At hacking inquiry,Blair says ducked fight with media but denies deal with Murdochhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/at-hacking-inquiry-blair-says-ducked-fight-with-media-but-denies-deal-with-murdoch/

At hacking inquiry,Blair says ducked fight with media but denies deal with Murdoch

Blair’s time in office was marked by unusually strong ties between his Labour Party and Murdoch’s News Corp.

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 Blair’s former colleagues,as having an unhealthy relationship with the country’s press.

Appearing before the Leveson Inquiry,Blair said the issue wasn’t that he and Britain’s 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 didn’t 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 Murdoch’s 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.

Blair’s time in office was marked by unusually strong ties between his Labour Party and Murdoch’s News Corp.

Blair became a godfather to one of Murdoch’s 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.’’

Advertising

Blair’s 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.