Tag Archives: Rebekah Brooks

Independent: Rebekah Brooks has some explaining to do, says Burrell

Ian Burrell, the Independent’s media editor, provides further insight into the close relationship between Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, both former News of the World editors and both caught up in the ongoing phone-hacking affair.

He discusses Brooks’ 2003 admission to MPs that the paper had illegally paid police officers for information. Eight years on and this week Brooks has denied knowledge of specific payments.

I was there that day in March 2003 and saw Brooks (then Rebekah Wade) arrive in apparent high spirits, joking with Coulson and Piers Morgan, editor of the rival Daily Mirror but an old friend. All three had sat in the editor’s chair at the News of the World. All three would tell MPs that press regulation was working just fine. Morgan said tabloid reporters had not been so well behaved in 15 years; Brooks that the PCC had “changed the culture in every newsroom in the land”.

Then she admitted paying the police. Ian Hargreaves, a former editor of the Financial Times, later commented that she had “clip-clopped into a big hole in the ground”. Her error seemed borne of a lack of experience in the political arena and intoxication with the power of the tabloid press in which she had spent her working life (she tried to put MP Chris Bryant in his place by reminding him she had 10 million readers).

Burrell then brings us up-to-date, following recent arrests and News International’s apology.

With two more of Coulson’s senior staff being arrested by police and one of them sacked by NI, his previous claim to have been let down by a single rogue reporter is thoroughly discredited.

MPs, including Bryant, are furious that, eight years on, they still haven’t been told the truth about tabloid intrusion. The Operation Weeting team, investigating phone hacking, wants to speak to Brooks about NI’s past behaviour. Those inseparable pals, Rebekah and Andy, both remain in the gun sights – and this time neither seems capable of pulling the other out of the line of fire.

Ian Burrell’s full comment is at this link.

New Statesman: Hugh Grant turns the tables on the phone hackers

Hugh Grant secretly recorded a conversation with former News of the World deputy features editor Paul McMullen, during which the reporter claimed that former NotW editor Rebekah Brooks “absolutely” knew about illegal phone hacking.

The revelation appears in an article Grant has written for the New Statesman, which is guest-edited this week by the actor’s former partner Jemima Khan.

Grant, who believes he was himself a victim of phone hacking, ended up talking to McMullan when his “midlife crisis car” broke down in a Kent village just before Christmas and he was forced to accept a lift from the reporter, who was following him.

He was Paul McMullan, one of two ex-NoW hacks who had blown the whistle (in the Guardian and on Channel 4’s Dispatches) on the full extent of phone-hacking at the paper, particularly under its former editor Andy Coulson. This was interesting, as I had been a victim – a fact he confirmed as we drove along. He also had an unusual defence of the practice: that phone hacking was a price you had to pay for living in a free society. I asked how that worked exactly, but we ran out of time, and next thing we had arrived and he was asking me if I would pose for a photo with him, “not for publication, just for the wall of the pub”.

I agreed and the picture duly appeared in the Mail on Sunday that weekend with his creative version of the encounter. He had asked me to drop into his pub some time. So when, some months later, Jemima asked me to write a piece for this paper, it occurred to me it might be interesting to take him up on his invitation.

So Grant returned to the the Castle Inn Pub in Dover wearing a hidden microphone, and the fruits of his chat with McMullan will be published in this week’s New Statesman. An edited version is at this link.

Media Guardian: Rebekah Brooks asked for police payment details

The Guardian has reported that News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has been asked by the chair of the home affairs select committee to provide details of payments allegedly made to police officers.

This follows the appearance of John Yates, the acting deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan police, before the committee on Tuesday, when he said the force’s special crimes directorate is “doing some research” into an admission in 2003 by Brooks, a former News of the World editor, that staff at News International had made payments to the force.

Keith Vaz MP, the chairman of the committee, wrote to Brooks on Wednesday asking her for information on how many officers were paid for tips or stories, the amounts they received and when the practice stopped.

Read the full Guardian report here…

Dominic Mohan named editor of the Sun

Dominic Mohan has been appointed the new editor of the Sun, News International confirmed earlier today.

Mohan, who has worked at the Sun for 13 years, most recently as deputy editor, will become the seventh editor of the red-top since Rupert Murdoch bought the Sun 40 years ago.

Mohan joined the Sun from the News of the World and worked on its showbiz column, Bizarre, in 1996. He was promoted to editor two years later, taking the helm in 1998. Bizarre’s longest serving editor, he left after five years to write a weekly opinion column.

Before Mohan was deputy editor, he spent three years as associate editor, features, and prior to that, two years as assistant editor.

“I believe the Sun is the best paper on the planet. It is a privilege to take over as editor and I cannot wait to get started,” said Mohan, commenting on his appointment.

The vacancy arose when Rebekah Brooks was appointed as News International chief executive in June. Brooks said Mohan had been an ‘outstanding leader at the paper, supporting me with energy and enthusiasm’.

“He has an unrivalled understanding of what makes the paper tick and a real grasp of what makes a great Sun headline. I am delighted to be handing the reins over to such a talented successor. I look forward to continuing to work with him in my new role,” she added.

Both Rebekah Brooks and Dominic Mohan will be starting in their new roles on September 2.