But as US citizens, Murdoch and son James both backed out and neither can be compelled to appear. Apparently, they claim they will come another day, but what could be more important?
The hacking began with invading the privacy of celebrities then expanded, soon targeting thousands of others, including a 13 year old girl who was kidnapped and later killed — this outraged the British public then prompted an investigation.
Meanwhile, not only the News of the World is in the midst of this scandal but three Murdoch owned newspapers. News International’s Sunday Times and The Sun(Britain’ s most read tabloid paper), allegedly used deception to try to obtain former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s private financial records.
Rebekah Brooks, on the other hand, has agreed to attend.
60 year old Neil Wallis, former executive editor of the News of the World tabloid which is in the middle of the scandal has been arrested and taken in for questioning on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications. Wallis is the ninth person arrested in this scandal.
On Tuesday, the Commons culture, media and sport committee invited Mrs Brooks and the Murdochs to give evidence at the House of Commons about the phone-hacking scandal.
In a statement, the MPs said that serious questions had arisen about the evidence Mrs Brooks and Andy Coulson, both of them former News of the World editors, gave at a previous hearing in 2003.
Rupert Murdoch, in a letter to committee chairman, John Whittingdale, wrote that he was not available on Tuesday but, he was “fully prepared” to give evidence to the judge-led inquiry announced by David Cameron on Wednesday.
James Murdoch offered to appear on an alternative date, the earliest of which was 10 August. What is baffling is, what other issue is more demanding in his life after thousands of people were victimized? Perhaps Murdoch is attempting to rid this problem by utilizing other avenues.
Ms Brooks said she “welcomed the opportunity” to give evidence.
But, in a statement, the MPs said: “The committee has made clear its view that all three should appear to account for the behaviour of News International and for previous statements made to the committee in Parliament, now acknowledged to be false.
“Accordingly, the committee has this morning decided to summon Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch to appear before the Select Committee in Parliament at 2.30pm on Tuesday July 19 2011.”
Mr Whittingdale said the Deputy Serjeant at Arms of the House of Commons would now deliver the summons to the Murdochs in person.
Given the ire this scandal has drawn in Britain I would think Mr. Murdoch would want to clear the air. An interesting thought — since the media mogul is a U.S. citizen, and the scandal includes hacking the families of 9/11 victims, it’s most unlikely he can put off appearing here for questioning.
If you recall, this past January, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who was demonized by Fox News, claimed to have in his possession secret documents which are/were damaging to Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp empire. Could it be….