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Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. to Run U.K. Newspaper Ads Apologizing for Phone Hacking

LONDON – James Murdoch issued a statement in the immediate aftermath of the resignation of key London executive Rebekah Brooks from her post at News International chief executive saying he supported her attempts to clear her name.

Murdoch, who chairs BSkyB, described Brooks as “one of the outstanding editors of her generation” and said “we support her as she takes this step to clear her name.”

In his statement he said along with father Rupert Murdoch, everyone involved with News International was working “to solve the problems” relating to the News of the World phone-hacking scandal that saw the paper shut down after more than 160 years of publishing.

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“The company has made mistakes,” James Murdoch said. “It is not only receiving appropriate scrutiny, but is also responding to unfair attacks by setting the record straight.

He also said he understands Brooks’ decision to step down. Her exit came after 11 days of constant calls for her to do so.

“I want to thank her for her 22 years of service to the company,” James Murdoch said.

He said the decision to drop News Corporation’s proposals to acquire the shares in BSkyB it does not own “a strong signal that our top priority in the U.K. is to address the issues facing News International.”

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He also confirmed Tom Mockridge as the incoming News International CEO, who starts without taking a breath.

Mockridge has served as CEO of Sky Italia since its launch in 2003.

“This weekend, News International will run advertisements in all national newspapers,” Murdoch said. We will apologise to the nation for what has happened. We will follow this up in the future with communications about the actions we have taken to address the wrongdoing that occurred.”

The ad, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter ahead of its publication, is signed by Rupert Murdoch and reads: 

"We Are Sorry. The News of The World was in the business of holding others to account. It
failed when it came to itself. We are sorry for the serious wrongdoing that occurred. We are deeply sorry for the hurt suffered by the individuals affected. We regret not acting faster to sort things out. I realise that simply apologising is not enough.

Our business was founded on the idea that a free and open press should be a
positive force in society. We need to live up to this.

In the coming days, as we take further concrete steps to resolve these
issues and make amends for the damage they have caused, you will hear more
from us."

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Murdoch also said he and his father would appear before the CMS [culture, media and sport] select committee “and will speak to them directly about our determination to put things right.”

Read James' full memo to staff after the jump. [pagebreak]

Message from James Murdoch

I am writing to update you on the actions we have been taking as a Company
to solve the problems at News International relating to the News of the
World, in addition to continuing to cooperate fully and actively with the
police and settling civil claims.

·         Earlier today, Rebekah Brooks resigned from her position as CEO.
I understand her decision and I want to thank her for her 22 years of
service to the Company.  She has been one of the outstanding editors of her
generation and she can be proud of many accomplishments as an executive.  We
support her as she takes this step to clear her name;

·         We have created an independent Management & Standards Committee
and I want to emphasise its importance.  The Committee has direct governance
and oversight from News Corporation Board members and is codifying standards
that will be clear and enforced;

·         We made the difficult and necessary decision to close the News of
the World;

·         A number of other executives have now left the Company;

·         News Corporation also withdrew its proposal to acquire the shares
in BSkyB it does not own.  This is a strong signal that our top priority in
the UK is to address the issues facing News International.

Looking to the future, I am also pleased to tell you that Tom Mockridge will
become CEO of News International.  Tom is in London today and will start
right away.   Tom is a highly respected and accomplished media executive who
has served as CEO of Sky Italia since its launch in 2003.  Tom, who has also
been in charge of our European Television business, started his career as a
newspaper journalist in New Zealand and he has held a range of top roles in
the newspaper industry.  The creation of TG-24, Italy¹s only truly
independent 24 hours news channel, is a credit to Tom¹s leadership and
integrity.

This weekend, News International will run advertisements in all national
newspapers. We will apologise to the nation for what has happened. We will
follow this up in the future with communications about the actions we have
taken to address the wrongdoing that occurred.

We are also sending letters to our commercial partners with an update on the
actions we are taking.

Next week, my father and I will appear before the CMS Select Committee and
will speak to them directly about our determination to put things right.

The Company has made mistakes. It is not only receiving appropriate
scrutiny, but is also responding to unfair attacks by setting the record
straight.

I would like to conclude by saying thank you. Throughout this time, you have
gotten out great papers every day and have stayed focused.  I am deeply
grateful for that.

James Murdoch