News of the World: New document suggests cover-up

Thursday, August 18, 2011

James Murdoch
Image: Esther Dyson.

The British Government has released a document, which suggests that both reporters and top editors of News of the World used and sanctioned phone hacking.

The release of the documents contradicts statements that James Murdoch and other News of the World executives made this July, claiming that the hacking was the fault of one single 'rogue' reporter. The documents included a letter written by a former reporter, Clive Goodman, the only person convicted amidst the controversy so far. The internal letter alleges that the phone hacking was well known by the staff and both supported and widely discussed at daily meetings. "This practice was widely discussed in the daily editorial conference, until explicit reference to it was banned by the Editor," Goodman wrote. He further claimed that he was promised that he would be given his job back if he kept quiet about the illegal voicemail tapping.

In a statement recognising the seriousness of the letter, News International, the owner of the defunct News of the World, said that it was "working in constructive and open ways with the police and government".

A parliamentary committee looking into the scandal has urged four senior members from News International and News of the World, including former executives Andy Coulson and Les Hinton, to reappear at the committee hearings due to the recent developments. The committee also stated that it would likely summon James Murdoch, the Chairman of News International, who is suspected of falsifying or giving misleading evidence during his parliamentary hearing last month.