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Murdoch press facing phone hacking claims -

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Murdoch press facing phone hacking claims

Broadcast: 09/07/2009

Reporter: Stephanie Kennedy

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is facing allegations that some of its journalists have been
involved in illegally intercepting the voicemail messages of up to 3,000 mobile phones. Britain's
Guardian newspaper claims politicians, celebrities and sports figures were targeted by private
investigators working for The News of the World.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: British police are looking into allegations that some journalists at Rupert
Murdoch's News Corporation have been involved in illegally intercepting the voicemail messages of
up to 3000 mobile phones.

Britain's Guardian newspaper claims politicians, celebrities and sports figures were targeted by
private investigators working for the News of the World. News Corporation has since paid out $2
million to settle complaints out of court.

Stephanie Kennedy reports from London.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY, REPORTER: They're high profile figures in the United Kingdom: Australian model
Elle Macpherson, former deputy prime minister John Prescott and the publicist Max Clifford. And
according to the Guardian newspaper, they are a few of the 2000 to 3000 public figures who were
spied on illegally by the tabloid paper the News of the World. Journalists apparently were using
private investigators to break the law, by hacking into the voicemails of thousands of mobile phone
to supply material for stories.

MAX CLIFFORD, PUBLICIST: If these allegations prove to be true then it's something that a lot of
people will be unhappy about and justifiably so, just as I was. And also, why has it just come out?
Because according to the Guardian it's come from police sources. If the police had this information
why didn't they act on it?

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: The Guardian claims Rupert Murdoch's news group secretly paid out more than $2
million to settle three legal cases out of court. If they'd been made public they could have
revealed news journalists were involved in mobile phone hacking to get stories. Now some of the
alleged victims are demanding to know why they weren't told by police they were spied on.

JOHN PRESCOTT, FORMER DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: These allegations are serious from a serious paper.
I'm writing to the Chief of police asking: "Did you know that many of our phones were tapped?" Did
you tell the public prosecutor, did he then say: "No further action?"

I can't believe that such legal authorities on such serious charges, if the allegations are right,
did nothing.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Two years ago the News of the World's royal editor Clive Goodman was jailed for
four months for hacking into the phone messages of royal aides. Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire
hired by Newscorp also went to prison over the affair.

The editor of the News of the World at the time, Andy Coulson, resigned insisting while his
reporter acted without his knowledge, as editor he took ultimate responsibility.

He's now the chief spin doctor for the Conservatives.

DAVID CAMERON, TORY LEADER: As the Director of Communications he does an excellent job for the
Conservative Party and behaves properly and in an upright way in everything that he does. Thanks
very much

REPORTER: Is his job safe?

DAVID CAMERON: Yes, of course.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: With the News of the World itself in the headlines, Rupert Murdoch's News
Corporation refused to comment on the allegations.

Stephanie Kennedy, Lateline.