Hacking Allegations Hit Second Murdoch Paper

Blog ››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS

Today, The Independent reported that hacking allegations have engulfed a second publication of Rupert Murdoch's -- The Sun -- his "best-selling" daily paper in the U.K. Previously, the scandal was confined to Murdoch's News of the World tabloid. From The Independent:

Detectives are looking into allegations that a second newspaper at Rupert Murdoch's News International may have used hacked voicemails to publish stories about the private life of a prominent public figure.

Andy Gilchrist, a former union leader, has asked Scotland Yard to investigate his belief that interception of his mobile phone messages led to negative stories about him appearing in The Sun at the height of an acrimonious national strike by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

He is the first public figure to suggest that the illegal technique was carried out for stories that ran in News International's best-selling daily title, rather than its Sunday red-top, the News of the World (NOTW).

One of the stories, headlined "Fire strike leader is a love cheat", appeared in The Sun during the first week of its editorship by Rebekah Brooks following her transfer from the NOTW.

As News International's chief executive, Ms Brooks, née Wade, is leading the company's defence against claims that phone hacking was rife at its headquarters in Wapping, east London.

According to The Independent, a News International spokesman denied the new allegations saying, "There is absolutely nothing to suggest the appearance of these articles was linked to the interception of voicemail. News International has made it clear that, if there is any evidence of wrongdoing, swift and decisive action will be taken."

Murdoch himself traveled to the U.K. earlier this year to personally deal with the hacking controversy, which reportedly threatens to undermine News Corp.'s bid to take full control of British satellite TV company BSkyB. The multi-billion dollar BSkyB deal -- currently under review by British regulators -- is "expected to sharply reduce the company's exposure to the weak newspaper business," according to Reuters.

Last week, Media Matters noted that Murdoch dodged a question from the BBC regarding the hacking controversy at a launch event for his new publication, The Daily. Fox News, which carried The Daily news conference live, did not air the portion including the BBC's hacking question or ask Murdoch about the controversy in its exclusive interview with him that day.

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