(Adds comment on BSkyB bid)
LONDON Jul 7 News International Chairman James
Murdoch said on Thursday he regretted the phone-hacking scandal
that has led to the closure of the News of the World tabloid and
defended his chief
executive Rebekah Brooks, a former editor of the paper.
"I am satisfied that Rebekah, her leadership of this
business and her standard of ethics and her standard of conduct
throughout her career, are very good," Murdoch said in a
Some media commentators said that the 168-year-old newspaper
had been sacrificed to keep Brooks in her job and help smooth
the way for parent company News Corp to complete the takeover of
pay TV company BSkyB .
Murdoch would not be drawn on suggestions the News of the
World would be replaced by a Sunday version of the Sun
newspaper, its daily stablemate.
"I'm convinced that Rebekah Brooks' leadership of the
company is the right thing, she's doing the right thing for the
company. It's her leadership that has really got to grips with
this whole period in the company's history.
"Her leadership is actually crucial right now, it's actually
what's been moving a lot of this forward."
Asked about the Sun moving to a seven-day operation, Murdoch
said: "I think right now the focus very much is on putting out
the last edition of the News of the World, and the journalists
at the News of the World are working already very hard on that,
and any decisions about the future are really for next week or
the week after to think about how we go forward from there."
Murdoch said a decision on the BSkyB deal was in the hands
of the government. More than 100,000 people have submitted a
response to a consultation which closes on Friday.3
"It's really in the hands of the Secretary of State about
how he deals with the submissions that he's received in that
consultation, and how they want to move forward.
"It does take time for them to deal with those things but
that timetable is in the Secretary of State's hands."
(Reporting by Michael Holden and Avril Ormsby, editing by Keith