News International CEO Tom Mockridge Tells Hacking Inquiry: ‘There Has Been a Change of Policy’
LONDON - Tom Mockridge, the former Sky Italia CEO drafted in to head Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers after the spectacular shuttering of The News Of The World, told the Leveson Inquiry Tuesday that British newspapers were the envy of the world.
Addressing the hacking inquiry that saw his predecessor - Rebekah Brooks - arrested, the News International CEO said that he was changing the culture of the newspaper group.
"It might be overambitious to say that the culture has change in six months, but there has been a change of policy and individuals are rigorously applying the new policy."
Mockridge said that strict new compliance policies had been introduced and that all journalists and editors had to apply them.
The newspaper group has also stopped the use of private investigators - which were notoriously used to put lawyers and celebrities under surveillance and to hack hundreds of phones including that of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
But Mockridge told the judicial inquiry headed by Lord Justice Levesonthat British newspapers were envied aroundthe world for their skill and ability – andplayed a vital role in democracy.
"If we look at the great array of newspaper stories published in this country in the last decade, only a minute fraction are of interest to this Inquiry," Mockridge said.
"There are many people outside the U.K. who look at the British press jealously due to the extent of competition and choice and the ability to hold to account."
Mockridge said News International was continuing to co-operate with the ongoing police inquiry into illegal phone-hacking and bribery that has so far seen 17 former staff arrested.