1. ITV Report

Rupert Murdoch: We fell victim to hacking 'cover-up'

"The News of the World was an aberration and it's my fault," said Rupert Murdoch today. Photo: Leveson Inquiry

News International bosses fell victim to a "cover-up" over the hacking scandal, Rupert Murdoch has told the Leveson Inquiry into press standards.

The media mogul said senior executives were not informed, or misinformed, and "shielded" from what was going on.

"I blame one or two people for that, who perhaps I shouldn't name because for all I know they may be arrested yet," he said.

"But there is no question in my mind that maybe even the editor, but certainly behind that, someone took charge of a cover-up which we were victim to and I regret."

Asked by counsel to the inquiry Robert Jay QC where the "cover-up" emanated from, the tycoon replied:

"I think from within the News of the World. There were one or two very strong characters there who I think had been there many, many years and were friends of the journalists.

"The person I am thinking of was a friend of the journalists, drinking pal, and was a clever lawyer and forbade them to go and see the evidence, or there have been statements reporting that this person forbade people to go and report to Mrs Brooks or James (Murdoch).

"That is not to excuse it on our behalf at all, I take it extremely seriously that that situation had arisen."

Mr Murdoch told the inquiry he had not paid close enough attention to the situation at the now-defunct Sunday tabloid and apologised for what had happened, and to the staff who lost their jobs when he closed the newspaper last July.

"I have to admit that some newspapers are closer to my heart than others but I also have to say that I failed. And I am very sorry about it."

Mr Murdoch said that in hindsight he should have spoken personally to former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman - who was jailed in 2007 for phone hacking - when he claimed the practice was widespread.

"I should have gone there and thrown all the lawyers out of the place and seen Mr Goodman one-on-one - he had been an employee for a long time - and cross-examined him myself and made up my mind, maybe rightly, maybe wrongly, was he telling the truth.

"And if I had come to the conclusion that he was telling the truth, I would have torn the place apart and we wouldn't be here today.

"But that's hindsight, which of course, is a lot easier than foresight."

Paul Davies reports on Rupert Murdoch's claim at the Leveson Inquiry that there was a cover up at the News of the World over phone hacking and that the full extent of the scandal had been hidden from him too by staff at the paper.