London, July 20: The committee of MPs grilled one of the world's most powerful media moguls and his son on their role in the phone-hacking scandal that has embroiled some of Britain's top politicians, including PM David Cameron, police and journalists, reports Times of India.
The elder Murdoch banged his hands on the table and said, “the day is the most humble of my life”.
He grew flustered when committee members peppered with him questions, often turning to son James for answers.
Asked why he had entered 10 Downing Street, the official residence of British prime minister, through the backdoor, Murdoch senior said he was asked to do so.
Interestingly, he added that he was “thanked by Mr Cameron for the support” his paper had given him in last year's election. Murdoch refused when asked if he would resign saying he is the “best person to clean this up”.
“I do not accept ultimate responsibility. I hold people that I trusted to run it and the people they trusted responsible,” said Murdoch. Asked if he was misled by senior employees, he replied, “Clearly.”
Murdoch also told the committee that he didn't believe the FBI had uncovered any evidence of hacking September 11 (9/11) victims in a recently launched inquiry.
James said the scandal-shut newspaper's activities “did not live up to the standards our company aspires to”, adding that the company acted as swiftly as possible.
But his father acknowledged that he did not investigate after the Rebekah Brooks told parliament years ago that the News of the World had paid police officers for information. Asked by MPs why there was no investigation, he said: “I didn't know of it.”
James conceded that News International had paid legal fees of phone hackers who acted on News of the world's behalf and were convicted.
Earlier, evidence given to the home affairs select committee by Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates, who resigned as London's police commissioner and assistant commissioner, inched the scandal closer to PM Cameron.
Stephenson said “a senior official at Number 10 guided us that actually we should not compromise the PM” by informing him that a former deputy editor of News of the World, Neil Wallis, had been working as a public relations adviser by the Met Police