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Washington Post Shake-Up Renews Attention on U.K. Phone Hacking

In 2011, Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, News Corporation, faced a grave threat in Britain. Reporters at one of his tabloid newspapers were exposed for hacking the phones of celebrities, private citizens and, in one case, a murdered child for information.

Other misdeeds soon emerged, including the revelation that for years, tabloid reporters had paid for information from police officers and government officials.

Desperate to stop the scandal and appease prosecutors in Britain and abroad, News Corp chose Will Lewis, a former editor of The Daily Telegraph, to clean up the mess.

He did just that. In his telling, he cooperated with the authorities, revealed wrongdoing and helped set the operation on a new course. Some former colleagues and hacking victims, though, long believed that he helped News Corp cover up the extent of the wrongdoing.

Those accusations — nearly 15 years old and unproven — suddenly have fresh currency and have complicated Mr. Lewis’s new job as publisher of The Washington Post.

Last month, while Mr. Lewis prepared to restructure the Post newsroom, a judge in London ruled that victims of phone hacking could press ahead with more allegations in their wide-ranging lawsuit. Though Mr. Lewis is not a defendant, the lawsuit asserts that his cleanup was in part a cover-up to protect News Corp leaders.

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Last modified: 10 June 2024
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