Politics|

Murdochs Refuse to Answer UK Parliament Questions

Rupert Murdoch (left) & James Murdoch (right)Parliament has been told that Rupert and James Murdoch are refusing to appear at a hearing on Tuesday about the phone hacking scandal at News of the World. Rupert says that he isn’t available, but he is willing to speak with the inquiry into how News Corporation, which owns the paper, gathers its news. James has suggested that he doesn’t have any free time until next month.

The investigation will surround the potential of phone hacking at all of News Corporation’s British newspapers – including the Sun and Times, which are operated by the group’s News International unit. The committee heading the inquiry summoned both Murdochs, father and son.

This comes after deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said on Wednesday that Rupert and Rebekah Brooks, the head of News International, should be obliged to appear at Parliament. The government needs to look into if they have the power and ability to obligate them. If someone can’t be, then he doesn’t know if they can force them to the select committee. However, if they have any bit of sense of accountability or responsibility for their position, then they should appear and explain themselves.

Of the 3 executives, Brooks is the only that has agreed to appear at the Tuesday hearing, according to a statement from Parliament. She will now be facing lawmakers alone as they attempt to break the media’s grip on politics. Rupert and James had stood by her so far, while she was also a friend of prime minister David Cameron until he supported calls for her to resign. Although she is appearing at the hearing, she says that the police inquiry could limit what she can say.

Meanwhile in the investigation, British police have arrested a 9th person suspected to have been involved in the scandal, which has included paying police officers for stories and hiring a private detective to hack phones belonging to murder, terror and war victims and their families. News of the World has been forced to close due to backlash from these deplorable actions, while Murdoch has also withdrawn its takeover bid for BSkyB.

The backlash hasn’t only been political, as the public has really expressed how disgusted it is about the whole matter and is pushing for something to be done about it. Although this is felt stronger in the UK, the feeling is mutual among many around the world.

Aside from the inquiry in Britain, politicians in the US are taking notice of the scandal. News Corporation is a US-based group, and 3 prominent lawmakers have called for federal officials to launch an investigation into if the group has broken any American laws. If an investigation is launched, Rupert would be sandwiched in probes. Furthermore, there is a chance that the government in Australia, where he was born, could get involved. Aussie prime minister Julia Gillard says that they could review media regulations.

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