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Phone hacking: Murdoch under pressure to publish secret file

Rupert Murdoch took to the stand at the Leveson enquiry yesterday to answer questions relating to media influence over politicians.

During a three-and-a-half hour session Mr Murdoch faced calls to reveal details of a perceived cover-up by his company, News International, over phone hacking.

The media tycoon was asked by Lord Justice Leveson to publish the advice given to News International by criminal law firm Burton Copeland, who conducted an internal investigation into phone hacking in 2007.

Mr Murdoch declined the suggestion that he waive his client confidentiality to allow the law firm to give evidence to the inquiry as to what was discovered during their investigation. The firm was brought in after News of the World journalist Clive Goodman and private detective Glenn Mulcaire were jailed for phone hacking.

Evidence recovered from Mr Mulcaire later prompted revelations about other victims, which included families of soldiers killed in Iraq and the parents of murdered schoolgirl, Millie Dowler.

Mr Murdoch was in the witness box for the second consecutive day, after his son appeared at the inquiry earlier in the week.

Mr Murdoch, 81, faced repeated questions about whether he knew that there was a cover-up at the News of the World. At times he lost his cool, and at one point apologised to counsel for making an ill-judged remark.

"There was a cover-up," Mr Murdoch finally admitted.

"I think the senior executives were shielded from anything that was going on there, but there's no question in my mind that someone took charge of a cover-up, which we were victims of and I regret," he said.

He added that the culture of secrecy about what was going on came from within the News of the World itself.

"There were one or two very strong characters there, who I think had been there many, many, years, the person I'm thinking of was a friend of the journalists, a drinking pal and a clever lawyer," he said.

It is thought that Mr Murdoch was referring to Tom Crone, the former head lawyer at the paper who quit in the wake of the scandal. Mr Crone yesterday described suggestions that he was involved in any cover-up as a 'shameful lie'.

Concluding, Mr Murdoch predicted the end of printed newspapers within the next twenty years as journalism moves increasingly to digital media outlets.

Related links:

Read more on the story (The Telegraph)

Phone hacking and the law (FindLaw)