoch and News Corp," he said.
In a further broadside yesterday, one of Mr Murdoch's former henchmen, Andrew Neil, publicly questioned whether the world's most powerful media figure retained his grip over his organisation. Criticising the output of Mr Murdoch's Fox News, Mr Neil, the founding chairman of Sky TV and the former editor of the 'Sunday Times', said the News Corp CEO was "uncomfortable" with Fox's right-wing presenters, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck. (© Independent News Services)