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Leveson Inquiry: James and Rupert Murdoch to appear

Category: Politics

Published: 24th Apr 2012 03:34:49

Former News International chairman James Murdoch will appear at the Leveson Inquiry into press standards to give evidence later.

He was the head of his father's UK newspaper operations when the phone-hacking scandal emerged.

Mr Murdoch, who resigned as chairman in February, is set to face detailed questions about what he knew and when.

His father, Rupert Murdoch, will appear before the Leveson Inquiry on Wednesday and Thursday.

It will be the first time either of the Murdochs have appeared in front of the Leveson Inquiry.

The Murdochs are likely to be asked whether they were aware of allegations that the practice of illegally intercepting voicemails went beyond News of the World royal reporter Clive Goodman, who was jailed in 2007.

Last year James Murdoch told MPs he had no prior knowledge of the scale of wrongdoing on the newspapers he controlled.

But in December, an email from 2008 was released indicating he had been copied into messages referring to the "rife" practice of phone hacking at the News of the World.

Mr Murdoch has said although he was copied into the email, he did not read it fully.

He stood down as head of the UK newspaper business that owns the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times.

BBC political correspondent Rob Watson says these promise to be the most dramatic few days in the Leveson Inquiry to date.

Many politicians will not be looking forward to a very public discussion of how close they became to Rupert Murdoch and his newspapers, our correspondent adds.

The Leveson Inquiry is now turning its attention to the relationship between the press and prominent politicians as part of its examination of the ethics, culture and practices of the UK's newspapers.

On Monday, Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of the Independent and Evening Standard, told the Leveson Inquiry that politicians overestimated the influence newspapers had on the political process in the UK.

He said he had met David Cameron four times and Ed Miliband twice.

Telegraph Media Group chairman Aidan Barclay told the inquiry that he thought it was the duty of "most businessmen to get to know the politicians that make rules and regulations that affect their business".

Earlier, Sky News boss John Ryley admitted that the company broke the law by hacking emails.

The broadcaster admits hacking accounts of John Darwin, who faked his own death in a canoe, and his wife Anne.

The inquiry has already heard from Richard Desmond, owner of the Express and Daily Star titles.

It is expected to take evidence from Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday owner Lord Rothermere in the coming weeks.

The inquiry, led by Lord Justice Leveson, was set up after outrage following allegations that the now-closed News of the World hacked into the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

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