You know it’s a big deal when the Murdochs change their plans. Just moments ago, News Corp confirmed to paidContent that Rupert, the CEO of News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). and his son James, the deputy COO and head of international, would be appearing before the Commons Committee on Culture, Media and Sport. The news comes after a morning in which both had sent letters to the members of parliament saying they would be unable to attend to answer questions around the many allegations of illegal activities that have hit the company’s UK publishing arm, News International.
A company spokesperson says a letter confirming their attendance is currently being prepared to be sent to the Committee.
They will be joining Rebekah Brooks, the CEO of News International. All three were invited to appear on the same day, but Brooks, who is the only UK national among them, was the only one who was legally obliged to appear.
But as today wore on, public pressure on the executives continued to increase, as further arrests have been made and more damaging hacking allegations have been revealed. These have included the arrest of the ex-executive editor of News of the World, Neil Wallis, and more shocking phone hacking claims, this time of the parents of a man who was mistakenly shot by police after the 7/11 London terrorist bombings.
Earlier today, it was revealed that News Corp have hired PR consultants Edelman to help cope with the crisis engulfing the company. This might have been move number-one to start changing strategy.
Last night on the BBC news program Newsnight, Louise Mensch, made a beeline for the why it is so important for the Murdochs to appear before her committee:
“If they have the guts to show up then it would show a little bit of leadership, it would be the first step in lancing this giant boil, and I urge them to come before a select committee of Parliament, to have the courage, to show up an answer the questions that everybody has.”
Why did they say no at first? Of course, News Corp would not give a comment, but their original letters stated they were simply “unable” to attend. This may be the first step in lancing a boil, but it is also a dive into boiling water.
The Culture Committee is only one of the many government bodies now scrutinizing the goings-on at News International. Others include a taskforce set up by the Prime Minister David Cameron.