News Corp silent on Brooks

News Corp has refused to comment on speculation Rebekah Brooks could be deployed to Australia after the former News of the World editor was cleared of all charges in relation to Britain’s phone-hacking scandal.

While Ms Brooks was cleared of conspiring to intercept mobile phone voicemails, corruption and conspiracy charges, her ex-colleague and also former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was found guilty at the Old Bailey in London and now faces jail.

Ms Brooks, who edited the News of the World from 2000 to 2003, had been accused of being complicit in the hacking of phones that led to News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch shutting down the tabloid in July 2011.

Despite no longer being employed by News Corp, the verdict in favour of Ms Brooks has sparked speculation the 46-year-old, considered one of Mr Murdoch’s closest confidantes, could be given a senior position within the company’s Australian business.

A spokesman for News Corp said the company would not comment when contacted by AAP on Wednesday.

David McKnight, who has studied the media giant for more than a decade and wrote the book, Rupert Murdoch: An Investigation of Political Power, says it would be “extraordinary” if Brooks was to become part of the Australian arm of News Corp.

“It wouldn’t be good for Australia. I don’t think that we should accept the rejects of Britain,” he told AAP.

“I don’t know that she has a great deal of credit in Australia.”

Moreover, Professor McKnight says the hacking scandal exposed News Corp as a company which acted as if it was above the law.

“News Corp has a corporate culture of contempt for the rules. In Britain, it was contempt for privacy. In Australia it is contempt for political balance,” he said.

“This is the beginning of an extremely powerful global corporation having to face the law like everybody else.”

Prof McKnight said the behaviour of News of the World staff amounted to “a betrayal of the ideals of journalism”.

“I think it was a cheap criminal practice for cheap journalism. There was nothing noble about it.

“Sometimes journalists can be noble and proud, even when they have to break the law in the public interest but this had nothing to do with that. It was absolutely a betrayal of the ideals of journalism.”

Prof McKnight also said there were implications for the Australian media landscape.

“The Australian government and Australian citizens should take note of this because we have basically a duopoly of print media in Australia and the overwhelming and strongest part of that is Murdoch.”

It has also emerged that Mr Murdoch could be interviewed by British police over the phone-hacking scandal.

Detectives reportedly first contacted Mr Murdoch in 2013 to arrange to question him over allegations of crime at his British newspapers.

But they agreed to a request from the media mogul’s lawyers to wait until the long-running phone-hacking trial was finished, The Guardian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

It said the interview was expected to take place “in the near future in the UK” and would be conducted “under caution”. That’s the legal warning given to suspects.

Asked about the prospect of Mr Murdoch being questioned, a Metropolitan police spokesman told AAP “that’s not something we are prepared to discuss”.

The jury delivered their verdicts on Tuesday after eight days of deliberations and nearly six months of evidence.

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.