Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and his son James have been giving evidence to British MPs over the phone hacking scandal at the now defunct tabloid, the News of the World.
Both have told the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee that they regretted the events that have brought several resignations among media executives and the police.
Rupert Murdoch described it as “the most humble day of my life”.
It is the first time the tycoon has undergone such questioning from MPs.
One of the world’s most powerful men, he is now defending himself over accusations that part of his empire committed crimes to get stories and bribed police.
Rupert Murdoch said the decision to close the News of the World was “appropriate” as the paper had broken the trust of its readers. He said he was ashamed by some of the revelations of phone hacking but was not aware it was widespread.
James Murdoch told the committee that practices at the News of the World failed to live up to the standards they aspired to. He denied he had misled parliament before, saying new evidence only arrived later.
Former News International Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks, also an ex-editor of News of the World, is also due to give evidence.
Also today, senior police officials from the Metropolitan Police have been giving evidence to another committee, the Home Affairs Select Committee.
Sir Paul Stephenson appeared two days after resigning as Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Britain’s most senior police post.
He was quizzed over the Met’s appointment of former News International Executive Neil Wallis as a consultant. The former tabloid man had not left the organisation in connection with hacking, he said.
But he denied having criticised David Cameron in his resignation speech over the prime minister’s ex communications chief Andy Coulson, who had resigned from the News of the World after an investigation into hacking.
Counter-terrorism chief John Yates also defended the choice of former tabloid journalists as consultants.
So far, the saga has brought about the demise of a newspaper, the News of the World, and seen off Murdoch’s News Corporation’s bid to buy out BSkyB – which would have strengthened his hold on British media and boosted his global empire.
It has brought the resignations of top police and media executives, put the prime minister in the spotlight and raised questions not just about tabloid practices but about corruption and relations between the government, the media and the police.
There are accusations that those relations have been far too cosy, at a time when the phone hacking accusations were allegedly not investigated properly.