'Mafia boss' Murdoch apologises for Hillsborough lies

10 November 2011 06:15
Described by Tom Watson MP as a 'mafia boss' during his appearance before the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee for the second time, James Murdoch offered a 'full apology' for The Sun's coverage of the Hillsborough disaster.

Steve Rotheram, MP for Liverpool Walton, questioned Mr Murdoch about the behaviour of The Sun newspaper since it published lies about Liverpool fans during the Hillsborough disaster.

"Is it not the case that you've failed to show the urgency or the will to deal with unethical practices at News International because, quite frankly, successive chief executives since 1989 have believed that they could do whatever they wanted and get away with it?" asked Mr Rotheram. "Do you understand the significance of the date I gave - 1989?"

"I think I know where you're going. Are you referring to the Hillsborough coverage in The Sun?" replied Murdoch.

"Of course I am, absolutely," added Mr Rotheram. "That was when The Sun newspaper published lies about the Hillsborough disaster under the banner headline 'The Truth' and the question I'd like you to answer is - did the fact that The Sun got away with telling outrageous lies in 1989 lead News International into believing they could do whatever they wanted without reproach?"

"I'd like to add my full apology to the wrong coverage of that affair," replied Murdoch. "I'd like to add that voice to successive editors of The Sun and chief executives of News International who since that instance have apologised.

"It was 22 years ago and I was far away and a much younger person but I've since looked at it, I'm aware of the concerns and the hurt that it caused and it's something that we're very sorry for and I am as well."

Mr Rotheram asked whether The Sun could follow in the footsteps of its sister paper The News of the World, which was closed back in July, if evidence of phone hacking was found at that newspaper too.

"I shouldn't rule any corporate reaction to behaviour of wrongdoing out, that'll be a decision taken at the time given whatever is out there," added Mr Murdoch. "It's important not to prejudge any outcomes from these investigations.

"They're important police investigations and important internal investigations that we are pro-actively pursuing to make sure that our papers can be as good as they can be, and that they can keep the trust of their readership and continue to perform that important role that I believe they have in their communities."

More information about the Hillsborough tragedy


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