Media & Communications Law

Top Editors Knew of Phone Hacking, Reporter Testifies

Top editors at Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World knew their reporters were hacking phones in search of stories, a former reporter there says.

Onetime journalist Paul McMullan, testifying in a public inquiry on the phone hacking scandal that has rocked Great Britain, says the practice was so widespread that the tabloid’s editors sometimes listened in on intercepted messages.

McMullan named former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who went on to become an adviser to British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief executive, as being among those who were aware of the practice, CNN and Bloomberg Businessweek report.

Brooks and Coulson “should have had the strength of their convictions” and admitted the newspaper used illegal news-gathering practices, McMullan said. “How dare they throw us [reporters] to the wolves,” he said.

News Corp., based in New York City, closed the News of the World in July to help contain the fallout from the five-year-old scandal after it was revealed that the phone-hacking was not limited to a single “rogue” reporter, as the company originally claimed. London police have made 18 arrests since reopening its probe of the practice in January. Brooks and Coulson were among those arrested.

A spokeswoman for Brooks, who has previously denied knowing about the phone hacking, declined to comment on McMullan’s testimony. Coulson’s lawyer couldn’t be reached for comment.

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