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Murdochs testify at British parliament

by Adam Russett on July 19, 2011

Rupert Murdoch and his son, James, sat in front of a British Parliament committee to explain how illicit and unethical practices at News of the World, one of the elder Murdoch's many media properties, went on for so long unnoticed. At the heart of the problem is phone hacking – journalists from the publication tried to reach the messages of 9/11 victims, a murdered teenage girl and British soldiers who had been killed in combat. 

"I have to tell you I sympathize with the frustration of this committee," James Murdoch said, according to ABC News. "It's a matter of real regret that the facts could not emerge and could not be gotten to, to my understanding, faster."

The real question appears to be the extent of the Murdochs' involvement in the newspaper's activities. Rupert Murdoch admitted that there had been no action taken after then-editor of The Sun, Rebekah Brooks told a parliamentary committee in 2003 that police had been paid for some information, according to The Wall Street Journal. However, he defended himself by reasoning that the offending paper made up less than 1 percent of News Corp. properties and that he employs 53,000 people around the world.

But will authorities buy the story that Murdoch was simply too busy to notice the illegal practices taking place under his watch?

Many believe that other revelations are still to come. The U.S. and U.K. have officially launched probes to examine News Corp. activities. Hacker group LulzSec recently gained access to an email archive through The Sun's website.

The emails have yet to be released – although the group said that they would be making all the information available later today – but LulzSec may have had also gained access to News International's email database as well, according to The Register.  

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