Prime Minister David Cameron said the News Corp. (NWSA) executive running the News of the World when telephones were hacked should have been removed and that it’s up to regulators to decide on the company’s future role in U.K. television broadcasting.
Responding to media reports that News International Chief Executive Officer Rebekah Brooks had offered her resignation over the phone-hacking scandal, Cameron told a news conference in London today that “in this situation I would have taken it.” Brooks once edited the paper, which is part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire.
News Corp. said yesterday it would close the 168-year-old News of the World tabloid after allegations that its journalists tapped the voice mails of murder victims and paid police officers for stories. The scandal has mounted as the government reviews News Corp.’s bid to take full control of satellite-TV provider British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc.
Cameron said that it is up to the media regulator, Ofcom, to decide whether News Corp. is “fit and proper” to acquire BSkyB.
“There are proper organizations and procedures,” Cameron said. “It is very important that this is done in the proper way.”
Cameron’s coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, called on Ofcom today to investigate whether it is appropriate for BSkyB to hold a broadcasting license.
Cameron said the decision to hire Andy Coulson, Brooks’s successor as News of the World editor, as his director of communications was his own responsibility. Coulson quit his editing job in 2007 after one of its reporters was jailed for phone-hacking.
“The decision to hire him was mine and mine alone and I take full responsibility for it,” he said.
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