Wednesday, April 25, 2012

British PM caught in Murdoch storm

British PM  David Cameron has been sent scurrying for cover following revelations made by media mogul Rupert Murdoch's son, James, about the closeness between  News Corp and the minister for culture, media and sport, Jeremy Hunt, in the government.

James's testimony before a judicial inquiry into phonehacking and press standards being conducted by Lord Justice Brian Leveson suggested close consultation between him and Hunt in respect of a controversial bid by News Corp to increased its holding in British direct-to-home service provider BSkyB from 39% to
100%. This was based on 163 pages of emails.

Forced to make a statement on the subject in the House of Commons on Wednesday , Hunt claimed he had "strictly followed due process" . He denied News Corp had any "back channel" of influence . Hunt was helped by a statement from Frederic Michel , director of public affairs at News Corp and the author of many of the emails to James, that his references to "JH" in emails were actually shorthand for Smith, and that he had had no direct contact with Hunt.

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