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James Murdoch admits failings at News International.

Summary: James Murdoch has admitted to the Leveson Inquiry that News International failed to pick up on legal risks

James Murdoch has admitted to the Leveson Inquiry that News International (NI) failed to pick up on legal risks posed by its methods of finding stories.

Robert Jay QC, counsel to the inquiry, asked him: "In your view, were there deficiencies in News International's systems for identifying and assessing legal risk, particularly in the context of potential reputational harm for the company?"

Mr Murdoch said: "With respect to news-gathering processes, for example, one of the subjects of interest here, I think it's self-evident that in hindsight, knowing what we know now, whatever controls were in place failed to create the sufficient transparency around those issues and the risks around it... At the time I didn't have a view that those were insufficient or not."

The 39-year-old became executive chairman of NI after taking over his father's media empire in Europe and Asia in December 2007.

The News of the World was closed down last July after revelations that it listened to the voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

Mr Murdoch said Britain's top-selling paper was popular with readers and advertisers alike but "in the end the profitability of the News of the World did not save it".

Mr Murdoch said he had been given 'assurances' that measures were put in place to ensure journalistic standards were met.

"I was assured that from a standpoint of journalistic ethics and things like the Editors' Code and the PCC Code that extensive training had gone on and was continually going on and I was given strong assurances that this had happened," he said.

But he said ethical and legal risks at the News of the World were "very much in the hands of the editor", and he was "not in the business of deciding what to put in newspapers".

Mr Murdoch stood by his evidence given to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in July and November last year on phone hacking

He said he had been assured by former editor Colin Myler and the human resources director that the practice was not widespread.

Independent Television News Limited 2011. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2012. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Apr 24, 2012
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