Rupert Murdoch said he feels “hurt” by the leak of a secret recording of a meeting with Sun journalists.
The recording, which has become known as “the Murdoch tape” included a host of explosive revelations, including what appeared to be an admission that the media tycoon was aware that journalists at his papers paid public officials for stories.
The tape was apparently leaked by one of the reporters to investigative website Exaro, which published a transcript earlier this month.
Exaro has now reported that Murdoch told allies that he was left stunned by the emergence of the tape.
The Sun editor David Dinsmore told colleagues that Murdoch called him from the US, reportedly telling him: “I feel hurt by what has happened”.
On the recording of the March meeting, which was held with journalists that had been linked with the Metropolitan Police’s probe into illegal payments to public officials, Murdoch said he would stand by his employees.
He also told them that the practice of paying officials for stories, which is being investigated by detectives working for Operation Elveden, had been going on for decades and was “the culture of Fleet Street.”
Exaro has passed three audio clips of the meeting on to Scotland Yard, which is “assessing” whether they are relevant to its Elveden inquiries. Exaro did not have a full audio recording of the meeting.
News UK, the published of The Sun, denied that Murdoch was aware of any illegal payments, insisting that the recording showed that the 82-year-old was displaying “understandable empathy” with reporters caught up in the scandal.
MPs on the Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee have recalled Murdoch to give evidence in Westminster in light of his comments on the tape. He is not likely to appear at the committee before the autumn.