It’s already been a busy day in News Corp land. As Rupert Murdoch, company shareholders, at least one member of the UK Parliament and Occupy Los Angeles protesters gathered this morning for the annual News Corp shareholders meeting on the Fox lot (see updates here), the company already has made news overseas. News Corp’s UK newspaper arm News International, the unit that oversaw the News Of The World newspaper, said it has agreed to pay a $4.8 million to settle claims the now-shuttered tabloid hacked into the voicemail of murdered UK schoolgirl Milly Dowler. The biggest payout since the scandal began includes two-thirds of the total going to Dowler’s family and the rest to charity. “When I met with the Dowlers in July, I expressed how deeply sorry I was for the hurt we had caused this family,” Murdoch said in a statement. “The behavior that the News of the World exhibited towards the Dowlers was abhorrent.”
Tom Watson, the Labour MP who spoke at today’s shareholders meeting on the Fox lot in Century City, told Bloomberg News that News Corp’s $32 million fund set aside to settle the hacking cases is not enough to handle the load as more allegations are revealed. In a separate interview, former UK Prime Minister and longtime Murdoch friend Gordon Brown said the phone-hacking allegations “are only the tip of the iceberg,” referring to recent talk that computers also were hacked into on orders from News Corp journalists. Brown also said the scandal that has engulfed News Corp has altered the political landscape for good in Britain. “You’ve got a new political framework,” he said. “I don’t think one family can exercise so much political power ever again.”
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