For the sake of clarity, will my right hon. Friend confirm that under the new, strengthened undertakings any future chairman of Sky News, and the current chairman, will be truly independent and impartial?
But in the interests of public service, I draw your attention to a previous occasion on which Rupert Murdoch promised full independence to the Times and Sunday Times when he bought them:
Frank Giles, editor1981-83, commented that the board ‘had very little power or will to protect the independence of the papers they were appointed to safeguard.’ In his autobiography, , he describes how Murdoch ordered him in January 1982 to replace the paper’s magazine editor with an editor from the .
In March 1982 Murdoch called Fred Emery, a formerassistant editor, into his office and said he was considering firing editor, Harold Evans. Emery reminded Murdoch of his guarantee that editors couldn’t be fired without the approval of the independent directors. Murdoch’s response was, ‘God, you don’t take all that seriously, do you. Why wouldn’t I give instructions to the when I give instructions to editors all around the world?’
Harold Evans, when editor ofI notice that despite the story that News of the World reporters asked Edward Pickering, ‘What protection can I expect from you as a national director against improper pressures?’ ‘You have to remember, said the fifth independent national director, ‘that I worked for Beaverbrook…that’s the way things are.’ (Harold Evans, , p404) Evans resigned after incessant pressure on 15 March 1982. illegally hacked into the phone of a missing (murdered) child to listen to messages left by distraught parents and friends, then deleted them in the hope that new ones would be left, allowing the family and police to believe she might be alive, none of the tabloids are running the story. Why might this be? Because they all did it, and the last thing they want is a circular firing squad. This is why British tabloids are a cancer on a free society.
In case you've forgotten: while the NotW did this, they were also running 'exclusive' heartbreaking interviews with Milly's parents.
Who was the editor? Rebekah Wade Brooks: now chief executive of News International. Who was deputy editor? Andy Coulson: until last year the Prime Minister's right-hand man, despite the Tories' full knowledge that criminal acts were being committed under his control.