Former Prime Minister Tony Blair testified Monday that he never challenged the influential British press because doing so would have plunged his administration into a drawn-out and politically damaging fight.
Blair led Britain from 1997 to 2007,and his government has been criticised by many,including some of Blairs former colleagues,as having an unhealthy relationship with the countrys press.
Appearing before the Leveson Inquiry,Blair said the issue wasnt that he and Britains journalistic elite were too cozy,but that he had to tread carefully where press barons were concerned.
I took a strategic decision to manage these people,not confront them. I didnt say that I feared them … but had you decided to confront them,everything would have been pushed to the side. It would have been a huge battle with no guarantee of winning, he said.
Leveson Inquiry was set up following revelations of phone hacking at Rupert Murdochs News of the World tabloid,a scandal which has rocked the Britian and raised questions about whether top politicians helped shield Murdoch,and the media in general,from official scrutiny.
Blairs time in office was marked by unusually strong ties between his Labour Party and Murdochs News Corp.
Blair became a godfather to one of Murdochs children and his government has since been described by many colleagues as having been too close to the media mogul.
Blair denied doing any kind of deal with Murdoch,either express or implied.
Blairs testimony was briefly interrupted when a heckler burst in through a secure corridor behind Leveson,shouting: this man should be arrested for war crimes,before being removed by security.