tv BBC World News PBS May 11, 2012 5:00am-5:30am EDT
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>> the prime minister and the editor, a british media ethics inquiry to hear from the former head of the "news of the world" about her relations with david cameron. and if breivik asks to make a statement in court amid harrowing accounts of his massacre on the island of otoya. filipinos protest against what they see as chinese bullying. welcome to "bbc world news." i'm david eades. also coming up -- the olympic orbit, a first look at the u.k.'s largest sculpture built to mark the london 2012 olympic games. just how close were the ties of rupert murdoch's "news of the
world" international papers and the british government? the former chief executive of the company, rebecca brooks, is to give evidence shortly at a inquiry which is running here in london, and it's expected she'll talk about her relations with the current and former prime ministers. there are claims that she and david cameron regularly texted one another as well as meeting frequently in business and social circles. >> rebecca brooks is the former executive who was courted by prime ministers. her papers backed tony blair three times. she was a guest of gordon brown's at a pajama party. historical detail of politicians past is likely to feature when she takes to the witness stand later. just a day after her friend and former colleague, andy colson, once director of communications at downing street, gave evidence. >> rebecca was the sharp hand of rupert murdoch. she was the interface between the murdoch empire and the politicians. she was the orkstraret of the
kind of social media. it was her wedding, it was her party, it was her pajama party. she was the social interface that held, if you like, the whole thing together. >> but it is rebecca brooks' relationship with the current prime minister that will come under most scrutiny in the courtroom. they lived close by in the countryside. it's been suggested they were in regular contact by phone, with some suggestions david cameron texted her repeatedly last year, round the time she was forced out of the "news of the world" parent company, news international. if that is true, it could be embarrassing for him. if the content of those messages come out, it could be worse for the prime minister. david cameron's judgment has already been attacked over his decision to hire andy colson in the months after hacking forced him to leave journalism. similar questions may arise about his closeness to rebecca brooks after she gives her testimony to the lord justice.
>> joining me now is the bbc's naomi grimley. i suppose it's fair to say rebekah brooks is one of the star acts, and all eyes will be on maybe david cameron's judgment. >> that's right. she was at the center of the social network between the politicians on one hand and the murdoches on the other. she became friends with tony blair, gordon brown, and david cameron. david cameron goes to her wedding and she marries a friend of david cameron. as you mentioned, the whole issue boils down to judgment really and was it sensible of the prime minister to get so close to her given that she was presiding over news international at a stage when all these allegations about phone hacking have been swirling around really for years. >> naomi, once that inquiry
begins and rebekah brooks is having her say, we'll have more from you as well. many thanks. some other stories now -- the u.k. government says it will neither confirm nor deny claims that the undercover agency foiled an al qaeda plot to blow up a plane with an underwear bomb held a british passport. the operative is reported to have become radicalized before then deciding to work against the militants in yes, ma'am be. he handed over the intended bomb to the c.i.a. search found at least 10 bodies near the wreckage of a russian airliner, which crashed during a demonstration flight. 45 people on board the plane when it came down. there are want any survivors. the latest greek political leaders are trying to form a coalition government and says they've had encouraging talks. evangelos venizelos from the socialist pasok party says he would keep greece in the euro if he became prime minister, but gradually would ease the austerity program.
spain is not in quite as precarious of financial position as greece, but it is still firmly on the eurozone's sick list. the government in madrid is expected to announce a major shakeup to its financial sector in the next few hours, this following the news earlier in the week that it had, for all intents and purposes, nationalized the country's fourth biggest bank. all the while, the costs faced by spain to repay its debts are just going up. a short while ago, our correspondent explains how the latest reforms will tie in with the last round of changes, just three months ago. >> well, in essence, more of the same, essential what will we had three months ago is the government saying that banks need to increase the amount of capital they have to protect themselves against losses, and we expect those levels of capital to increase and the amount of government money going into a bank restructuring fund as we further increase. it goes to the most troubled banks. why are spain's banks so troubled? you have to go back to before
2008. of course, huge amounts of property were built in this country, public and private, as some of it wasn't even finished when the housing market crashed, and the reason why that bubble was possible was because spain's banks lent lots of money, and those loans have now gone bad. that's why the spanish banking system is so uncertain and what the government is trying to do is bring some form of certainty to the banking system here in spain. >> that's tom burridge. now we can go straight over to the levinson inquiry, which is underway here in london, and preparing to throw questions at rebekah brooks, former editor of "news of the world," the biggest selling sunday newspaper in britain which, of course, now is closed. , former editor of "the sun," the biggest selling daily newspaper. it's all part of the news international stable. we're waiting to see rebekah brooks herself, a key figure in the phone hacking controversy
which effectively was the prompt to this inquiry. here is rebekah brooks as she prepares to have her say at the levinson inquiry. we'll listen in. >> editor of "the sun" in january 2003. >> yes. >> it was the announcement of your appointment in june 2009, but you took up the job formally on the second of september 2009. >> that's correct. >> and then you resigned on the 17th of july, 2011.
>> so we're completely bound on your constraints, you're under police investigation in the context of an operation and also for allegedly perverting the court of justice, is that true? >> yes. >> mrs. brooks, i'm grateful to you for the obvious care you've put into the statements that you made, and i'm conscious of the difficulty. >> there are constraints which have fallen upon you, may relate to documents, including emails and texts, or more particularly, their absence. there are two sides. >> yes. >> make it clear that you have had reference to a diary, which is kept by your former p.a. what sort of diary we're talking about, is it an ordinary desk diary or an
alistair campbell type of diary? >> no, definitely not an alistair campbell diary. it's my old desk diaries, so the appointments in there are not the complete picture, and it's difficult to know where actually some of the meetings took place. so i've done my best to give you a schedule, but it's more of a flavor than precise diary. >> the schedule of appointments, but it's not clear what was discussed in any particular case. >> no. >> fair enough. mrs. brooks, you say since your departure from news international, you've had no access to your work emails. however, the emails and texts that were on my blackberry at the time i left news international were saved. does it follow that your work email account was blocked to you in some way or did something distant happen? >> no, i think it was blocked on the day i left.
>> when you say images were saved, can you tell us approximately when those events occurred? >> i think it took about six weeks of emails and less, a month of texts that we had to -- that we had problems with that. >> i think about three weeks later, maybe longer. >> can you give us a month, please? >> i'm sorry, in july. >> 2011. >> you have emails and text. so you say the 17th of july may make it 15th of july, the 17th of july.
>> i think it was the 17th. >> you also confirm there is nothing of relevance in your private account, which was a very private email account. is that right? >> that she. >> does this follow in emails you might have had with folingses was only through your n.i. email account? >> that's correct. >> and any text message contact with politicians would only have been on your blackberry, which was a work blackberry. there was no other mobile phone. >> been asked to put to you this question. were there any emails or texts from either mr. cameron or mrs. osborne on your blackberry at the time you left news international? >> no, although when we got the image back, there was one from mr. cameron that was compressed in june, but there's no content
in it. >> so it's a complete mystery what it might contain, is that right? did you receive messages or come isration or support from politicians in july 2011 in particular? >> some. >> either directly or indirectly, is that right? >> mainly indirectly. >> in order to get a fair picture, focused on one individual alone, the picture will obviously be distorted, are you able to assist us with from whom you received those messages? >> i had indirect messages from politicians, but nothing direct. >> the indirect ones, who were the politicians? >> a variety, really, but a couple of labour politicians, very few labour politicians.
>> can you be a bit more specific? >> sorry. i'm not trying to be evasive. i received some indirect messages from number 10, number 11, foreign office. >> you're talking about secretarys of state, prime minister. >> and also people who worked in those offices as well. >> labour politicians, how about them? >> like i say, there was very few labour politicians. mr. blair, did he send you one? >> yes. >> probably want mr. blair? >> no. probably getting the bunting out. >> and it has been reported in relation to mr. cameron that whonse whether it's true, that you received a message of
support along the lines, keep your head up. >> from? >> from mr. cameron indirectly? >> yes, i did, along those lines. it was more, i don't think they were the exact words, but along those lines. >> is the gist right at least? >> yes. but it wasn't a direct text. >> did you also receive a message along these lines, sorry, i could not have been as loyal to you as i have been, but i have had on the run, or words to that effect. >> again, very indirectly. >> broadly speaking, that message was submitted to you? do you happen to know how these messages do enter the public domain? >> well, we have a very strong
free press. you have great access to politicians. >> yes. >> we may be coming back to that, but you can't be of any more particular than that, can you? >> journalists doing their jobs. >> we also got to close the news international, words to that effect. was that a view communicated to you personally? >> no. >> we know mr. murdoch told the house of lords communication committee back in 2007 when he was spoken to, i think in new york, that he was a traditional proprietor, he exercises editorial control on major issues about which parties to back on policies in europe.
do you agree with that or not? >> yes. >> did this apply as much to the "news of the world" as "the sun" or did that only apply to "the sun"? >> i think mr. murdoch is probably more interested in "the sun" in terms of political issues, but it also applies to "news of the world" as well when i was there. >> now, your evidence, same committee, question 1461, i think it would be fair to say that before any appointment, he knew you pretty well. you stand by that? >> well, particularly before my appointment as editor of "the sun." >> yes, 2003. >> aware of my views, both social views, cultural views, and political views.
do you stand by that or not? when you said take euro, for example, mr. murdoch was absolute al wear of my views on europe. i think even before i became editor of "news of the world," maybe even deputy he had tore. is that right? >> yes. >> so without delving this, your views on europe, presumably you were a skeptic, correct? >> yes. >> and politically, your position is fairly similar to mr. murdoch's, isn't it? >> in some areas, yes. >> in which areas do they differ? >> well, we disagreed about quite a few things. more in margins of it rather than the principles. so, i don't know, the environment, d.n.a. database, immigration, celebrity in the
paper versus serious issues, columnists, the design, the headline, size, the font size, i mean, you know. we had a lot of disagreements. but in the main, on the big issues, we had some. >> so on the issue of amount of celebrity against serious issues, where did each of you stand on that? >> i like more celebrity, and he wanted more serious issues. >> why did you want more celebrities? >> well, i liked -- i thought the readers were quite interested in -- we only have to look at the viewing figures of bbc or itv to see that the celebrity programs, the real-life, the reality programs do so well, and i took from those figures that our readers were quite interested in that. he thought there was too much of it, although he liked "x factor."
>> your views, i'm not going to pry into that too much, but are you a strong believer in human rights, the human rights act? >> not particularly, no. i mean, in its form, obviously it exists, absolutely. but there were parts of the human rights act that we campaigned against in "the sun" when i was there. at one point, the conservative party i think were going to repeal it and replace it with a british bill of rights. i think that was the case. i think that's now been dropped. >> we may come back to that in a more specific context. when you were appointed editor of "news of the world" in 2000, was that mr. murdoch's decision? >> i was actually told by someone else that i was going to be made editor of "news of the world," and i didn't speak to mr. murdoch until after that. >> was it his decision? >> i think it was mr. hinton's strong recommendation, and like
i said, i didn't speak to mr. murdoch until i'd actually taken the job. >> there was some discussion at the seminar we had in october in relation to the departure. are you able to enlighten us? >> no, sorry, i was at "the sun" at the time. >> the editorial line you took in particular to in relation of "the sun" reflect mr. murdoch's thinking? >> as i say in my witness statement, it really is important to differentiate between mr. murdoch's thinking, my thinking, the political team's thinking, and the thinking of the readers. i know i spent a lot of time on it in my witness statement, but to get across the point that the views were always reflected in any policy or politician or
political party. i know mr. murdoch, when he he gade evidence, he said if they want to know what i think, read "the sun" editorials, but i don't think he was being total literal about that. >> if you want to judge my thinking, look at "the sun," those were the exact words. some might think it was a response to mr. leveson, that you recall? >> i don't think it was ill guarded, i'm just saying i don't think it was literal. >> why not then? because because there were lots of things in "the sun" that wouldn't reflect his views. >> i think he meant on the big point, not on the minutia, would you agree with that? >> i'll accept that. >> paragraph 12 of your witness statement, your second statement.
you gave us a little thumb nail sketch of what it is, what the values are, bodies and altitude. you say it's a particular social class, etc. and then you say it's sometimes fair that the relationship between "the sun" and its readers reflects the national conversation, if you wanted to know what the nation was talking about, you would look at "the sun." we have a bit of a contrast here. some would say if you want to know what mr. murdoch is thinking, then you're saying you want to know what the nation is talking about. which is correct? >> the one in my witness statement. >> why do you say that? >> because i wrote it and i believe it. >> what do you mean by the nation here? >> well, i think if you accept that "the sun" for many, many years has been the biggest selling newspaper in the country and the saturday "sun"
overtook "news of the world" i think about five years ago and maybe longer, actually, in circulation terms, so you have this huge readership, and i don't know what the exact figure is today, but we will use this as sort of eight million. the paper next to that is the daily mail, which is six million. i'm basing this on such a large percentage of the british population who would come in contact with "the sun." they might not read it every day, but they would come in contact with "the sun" at some point, rather. >> you're addressing a defrpblt point, because it assumes the nation is monolithic or genius, which it isn't. the bigger the readership is, it might be said the more diverse they are, while the more it is. do you see that point? >> i do, and i make it later on again in my witness statement, which is -- and this has been touched on throughout this inquiry, actually, broadcast
media has become more and more influential and more and more important over newspapers, because it's a fact that newspaper circumstance lation in the printed form are declining. so i do accept that. it was meant to really say, if, for example, the conversation in the past or the conversation at work, so during the manchester city, manchester united clash, you know, that conversation, the incident there, that will be talked about. that's what i meant by national conversation. it wasn't meant to be taken any more literally than that. >> a reflection there, which you were clear in any past, whatever, but not a reflection of the individual collective views of the readership, is that a fair description? >> no, not particularly. >> i'm really leading into
paragraph 15, mrs. brooks, and the myth which seems to explode, that newspaper editors are an unelected force. well, that's true, isn't it? >> i don't think it is, no. >> who would be you apart from mr. murdoch? >> we're not elected officials. >> but you're saying it's a myth, but it's the truth, isn't it? newspaper editors or proprietors are an unelected force. >> if you view them as that. i don't view editors -- >> rebekah brooks at the leveson inquiry, answering questions coming from robert jay, who's pushing to get a sense as to the political inference of power of the newspapers. she's also been talking about the time in which she had to resign from news international and seems to have made it clear she received support in some form from both tony blair and david cameron, among some other
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