UK media probe extends to computer hacking

London: Rupert Murdoch`s media empire in Britain came under more pressure with Scotland Yard on Saturday widening its ongoing investigations into phone-hacking to instances of computer hacking.

Under probe on various fronts, the claim of leading lights of the Murdoch empire that they were not aware of phone-hacking was belied by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was employed by the News of the World.

A statement issued on his behalf said: "As an employee he (Mulcaire) acted on the instructions of others. There were also occasions when he understood his instructions were from those who genuinely wished to assist in solving crimes. Any suggestion that he acted in such matters unilaterally is untrue".

Scotland Yard said that a new team had been set up to investigate matters not covered by its phone-hacking inquiry, Operation Weeting.

A spokesman said there had previously been a "consideration of allegations" of computer hacking rather than an investigation, but now "some aspects of that operation are being moved towards investigation".

Meanwhile, members of the Culture, Media and Sport committee of the House of Commons voted against recalling News International chairman James Murdoch to give more evidence on phone hacking.

Labour MP Tom Watson, who has been in the forefront to highlight the phone-hacking issue, had wanted Murdoch and two ex-News of the World (NoW) executives to appear before the committee.

The former NoW men dispute Murdoch`s claim to have been unaware of an email suggesting hacking was widespread.

The committee, however, will ask for more details, and chairman John Whittingdale said that it was "very possible" Murdoch would be asked to reappear after that.

Whittingdale told the BBC: "The areas where I`m particularly keen to get additional information is from (former legal manager) Tom Crone, (former editor) Colin Myler and (former legal director) Jon Chapman, where they say the evidence we were given by James Murdoch was wrong".

He said: "So what we`ve agreed to do is to ask them to give us those extra details. When we have received that response we may well wish to call them in and take oral evidence.

"On the basis of that I think it`s very possible we will want to put those points to James Murdoch."

The Labour Party has also published a list of the shadow cabinet`s meetings with the media.

Party leader Ed Miliband had already published the list of his meetings with newspaper proprietors and editors since he became Labour Party leader in September 2010.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls met Rebekah Brooks and Will Lewis from News International in February.

He also met the former News of the World editor Colin Myler at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester last September and attended a News International reception at the conference.

Details of such meetings have previously been released by Prime Minister David Cameron and other ministers, indicating the scale of the `too cosy` relationship between leading politicians and newspaper owners.