UK's Miliband calls for scrapping of media watchdog

Fri Jul 8, 2011 7:11am EDT
 
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LONDON, July 8 - Opposition leader Ed Miliband dismissed Britain's press watchdog as a "toothless poodle" on Friday, and said the closure of the News of the World should not let Rupert Murdoch's most senior newspaper executive off the hook.

Speaking a day after Murdoch's News Corp shut down the News of the World tabloid at the heart of a phone hacking scandal, Miliband said Rebekah Brooks, the newspaper's former editor and now chief executive of the group's British newspapers, should also pay the price.

"I've made no secret of my view that Rebekah Brooks should take responsibility for what happened while she was editor of The News of The World," Miliband told an audience at a Thomson Reuters event.

"She was the editor at the time, she should take responsibility for that and I don't think frankly closing down the News of the World changes that."

Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters later on Friday: "It has been reported she (Brooks) offered her resignation and in this situation, I would have taken it."

Miliband said the Press Complaints Commission had "totally failed" to tackle the hacking scandal, which has engulfed Rupert Murdoch's global media empire.

"It failed to get to the bottom of the allegations about what happened at News International in 2009," he said. "Its chair admits she was lied to but could do nothing about it."

"The PCC was established to be a watchdog. But it has been exposed as a toothless poodle. Wherever blame lies for this, the PCC cannot restore trust in self-regulation. It is time to put the PCC out of its misery."

Britain's biggest-selling Sunday newspaper will publish for the last time this weekend.   Continued...