U.K. Tabloid Scandal: Prime Minister Brown, Royals Potential Targets

Jul 11, 2011

"The scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch's media empire exploded in several directions Monday," The Associated Press writes, "with fresh reports of phone hacking attacks against some of the nation's most powerful figures, including royals and former prime minister Gordon Brown."

Among the latest developments:

-- "Journalists from across News International repeatedly targeted the former prime minister Gordon Brown, attempting to access his voice mail and obtaining information from his bank account, his legal file as well as his family's medical records," The Guardian reports.

The Guardian adds that its investigation shows "Brown was targeted during a period of more than 10 years, both as chancellor of the exchequer and as prime minister."

-- The BBC notes that among the News International properties said to have gone after information about Brown is The Sunday Times. So the so-called hacking scandal that had been centered on the Murdoch-owned News of the World tabloid has now spread to include questions about the company's more prestigious Sunday newspaper.

-- BBC Business Editor Robert Peston reported today that "News of the World e-mails uncovered by News International in 2007 contained evidence that the Sunday newspaper was paying a Royal Protection Officer for the contact details of senior members of the royal family, their friends and their relations."

Meanwhile, there are questions today about whether News International's $19 billion bid to take over British Sky Broadcasting will go through. Murdoch's company said it would not follow through on a promise to spin off its Sky News network, which had been a precondition of the deal. Hearing that, British Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt referred the deal to Britain's Competition Commission for review.

For background on the scandal, start here.

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