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'Lockdown' by Murdoch's team as US programme tries to tell NotW story


By Noel Young | Correspondent

March 29, 2012 | 3 min read

The respected American documentary programme Frontline attempted to give American viewers the fullest yet report on the News of the World hacking scandal in London- but were frustrated because no-one from the company would speak.

Rupert Murdoch: two-line letter

Maybe it was the title of the one-hour show on PBS: Murdoch's Scandal.

Talking to the camera were the Guardian's Nick Davies, ex-Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie, ex deputy PM John Prescott and MP Tom Watson together with the lawyer who represented many of the phone hack victims . Missing, however, were any representatives from News Corp.

Producer Neil Docherty said in a live discussion yesterday, the day after the programme, "In the UK we called all the key characters from James Murdoch down. In the US we sent letters to Rupert Murdoch, every director, the editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, Paul Gigot, and key people at Fox, including Roger Aisles.

"All declined. It felt like a lockdown, and for us was disappointing".

The host, Professor Lowell Bergman of UC Berkeley said he expected the company or its representatives to at least appear to be transparent and provide basic information and comments where they felt they could make them.

"This process started with Viet Dinh, the outside director of News Corp in charge of the internal investigation, and his spokesperson Marc Corallo, a veteran press person from the Justice Department. But even they shut down and did not return phone calls."

Rupert Murdoch in a two-line letter to Professor Bergman wrote, "Thank you for your invitation to cooperate in your documentary about our company, but there are many reasons why I cannot do it at this time ."

He signed it, "Sincerely, Rupert Murdoch."

Catch up on what the programme explored, without any help from from the company:


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