Andy Coulson, former News of the World editor, arrested in hacking scandal
LONDON (AP) — London police on Friday arrested Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor who also served as the prime minister's former communications chief, in relation to Britain's tabloid phone-hacking scandal.
London police said a 43-year-old man was arrested Friday morning over allegations of phone hacking and police bribery and was in custody at a London police station. They did not name him but offered the information when asked about Coulson.
The Murdoch media empire on Thursday shut down the 168-year-old muckraking tabloid. The paper has been engulfed by allegations its journalists paid police for information and hacked into the phone messages of celebrities, young murder victims and the grieving families of dead soldiers.
It comes just as media baron Rupert Murdoch is seeking U.K. government clearance for a €12 billion ($19 billion) bid for full control of British Sky Broadcasting, a prize far more valuable than his British stable of newspapers.
Earlier Friday, Prime Minister David Cameron admitted that British politicians and the press had become too cozy and promised to hold two full investigations into activities at the News of the World tabloid and into future media regulation.
Cameron said press self-regulation had failed and a new body, independent of the media and the government, was needed to properly enforce standards
"The truth is, we've all been in this together," Cameron said at a news conference a day after the announcement that the News of the World was closing down. "Party leaders were so keen to win the support of newspapers that we turned a blind eye to the need to sort this issue. The people in power knew things weren't right but they didn't do enough quickly enough."
Cameron said his friend Rebekah Brooks, a former editor of the tabloid, should have resigned as chief executive of News International, the British unit of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.. He also said there were questions to be answered by James Murdoch, the heir-apparent to his father's media empire.
"I want everyone to be clear: Everything that has happened is going to be investigated," Cameron said.
He said a judge will be appointed to lead a thorough investigation of what went wrong at the News of the World, including alleged bribery of police officers, and a second inquiry to find a new way of regulating the press.
Two employees of the tabloid were sent to prison in 2007 after being convicted of hacking into royal telephones, but the police investigation of the activity at the time has been slammed as incomplete or compromised by new bribery allegations.
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