Murdochs face further hacking questions

Rupe, James to return to U.K. parliament

LONDON — Rupert and James Murdoch are due to appear next week at the U.K. inquiry into media ethics set up in the wake of the phone-hacking and police corruption scandal at the Murdoch-owned News of the World.

In a witness list for the Leveson Inquiry posted Thursday, James Murdoch, who recently ankled as chair of U.K. paybox BSkyB, is set to be questioned at the proceedings on Tuesday.

News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch is scheduled to appear on Wednesday and, if necessary, Thursday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron asked Leveson, a high court judge, to explore “the culture, practices and ethics of the British press” following last July’s revelations that the News of the World had hacked a cell phone belonging to murdered British school girl Milly Dowler.

The two Murdochs were questioned by a British parliamentary committee examining the phone-hacking affair last July.

The committee’s report, which is expected to be highly critical of James Murdoch’s running of News of the World publisher News International, is due out May 1.

In another development in the scandal, British Member of Parliament Tom Watson, one of the pols who has campaigned relentlessly against the Murdochs, described News Corp. as a “toxic institution” that operated like a “shadow state” in British society.

Watson was speaking at a press confab to launch a new book, “Dial M for Murdoch,” he has co-written.

He claimed that the News of the World set out to intimidate the British MPs on the committee investigating phone hacking by looking for “secret lovers” or “extramarital affairs.”

The paper’s chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, told Watson that then editor, Colin Myler, had instructed journalists on the defunct Sunday tabloid to “find out everything you can about every single member.”

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