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Thursday, July 21, 2011

U.K. PHONE HACKING SCANDAL: In Court, Suggestions of Hacking Beyond The News of the World!

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By JO BECKER and RAVI SOMAIYA / NYTimes / Published: July 20, 2011.

LONDON — Front pages across Britain featured pictures of Rupert Murdoch apologizing for phone hacking at The News of the World. But further suggestions that the practice spread beyond his newspaper emerged in a small, nondescript courtroom on Wednesday, even as Prime Minister David Cameron broadened an inquiry into the conduct of the British press.

At the Royal Courts of Justice in London, lawyers for the actor Hugh Grant and his former girlfriend, the socialite Jemima Khan — once the subject of relentless tabloid attention — mentioned The News of the World and unspecified “other newspapers” while demanding police information on Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who was jailed in 2007 for hacking into the phones of royal staff members. It was the first suggestion that Mr. Mulcaire, who had an exclusive contract with The News of the World, might have sold his information to other publications. Those publications were not named in the court proceedings, but the judge referred to “one or more newspaper proprietors.”

The phone hacking scandal at The News of the World has escalated into a political firestorm because it has swept up not only the tabloid’s parent company, the News Corporation, owned by Mr. Murdoch, but also exposed close and questionable ties among the press, Scotland Yard and Britain’s political elite.

ut in Parliament on Wednesday, Mr. Cameron said it would be naïve to think that phone hacking was limited to Murdoch-owned newspapers. He named members to a panel that will have broad power to force newspaper owners, reporters, politicians and the police to give evidence under oath at public hearings into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. It will be led by Lord Justice Brian Leveson, a prominent judge, and includes former journalists, a civil rights campaigner and a retired law enforcement official.
Mr. Cameron was not alone in declaring the need for a broader look at Fleet Street.

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