Leveson: Murdoch woes threaten to span Atlantic

Posted by Anthony Page

Rupert and James Murdoch return to face the Leveson Inquiry with the threat of legal action against News Corp growing stronger in the US.

Murdoch vs Leveson, Round 2Rupert Murdoch and his son James return to face the Leveson Inquiry (Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 April). This must be a very nervous time for them – one wrong word or turn of phrase could end up giving them bigger things to worry about than the succession of damaging headlines that the inquiry into press ethics has thrown up.

News Corp is an American company, governed by US law. In the States it is a very serious criminal act to hack into another person’s telephone calls. First offence carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and the second up to 10 years – plus punitive fines for damages in both cases.

The close attention of the Inquiry to News Corp’s behaviour in the UK will add fuel to the fire of legal action in the US. Mark Lewis, the English lawyer who has been the driving force behind the phone hacking allegations in the UK, is now in the US meeting up with people who claim to have been hacked by Murdoch-controlled news media. So far, they have four cases to pursue and it is expected that more will come out of the woodwork once broadcasters pick up on UK coverage this week.

Murdoch senior is under little real threat of prison  - he is after all 83 (although some hefty fine may come his way). However, James Murdoch, Former News International chairman, will bear the brunt of any legal action and possibly the prison sentence. Pleading ignorance is an unworthy defence. Especially so, since the 'one rogue reporter' story has been proven to be a fabrication. Today's Leveson grilling for the Murdochs focuses on allegations that far from being isolated to staff at the News of the World, phone hacking was common practice at News Corp flag ship brands  The Times and Sky News.

Murdoch junior must be a very worried man right now.

I have never had any time for Rupert Murdoch - or his cronies. They are nothing more than exploitative opportunists who have lowered the standards of journalism in this country and every other country they have taken their brand of news media to. It is high time for  a reckoning, it’s just a shame that the architect of the News Corp's vices is unlikely to sample US prison hospitality.

I for one will shed no tears for any of then – it would only water down my celebratory glass of champagne!

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