Murdered girl's family meets UK minister

2011-07-11 12:39

London - The family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler met with Britain's deputy prime minister on Monday to discuss their concerns about the hacking of her phone by the News of the World tabloid.

The scandal exploded last week when it was reported that the newspaper had hacked the cellphone of the 13-year-old murder victim in 2002 - even as her family and police were frantically searching for her.

The tabloid's operatives reportedly deleted some messages from the phone's voicemail, giving the girl's parents false hope that she was still alive.

On Sunday, the 168-year-old News of the World published its final edition, brought down by the scandal over the interception of voicemail messages. The last edition of the weekly paper included an apology to readers for the newspaper losing its way.

Clegg meets family

The hacking scandal has proved to be an embarrassment to the government because one of the senior editors of the paper later worked for Prime Minister David Cameron.

His coalition partner, deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, met with the Dowler family early on Monday.

The owner of the News of the World, Rupert Murdoch, has traveled to London to manage the crisis on the final day of publication for the Sunday newspaper. But the closing of the News of the World has not ended the crisis, or tempered British anger over improprieties by journalists working for Murdoch.

The crisis has jeopardised Murdoch's $19bn deal to take full control of satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is responsible for dealing with the proposed bid, said he would seek advice as to whether the scandal raises questions over whether News Corp is "fit and proper" to hold a broadcasting license.

Shares in British Sky Broadcasting dropped sharply on Monday amid doubts over the company's ability to take full control of the lucrative satellite broadcaster. Murdoch owns 39% of the broadcaster, but wants to buy the rest.

Murdoch backs Brooks

The opposition Labour Party also turned up the pressure. Its leader, Ed Miliband, is working to force a vote in the House of Commons on a motion asking the government to delay a decision on BSkyB.

The 80-year-old Murdoch, the News Corp CEO, has publicly backed News International's chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, who led News of the World when its reporters committed some of the most egregious ethical lapses.

Murdoch put his hand on Brooks' shoulder on Sunday and they smiled for a pack of photographers gathered outside his London apartment before walking to a nearby hotel for a meal.

She has insisted she was unaware of the hacking.

  • willieman - 2011-07-11 12:56

    So evil people are all over the world ne!! Shame to this journos

  • Mishka - 2011-07-11 13:21

    Wow, I was not aware that they had deleted certain voicemails in order to keep the family thinking she was still alive. Closed now or not, can action still be taken against Rupert, as head of the company?

      Nintendo - 2011-07-11 13:47

      no hes too rich

      fishycraig - 2011-07-11 14:09

      No, didn't know that as well. What a horrible thing to do. I hope those journos get pulled in for this. But then can we blame the journos too much? How much of it lays at the feet of the readers? When "Charlene to produce heir before divorce" is the most read story on News24 it goes to show how much we rely on sensationalism.

      LBS - 2011-07-11 15:37

      Yes, it's shocking. I saw one of the local papers already reported that Charlene and her husband never shared a bed while they were here. How awful! Anything for sensation.

  • Currie_Mafia - 2011-07-11 13:46

    Rupert "Mad dog" Murdoch must pay !!!

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