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When Rupert Murdoch settles into Lord Justice Brian Leveson’s hearing room in London today, it will be the mogul’s first such appearance since last July when he sat before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee. In the thick of the phone hacking scandal at the News Of The World and the revelations of intercepted voice mails on the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, Murdoch told that panel it was the “most humble” day of his life. He was later the target of an attack by a shaving foam pie thrower. It’s unlikely such a thing will occur again. What will come up again, though, are the phone hacking scandal, Murdoch’s relationship to British politicians and News Corp’s bid for BSkyB. The political and BSkyB aspects of James Murdoch’s testimony yesterday ended up overshadowing the proceedings where many thought phone hacking would be the focus. It’s likely today that unflappable counsel to the inquiry Robert Jay QC will hone in on Murdoch’s association with government. Let’s follow along, shall we? (All times below are local UK time.)
10:05 The hearing is off to a late start, but Murdoch has arrived at the High Court.
10:11 Lord Justice Brian Leveson begins by reading a statement saying he is approaching the proceedings with an impartial stance. He also says he understands the press will draw their own conclusions. In light of the reaction yesterday and this morning to James Murdoch’s testimony, he wants to explain something of the judicial process. “I understand some of the reactions yesterday,” but he says he is “acutely aware” documents such as the emails read yesterday can’t be taken at face value. He says he’s not taking sides but wants to say he needs to hear all sides before his findings. He says everyone involved will appear, seeming to hint that culture secretary Jeremy Hunt may give evidence at a later date. Leveson’s heard calls for other inquiries but feels this one needs to end before further investigation.
Murdoch is sworn in, he has legal aid by his side to help with documents.
10:14 Jay says: Is it fair to say you’ve been following British politics for 60 years? Murdoch answers yes, laughs and says “with varying intensity.”
The state of media in this country is vital to all its citizens, Murdoch says. He welcomes the opportunity to appear at the hearing to “put certain myths to bed.” He says abuses go further than phone hacking. (more…)