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The real cost of UK hacking

Friday, June 27, 2014 - 02:23

As the UK hacking scandal enters the final phase, attentions turn to other media practice. This may be the end of the matter for the likes of Rebecca Brooks, but will the spotlight now turn to those higher up the industry? Melanie Ralph reports.

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A relieved Rebekah Brooks faces the media after being cleared of involvement in phone hacking. The former boss of News Corp's British newspaper arm says justice was done. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REBEKAH BROOKS, FORMER NEWS INTERNATIONAL CHIEF, SAYING: I am innocent of the crimes that I have been charged with and I feel vindicated by the unanimous verdicts. The criminal trial has reached notoriety not only for involving some of the most powerful people in the country but also for its cost. It's one of the most expensive in British legal history reportedly topping over 100 million pounds. Not all will be picked up by the public purse, but the costs of the hacking scandal run deeper than money. It appears that hacking could only be the start of a bigger scandal within the media industry. Journalist Peter Jukes attended every day of the hacking trial and he thinks there's more trouble to come. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR, PETER JUKES, SAYING: ''The most important strand is not the phone hacking but another form of getting illegal stories revealed through the police investigation, and that's the payment of public officials, misconduct in the public office their charge, and we know that over 100 people have been arrested, not for phone hacking but for bribing public officials for stories. Actually, in terms of cheque book journalism and tabloid press, that's more important.'' Brooks may now be able to fade into the background. But attentions are now turning to the very top rung of the ladder. Rupert Murdoch and his media empire are still very much in the spotlight. In America, the FBI is said to be investigating whether News Corp's British based representatives have broken US law by paying bribes to foreign government officials. The company turned over more than 80 thousand emails to the US Justice department more than a year ago. News Corp media practices will be pored over in fine detail, including allegations of covering up their mistakes. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR, PETER JUKES, SAYING: ''The police are actively investigating that the whole company itself was covering up, and making money out of illegal stories and not revealing the truth. So I think the corporate charges are much more dangerous for Murdoch than any individual charge and that's what they want to interview him over.'' In the UK there are thought to be nine more criminal cases involving current or former News Corp journalists .... including allegations of possible corrupt payments to officials. And Murdoch himself is also expected to be quizzed by UK detectives. The king of tabloid is now the fodder that feeds the front pages.

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The real cost of UK hacking

Friday, June 27, 2014 - 02:23