Murdoch breaks silence to back under-fire Brooks

News International owner Rupert Murdoch has broken his silence over the deepening crisis at the News of the World and backed the leadership of besieged chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

Murdoch released a statement this afternoon in which he described allegations of phone hacking and illegal payments to police as ‘deplorable and unacceptable”.

‘I have made clear that our company must fully and proactively cooperate with the police in all investigations and that is exactly what News International has been doing and will continue to do under Rebekah Brooks’ leadership,’he said.

‘We are committed to addressing these issues fully and have taken a number of important steps to prevent them from happening again.”

Murdoch said he had appointed Joel Klein – the former New York City education chancellor brought hired to head up News Corporation‘s education unit last year – to ‘provide important oversight and guidance”, and appointed Viet Dinh as an independent director.

Dinh is a former assistant attorney general for legal policy in the US Department of Justice.

Meanwhile Colin Myler this afternoon addressed News of the World staff – reportedly placing blame for the crisis firmly at the door of previous executives who have now left the paper.

According to Guardian media editor Dan Sabbagh he said that staff faced a painful period ahead as they “atone for wrongs of our predecessors”.

The Guardian reports him saying: “Like the rest of you I was appalled by these allegations. There is a great deal of anger directed towards this newspaper for past actions under a different regime. If these allegations are proved they would amount to the most devastating breach of journalistic ethics imaginable.

“These allegations about the News of the World are shocking, but they it is not the same newspaper that all of you, my colleagues, recognise today.”

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