Some say further developments in the phone-hacking scandal may be the endgame for the career of James Murdoch, the man widely seen as the heir to Rupert Murdoch’s enormous media empire. But what now seems clear is that Murdoch Junior’s future is anything but clear.
The parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee will meet next Tuesday to discuss evidence it received yesterday, according to John Whittingdale, its chairman. He told euronews by phone that the committee will decide “whether we may wish to call other witnesses that may include James Murdoch.”
Mr. Murdoch is under pressure because the evidence given on September 6 contradicts his July account of events he gave members of the committee. Colin Myler, former News of the World editor and Tom Crone, the company’s legal affairs manager who stepped down in August, said Mr. Murdoch had knowledge of an e-mail that showed the extent of phone-hacking. Murdoch denies this.
ERROR OF JUDGEMENT
Although James is the ‘chosen heir’ to the Murdoch empire, there are now serious questions about whether this will become reality, according Rupert Murdoch’s biographer Christopher Hird. In a phone interview.
Mr. Hird said the measures taken by James in the past few months “undermine his capacity to take over”. An example is the abrupt closure of the best-selling weekly tabloid News of the World, which Hird described as “an extraordinary error of judgement”.
“They thought they could deal with everything about the phone hacking scandal by scrapping a great brand,” he added.
The Sunday tabloid, which published its last edition on July 9 after being in print for 168 years, had been at the centre of the phone hacking scandal for the past four years. The controversy became more heated after it was revealed that not only celebrities, but also families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the family of a murdered girl, had been victims.
“It’s clear from cross examination that he is not in the clear,” Hird said about Murdoch’s knowledge of the extent of the wrongdoing in his company.
Lord Justice Leveson has opened an inquiry into media practices.
By Ali Sheikholeslami